Hen gone haywire!!!


In the Brooder
8 Years
Apr 29, 2011
My gorgeous 9 mo old Speckled Sussex, "Judi Dench-hen", went AWOL two days ago. My flock of 9 various breeds are free-ranging all day, locked up at dusk. She didn't show up for 2 nights. Then today she announced her return with a screeching cry in my backyard. I thought it was a night heron or a pea hen calling. No--it was Judi. I quickly locked her up in my large berry cage and gave her food and water. I wasn't going to let her go walk-about again. I live beside a small river that curves around against a high cliff. The third side of the 1 acre property is fenced. There's some brush and trees around the edges. We tried but couldn't find her with 4 people searching. I thought she was a goner. And then she came back!

In her new prison she continued making her ghastly cry every 3 or 4 minutes, puffing herself up, fanning her wings like a rooster preparing to fight. Gradually she calmed down over several hours, starting to preen, scratch and eat, but still screeching a couple of times each hour. Her buddies came by for a visit, but no one was really friendly, more screeching or growling.

After the other hens finished laying in the afternoon, I moved Judi into the small hen house, locking the others out. She puffed and growled for a while, then climbed into the nest. She may be laying an egg now. I'm worried about leaving her together with the other hens tonight. They may pick on her. She has always been more of a loner, often going off by herself to prospect for food.

Has anyone seen such behavior? Any advice? Thanks.
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I have totally had a similar experience with Jeanie right before she laid her first egg. Not certain if your Judi has started laying but more than likely by that time.
Just keep her separated for a bit and keep an eye on her. Hopefully she is not sick.

Judi Dench-hen in her nesting place in the brambles and brush on the side of a gully.

Her clutch of probably a dozen eggs. Two had rolled down the hill enabling me to spot her.

Thanks, Pinky, for alerting me. She made a run for the gully when I let her out and I followed her. Bingo! BUT, now what should I do???
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