Looking for some advice concerning unusually flighty hens...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by KristenW, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. KristenW

    KristenW In the Brooder

    Jan 24, 2014
    Hi folks,

    I'm a little concerned for my girls at the moment as they have suddenly become very flighty.
    I've had them since January and have been working hard to tame them with a basic daily routine and lots of tasty treats. It seemed to be working too as, up until the last few days, I had them all quite relaxed in my presence and two of them eating out of my hand.

    Today when I went out to clean the coop they were unusually quiet. My dominant hen usually has plenty to say for herself and often jumps in and out of the coop whilst I'm cleaning. Today however, they hid themselves away under a bush, which is what the used to do way back in January. I also noticed that, whilst they still accept me as their food source, if I move around too quickly, they now jump a mile!

    Basically what I want to know is, could this be down to an encounter with a predator which I did not witness? I know they hate cats. Our own cat showed a lot of the wrong kind of interest early on and is now kept in until the hens are shut away. The neighbours cats are a different story though. I live in quite a residential area (be it in the middle of the countryside) so there are a lot. I caught one prowling up and down outside the run a few days ago, but not for long enough to cause overt stress.

    Nothing can get into the run but the hens can see everything through the mesh walls. Is it possible then that they will become accustomed to seeing cats and less stressed therefore? If not, should I think about limiting their view, perhaps with something around the very bottom section of the run walls.

    It's a shame, everything was going so well! I'm sure I can get them to trust me again, I'm just concerned that this could continue happening as I can't be there to see off every darn cat.

    Any advice would be appreciated!

    Cheers, Kristen
  2. TheSitcomGirls

    TheSitcomGirls Songster

    Nov 17, 2010
    I'm not sure how old your chickens are but mine all go through a stage where they will not allow me to get near them. I get new chicks every year and when they are about 3 months old they leave the pen in my house and go outside to the coop. Then after a day or so they want nothing to do with me! When they start laying eggs then the friendly ones are miraculously friendly again!

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