Cold Hen or Adjusting to New Place?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bobchell, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. bobchell

    bobchell In the Brooder

    Hi All,
    I am very new at this so I hope this is the correct place to ask this question. We adopted 3 RIR on January 4th, it will be 2 weeks this Friday, they were doing very well the first week despite the horrible snow and cold weather we have had, we even were getting an egg a day from each which we thought was wonderful because we were told they may not lay during the "adjustment" and because it was winter time. We have a very small coop, about 4x5 a-frame style which is just right for 3 hens. We did put in a heat lamp, 150 watts to use during extreme colds which happened right after we bought it (think we jinxed ourselves, lol!). There was one hen that was very social, would come up to me, peck my boot, etc but in the last few days she seems reluctant to come out of the coop, only does when I come in with scratch, which all 3 love! I've noticed she sits in the sun in the run with her feathers fluffed when she is out and doesn't peck around like the other 2 do when I give them the scratch. She does come up to me, even pecks at the container, pecks the ground some but not much. Is this because she is cold? Or is it just the adjustment of a new coop and place or both? This cold snap will not be ending until next week we are told by the weatherman, it was about -2 last night. Is there anything I can do or do I just need to giver her some time? FYI-we have only been getting one egg a day since this cold snap started.
  2. Scooter&Suzie

    Scooter&Suzie Songster

    Jun 23, 2011
    I notice that my chickens prefer staying in the coop when it is cold. They will sometimes come out if I put feed in their run for a bit, but then go back inside. I wouldn't worry about it too much - Just keep an eye on her and make sure you don't see unnormal droppings, or anything strangely different about her.
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    If she acted normal and ate and moved around when you got her and only started this behaviour recently she may be sick. Is she eating/drinking? Is her poop normal? Does she show any signs of being sick like wheezy breathing etc?
    Chickens are quite tough when it comes to weather extremes and they can handle extreme cold and heat (to a certain extend) so I doubt she's just cold.
  4. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer Premium Member

    May 11, 2010
    I'd isolate this hen in a hospital cage for observation. This way you can see exactly how much she is eating, and observe the consistency of her feces. If you are so inclined you can call a veterinarian who treats chickens and the very least the vet can do is check a fecal sample for parasites.

    Otherwise you can deworm your flock with a broad spectrum dewormer. Panacur (can be purchased from Tractor Supply) works great and can be mixed with their favorite food and eaten in one meal.

    Good luck with your girl.
  5. bobchell

    bobchell In the Brooder

    She looks good, her beak and eyes, feet and her comb looks better than when we first got her. Just seems to stand there. She does look at me when I talk to her and is pecking around a little, did see her drink water and I haven't noticed any unusual feces, they all look the same. Seems almost like she is pouting or mad at me if you know what I mean? Just never had chickens before to know if this is "normal" behavior or not. I gave them some chopped lettuce and she did move to eat some of it but stopped shortly after. Our vet here said they do see chickens once in a great while but I am unsure as to how to find one that does see them. I will check around more. At least she is eating and drinking.....
  6. bobchell

    bobchell In the Brooder

    I did read that a hen can molt during a stressful time and some of her behavior sounds like that. I also noticed she did have new feather's growing in on her head, she seemed kind of bald/thin in that area when we got her 2 weeks ago but new feathers are coming in now. Is it possible she is just going through a mini molt? Is it maybe due from the stress of a new coop and pecking order? I did not see any other areas where she is losing feathers.
  7. theFox

    theFox Songster

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    She could be finishing up her molt, talk to the people you got her from.

    You also might not see a drop in egg production from newly moved hens until what they had maturing inside them prior to the move have been laid.

    They also can slow down when it is cold and pick up again after several days of warm weather.

    In short they do not have on/off switches the changes take place over time.
  8. bobchell

    bobchell In the Brooder

    My hubby believes she is just adjusting to the new place, the cold and the "pecking order", seems this hen is the low hen on the totem pole [​IMG] We witnessed the other two jumping on her in the nest the first night we brought her home but I haven't noticed any aggressive behavior since then. The other two don't seem to be keeping her from eating or drinking but she seems scared to move around them. How long does it take to work out the pecking order? This cold spell should stop sometime early next week and it will be a more "normal" temp for Idaho. It was -4 last night but the heat lamp is keeping their coop in the mid 20's at least. I am going to try to give her some extra attention today and tomorrow we are going to seclude the other 2 in the coop for about an hour and see if that helps her *sigh* so much to still learn about chickens! I am just so worried we might be missing something or doing something wrong....

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