Flock acting strangely...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Bocktobery 10, Nov 30, 2015.

  1. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not sure if its the weather or the fact that hunting season started today, or something else, but my flock is acting strangely. I let them out somewhat late this morning, but noticed a few hours later that none were wandering around the yard like usual. I went outside wondering if there was another hawk attack (there have been a few lately- no deaths for months now, but just that they fly over now and again) and noticed that all of my flock went back inside the coop. They were roosting and some were even sleeping. ??!

    Except for a few hens here and there, I've not ever seen all of my flock go back inside in the middle of the day. I've also noticed that it is very quiet outside- no birds chirping, no animals sounding any sort of call- not even my neighbor's goats. It is the first day of hunting season here- so my first idea is that all the hunters in the woods have disturbed wildlife and hence, my birds picked up on it as well. The other idea is that its the weather- its cold, but not horribly cold. There is a sharp chill in the air, the sky is grey and we have a light mist falling- not even sprinkles, but a misty rain. It somewhat looks like its going to snow. I don't think its in the forecast at all. There is not too much sunshine out due to the grey clouds, but its not like my birds have not wanted to miss an opportunity scratching outside even on a day like this. Even if wildlife is 'quiet' as it has been before, my flock will just hide under some bushes, but they don't go back inside the coop... never until just before evening sets in.

    Anyone ever witness something like this, and if so, did you ever find out why? They aren't sick.. no sniffles, all are active if stirred. They will dive to get some scratch if I put it down on the floor, but once that is gobbled up, they will go back to roosting. I'm totally baffled and nothing but thoughts of those reports of animals acting strangely before seismic events keep going through my mind. (yes, I know that is really far fetched.) I would suppose the most reasonable answer would be the hunters invading the woods has really stirred up local wildlife. ? We hear guns going off now and then- but its not anything unusual for this area to hear guns going off or other loud noises in the distance, so i don't think that could be it either.
     
  2. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just wanted to add too that ALL of the flock went in.. not one straggler.... every single one went back in! (approx. 30 chickens)
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    They're having a union meeting...secret agenda...keep your eyes peeled for next activity.

    Haha! Just kidding.

    They do some weird stuff sometimes that defies explanation.
    Maybe they saw hawks.
    Sharp temp drop can effect them.

    How old are they how long have you had them?
     
  4. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    My flock reacts to squirrel alarm calls and will not use the front part of the garden since a hawk attack 4 weeks ago. It can all seem weird to us, but in the world of chickens i guess they are acting normally.

    CT
     
  5. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Nobody out of the coop is a sign of danger. They do not react that way to cold, cold doesn't affect chickens like it does us.

    I was gone for the weekend, came home after dark Sunday. Monday morning I went up to one of the coops and not a single bird was outside. I knew something was wrong. Sure enough, I lost a full grown hen to a hawk. It couldn't carry her off, so it was eating her in the run. Everybody else was hiding in the coop and didn't come out the entire day. My son saw the hawk on the ground in my chicken run (which is also my orchard, so it's not covered) and chased it off. The hawks are migrating right now and looking for food along the way.
     
  6. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    lol.. yeah.. secret meetings with themes of mutiny! ha ha ha..

    Yeah, they are all fine. Never did find out what was going on. I have noticed that my two indoor/outdoor cats did not want to go outside either... so there must have been some sort of strong predator smell in the area? That is all I can guess. Who knows maybe the hunter put some sort of scent down and the chooks smelled it and thought it was strange.? As you said, who knows?

    Not that it matters now, but to answer your question they are all different ages. The oldest at that time was about 5 years old. When they see hawks they usually hide under the bushes and trees.. never in the coop. That's why it was so odd.
     
  7. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So sorry for your loss. I had a few attacks, but they were young chicks. As far as I recall.. I know this thread I started is old... there were no incidents after this. I do know we've had neighbors spot bear and coyotes in the area. About a month later I heard a pack of coyotes howling late at night in the woods behind the coop... so I have a feeling one might have been wandering around then bolted when it saw or smelled me around. (Not that I smell!... well, you know what I mean!)
     

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