My hen wont leave her outside nest all of a sudden

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ASD Dad, Aug 17, 2018.

  1. ASD Dad

    ASD Dad Chirping

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    New to chickens. Have 3 that are laying finally! Yay! Everything has been going really well until tonight.

    She is a small Cochin and was the first one to lay. She made an outside nest in the shade of our shed and she lays there every day. She just lays a small egg, gets up and is off with the others until night time.

    At night time they all (11 birds) go into the coop to claim their favorite roosting spot. Well tonight I was checking the birds and noticed she was missing and my main roo wasnt roosting, he was pacing around (in the coop). I looked and my Cochin was laying in her nest outside!

    I tried to move her and she got mad! She was pecking at me and sort of growling if a chicken could growl. I got a little net that my kids play with and moved her a little and she just laid there where I moved her. Ended up just grabbing her quickly and moved her into the coop. She was OK about not pecking at me when I picked her up and she is usually very gentle. My kids pet her all the time. Nest was empty when I went back to look (it was totally dark by this time).

    She and the Roo were just sort of hanging out and walking around in the coop. All the others were up on their roosts. I actually have two roos, one is super laid back (another Cochin) and one more of a true rooster. They both try and mate with this one (and others) but she doesnt look injured, no patches of feathers missing, nothing out of the ordinary looking. She was fine all day outside.

    Any ideas?
     
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  2. TheGoldenGirlz

    TheGoldenGirlz Songster

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    Is she on a clutch of eggs? Maybe she’s broody
     
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  3. Sounds like a hen going broody to me.
     
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  4. staceyj

    staceyj Enabler

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    Broody.
     
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  5. ASD Dad

    ASD Dad Chirping

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    No eggs in nest, I checked. She lays one a day in that nest and then walks off and does her thing for the day.
     
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  6. ASD Dad

    ASD Dad Chirping

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    I thought new birds dont go broody... She was our first layer and just started maybe 3-ish weeks ago or so.

    If she is, she stops laying - right? She laid today. I go and get the egg right after she lays it. If she keeps it up I'll need to read how to "break" it I guess.
     
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  7. staceyj

    staceyj Enabler

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    She’s “Thinking about” being broody.
    It’s hormonal.
    And it progresses.
    The sit for a wxtended periods of time until it 23.5 hrs a day.
    Yes they growl.
    And try to bite.
    And fluff out all their feathers and look like a turkey.
    And pancake - which means if you pick them up off the nest and pivot and put them down somewhere else the just sort of melt flat like a “pancake”.
    And hardly earn and drink.
    And deposits a massive poop when they do come off the nest. BIG. Much bigger than normal.
    And refuse to roost, so instead sleep in the nest.

    Keep an eye on her for a few days and keep these signs in mind.
     
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  8. ASD Dad

    ASD Dad Chirping

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    OK, she is broody...

    She growled - a lot at me.
    She tried biting me (never even came close before)
    She did fluff herself up! Especially her tail, she fanned it out.
    When I did finally move her, she did melt flat! She looked weird and still would not move. (I thought she was injured!)
    She did not want to roost when I took her in the coop. She was just sort of walking around looking lost/annoyed.

    Fun.

    My thought based off a quick couple reads on the subject was this: If she lays her egg tomorrow like normal she normally gets up after to go to the garden. I can grab her egg and then block her nest off. I can stick a box or rubbermaid over it for now. Think that will work?

    If she goes in to roost I can remove the box in the morning so she can lay an egg again. If she pancakes next to her nest I can try moving her to the coop or to a different part of our run.

    I do have two others laying now that started a couple weeks after her. They lay their eggs in the same nest in the garden. I also grab those as soon as they lay them. I telecommute 95% of the time and know about when they lay so go check often.
     
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  9. staceyj

    staceyj Enabler

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    Oh! and they wander around clucking in a rhythmic way which the other hens find irritating, like someone’s who’s lost their glasses and keeps muttering to themselves.

    The funny thing about broodies is they lay right up til it happens then BAM. All their energy goes into “setting” and they stop laying.

    Which is why broody hens are great for hatching other chicken’s eggs.

    If you don’t want her hatching eggs you need to “break her” ASAP.

    The deeper she gets into it, the harder they are to break.

    Being broody is hard on their bodies and they practically starve themselves for up to six weeks.

    During all this time they stop laying and really lose a lot of their conditioning.
     
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  10. staceyj

    staceyj Enabler

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    Oh! And if you happen to look at her underneath you’ll probably see that she’s secretly plucked out all of her breast and tummy feathers. Yup! Odds are she’s naked under there! Lol

    And yes, you can try to block of the nest but if she’s determined she may try to nest anywhere.

    Many people use a small size wire dog crate up off the ground.
    The idea here is to cool off the hen.
    They are incredibly hot when broody. Almost feverish.
    (To keep the eggs warm).
    A search here on broody hens or breaking a broody might give you 50 hours of reading material or so.
    Some people try fans, dunkin them in cool water, hocus pocus, (jk) ice packs, frozen peas. You name it!

    I had one hen so determined that the only thing that would break her of being broody was to cage her and bring her in the house and literally put the crate directly over the air conditioning vent in the floor. Still that took three days and nights before she gave up.

    This is all part of the educational and sometimes fun part of being a chicken owner!
     
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