False 'Pregnancy?'

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cyanne, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. cyanne

    cyanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    512
    1
    139
    May 19, 2008
    Cedar Creek, TX
    So, I know that a hen can go broody anytime and will sometimes sit even if they are sitting on fake eggs or even nothing at all, but is it normal for a hen to imagine she has chicks?

    Our lavender d'Uccle, Duckle, had been behaving in a way that I would call semi-broody. We would find her sitting in the nest boxes on eggs kinda like she was broody, but she didn't really stay there all the time. I don't think she was serious enough to actually stick it out and hatch anything, which is fine because I don't really have anything for her to hatch right now anyway.

    The last week or so, though, I have noticed a brand new behavior where she acts like a mother hen with chicks. She walks around kinda funny and spreads her wings out like she's shielding invisible babies. If a person or chicken goes near she will puff up even more and make protective screechy noises. I've also observed her walking around clucking to her imaginary chicks.

    I currently have a silkie that hatched and is raising some baby BBS orps, and I swear that Duckle is acting just like she does only she has no babies to take care of. Is this normal? Should I do something about it or just leave her alone and hope she snaps out of her imaginary motherhood?
     
  2. aliena614

    aliena614 Chillin' With My Peeps

    211
    3
    131
    May 17, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    i had a doberman that did this growing up! silly dog tought my cabbage patch was her pup! she made milk and everything! lol
    i think she will snap out of it but if you want you could find a chick or 2 to stick under her! see what happens!
     
  3. Teach97

    Teach97 Bantam Addict

    Nov 12, 2008
    Hooker, OK
    If the hen makes milk you have a problem!...couldn't resist
     
  4. aliena614

    aliena614 Chillin' With My Peeps

    211
    3
    131
    May 17, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    LOL! If that happens i want some of her chicks! [​IMG] my yard isint big enough for a cow!
     
  5. Toast n Jelly

    Toast n Jelly Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,760
    41
    238
    Jan 29, 2007
    St.Charles, QC
    Nothing to do but wait it out. My silkie hens do that and it just cracks me up! [​IMG]
     
  6. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,836
    26
    191
    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    One of my 'Lorp hens did that all summer one year. In the late fall, she finally decided to brood. She's fluff up like a little feathered triceratops, and charge anything that got near her. Sometimes they teeter on the edge of broodiness, and they just act weird until they either get broody for real, or get over it. She was a very good mom, BTW, when she finally settled down and brooded, cold weather and all.
     
  7. Fudgie

    Fudgie Hatching Queen - Got Fudge?

    LOL my Cockapoo did that with our last batch of ducks, came in with milk and all...She has not had a litter of pups! She did nurse a kitten to adulthood though and still no litter of pups yet. She wants to be a mommie! [​IMG]
     
  8. cyanne

    cyanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    512
    1
    139
    May 19, 2008
    Cedar Creek, TX
    Quote:Oh dear! I guess I just have to get used to having a crazy hen with invisible chicks. [​IMG]

    This morning she was clucking to my shoes like they were babies and trying to get them to eat. [​IMG]
     
  9. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,836
    26
    191
    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    Quote:Actually, with dogs, that's a holdover from wolf ancestry. With wolves, only the alpha female has pups. When she mates, the other females in the pack have false pregnancies. This stops the urge to mate, so the other females do not produce competing litters. They also are able to nurse the alpha female's pups, so when she's out hunting, they act as wet nurse-babysitters. If anything happens to the alpha female, the others can raise the pups, insuring to continuance and survival of the pack.

    So it doesn't mean she wants to be a mommy at all. It means she's not the alpha female.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2009

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by