Hen acting strange- frightened?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sassy1637, May 12, 2016.

  1. sassy1637

    sassy1637 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 9, 2015
    Rhode Island
    I am probably jumping the gun here, because it's only been a day since I've noticed this behavior...

    I have a routine with my chickens. Every night before sundown, I go out to lock my chickens in their run. The run that came with my coop is too small for how many chickens I have (coop is for 20-30 birds, run is for 10... makes sense right? [​IMG]), so I always wait until the first half of the flock have gone into the coop, and then I go out with a handful of "chicken crack" to lure the rest into the run. They're used to the routine, so they usually all run for the run before I even get there!!

    Last night, I was counting them to make sure they were all there, and I noticed that I was missing one of my RI Reds (she just turned a year old this week). Upon looking around, I found her behind an old wood pile that was on the property when we bought it. I figured she probably had some good eats going on, because the logs are all old and full of bugs, and I notice them scratching at them all the time. So, I watched her for a few minutes, and she just stood there, watching me... I tried to lure her over with some treats, but she wanted nothing to do with it! I looked around to make sure she didn't have a clutch of eggs or something hiding over there, but there was nothing... They're from a hatchery, so I figured she shouldn't be going broody anyway... Eventually, I walked over, and tried to pick her up, but she would just run a couple feet from me, turn around and just stare. Both my RIR's aren't particularly friendly, they're very skittish, but will eat out of my hand, if I'm very still.

    Of course, now I'm frustrated, but I don't want to upset her, incase something did happen, and she was hurt or scared or something... so I grabbed a rake, and used the handle to get her to run to a corner, so I could pick her up. (I didn't touch her with the rake.) I looked her over, and she didn't have any injuries, missing feathers or anything... So, I put her in the run, and she went straight into the coop.

    Then, this morning, I went out early to open the door to the run. Usually, half of them are waiting in the run to be let out, and the other half are in the coop or nesting boxes. Once they hear me coming, they run out of the coop (unless they're laying). I noticed that particular hen wasn't out of the coop, so I peaked in the window to see if she was in the nesting box, and she was just standing on the roost, by herself, just staring at me. A couple minutes went by, and she went out the coop door, made it half way down the ramp, turned around, and went back in the coop to the roost... she hasn't come out since, and it's been over 3 hours... I'm going to wait it out, see if her behavior changes throughout the day... If not, I may take her inside to watch her more closely.

    Just wondering if anyone has had similar behavior with a hen?

    I'm probably just over-reacting, but I love my chickens, and want to make sure they're all happy and healthy, so I'm concerned!

  2. JanetMarie

    JanetMarie Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 23, 2014
    If there is a predator lurking the others would be acting scared also. She may be ill, so I would keep an eye on her. When a chicken is ill they like to find a place to be by themselves.
    Last edited: May 12, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Wonders if she's got a softie(soft shell egg) coming down the pike?
    Have seen this happen a couple times, with pretty newly laying pullets....
    .....once the softie was out, back to normal.

    Just keep an eye on her.
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by