I think I made her mad..

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Chicken Chaperone, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. Chicken Chaperone

    Chicken Chaperone Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi Everyone,
    I'm brand new to chicken keeping and I think I need some help. Our neighbor's house burned down completely with the exception of their chicken coop. All family, pets and the chicken got out of the fire unharmed. Since the family had to relocate until their house can be rebuilt I volunteered to take care of their chicken until they can move home. Henrietta (the chicken) and I have had some ups and downs as we have been getting to know each other (chickens eat garden snakes?!? ACK! And moulting- good gravy! I thought someone had a pillow fight in her coop..) but over all we've done pretty well and I've learned a lot as time went on. But I think I may have crossed the line. The chicken may be mad at me. Her nest was looking messy (with poop) and so I changed out her hay and put in fresh. Since then she is on a nest strike. She will roost on her perch but seems to want no part of going back into the nice clean nest. I've learned that in cold weather they pretty much stop laying so that's not a problem but I am getting worried about her getting cold out on the drafty roost bar when she could be inside her nice, clean and warm nest. Have I done irreparable damage to Henrietta and her psyche? Is this a normal chicken behavior? She is kind of an older girl- 8-9 years old. Is she maybe just set in her ways? My husband thinks I'm daft for fretting about this but I really want my chicken chaperoning to be a success so our neighbors won't have more worry on their plate than they already do. Also, any tips or advice for a novice on any chicken related topic y'all can throw my way would be really appreciated. I've been reading your forum here and learned so much already. I'm very grateful that y'all are here!
     
  2. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    Most chickens (hens) don't use the nest box much, unless they are broody or laying. She SHOULD be sleeping on the roost, not in the nest box (we don't want poop in there anyway). I might be worried if she starts laying eggs outside of the nest box- then I might think there really is something she doesn't like about it. Red roost mites or something else bothersome. A clean nest box should be more attractive to her. They usually will seek out a dark & enclosed area to lay, so if you removed a hanging curtain/piece of fabric when you cleaned- that might of bothered her.
     
  3. Soccer Mom

    Soccer Mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2009
    West of Crazy
    The bad news: Yes, she's probably mad that you tidied her lovely messy box. The good news: She'll get over it.

    She is sleeping up where she should be, on a roost. Once the weather warms back up and she feels like laying, I'm sure she'll starting spending some nest time again.

    I only have one concern: Tell me she isn't an only chicken. Chickens are much happier with other birds. A friend or two would make Henrietta a much nicer bird.
     
  4. Chicken Chaperone

    Chicken Chaperone Chillin' With My Peeps

    Eureka! That might be it! I didn't take away fabric or a curtain- I essentially put up more. The same day I changed her bedding I winterized the coop by putting tarp up around the outside. Maybe I made the whole place feel more like a nest? Is that ok? Thank you so much for your quick response btw. I sure appreciate it!
     
  5. Chicken Chaperone

    Chicken Chaperone Chillin' With My Peeps

    She is an only bird. And I do think she misses her people and everything that was familiar to her. The neighbor's house has been torn down since their fire and right now it's a big empty lot. No people, no house, a novice keeper, lots of big noisy machinery and now a messed with nest box. I'd be angry too! [​IMG] I wish I had jurisdiction to get her another chicken pal to hang out with but then that might be one more unfamiliar thing for her to adjust to. Poor baby! So much for a chicken-girl to deal with! Thank you for your kind input and thoughts! I sure appreciate it! [​IMG]
     
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Sounds like you're doing a fine job as a newbie chicken keeper!
     
  7. chickenjim64

    chickenjim64 Out Of The Brooder

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    Chickens are social you need more then one,you should get another..
     
  8. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    I also hope that Henrietta has a feathered friend and isn't lonely. They are flock animals. It would better for her, regardless of position in the pecking order, if she was relating with another bird.
     
  9. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

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    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    Chicken Chaperone, you realize now that you've gotten your feet wet you will have to build your own coop and become obsessed like the rest of us. [​IMG]

    And...
    [​IMG]
     
  10. write2caroline

    write2caroline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 21, 2009
    Jacksonville
    Yes, I was thinking the same thing - you dipped your foot in the pool and the fun of chicken rearing will pull you in! I talk to my chickens and they seem to like it or they think I am Kuckoo bananas. I am not sure how long you will keep her. If she will be returning to her people or staying with you long term. I think long term I would get another hen but you have to keep them separate for 30 days to avoid spreading illness. But if she is to return home soon then have some chats with her and give her nice treats she'll getover being mad - she probably does miss her people!
    Caroline
     

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