Depressed Hens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kjfrogster41, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. kjfrogster41

    kjfrogster41 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 30, 2011
    Belfast, ME
    Do hens suffer from winter depression? My 3 RIR girls are eating but just barely, they really don't want to come out of their hen house during the day. I have forced them out in to their pen, just so they move around more, eat and get some water. Temperatures have been in the high 20's/30's during the day and down to teens at night. It has been very cloudy during the day, not much sun light. They do have a lamp on during the day. Their eyes are bright, combs seem a healthy red color and they are just 19 weeks old.

    Thanks for any advice.[​IMG]
     
  2. One of the girls

    One of the girls Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 25, 2011
    I'm in Nebraska and we have nights near zero quite often. My hen shack is covered in plastic to stop drafts. When the sun is shining and it's around 20 they'll come out and scratch around in the run. But if the wind picks up and clouds come they often elect to head for the shack. They do not like to walk on snow. We're dry and clear for now. When a blizzard is predicted I'll put out tarps and cover their run so they have dry ground to walk on after the storm.

    When we have a snow storm and it's 10 below zero I would say the hens get unwilling to venture out into their run. They do seem depressed really. But once the sun shines and temps rise they snap back towards normal.

    You don't mention where in the country you are. If your temperatures are lower than usual it could explain the situation. Plus with a lamp on the heat probably feels really good to them like a spa. Are your girls fully grown and feathered out now? This is their first winter isn't it? P'raps they're feeling a little confused at the weather taking a turn for the worse. Do you have some sort of wind break you can provide on the side of their run? My run is small so I can drape plastic over the windy side. The hens do like to stand out of the wind then.
     
  3. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Doesn't sound quite normal to me. Have you tried de-worming and de-lousing them?
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I'm in the PNW and we go days without seeing the sun this time of year, and temps similar to what you're saying. My birds are all healthy and active. I've not noticed much mating, but lots of scratching/dust bathing/chasing each other around and enthaustic greeting when I come out with the scrap bowl. I agree with WMR, they don't sound right. You need to investigate further, are they molting perhaps? Weird age for it, but possible. Worms, etc?
     
  5. kjfrogster41

    kjfrogster41 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 30, 2011
    Belfast, ME
    Quote:Thanks for your reply:
    I live in Mid-Coast Maine and boy have we been experiencing strange weather. This 7 a.m. the thermometer registered 58 F! My girls have a covered run to keep out rain and snow. I noticed today that after they ate a bit and then ran back inside their hen house. My more mature girl, of the 3, was making funny "purring" noises. That's the only way I can describe the sound. None of them seem stressed, just the opposite and their eyes and combs seem bright and normal. I guess.
     
  6. One of the girls

    One of the girls Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 25, 2011
    Is it possible they've all gone broody?
     

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