Need Advice About My Hen, Please

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by tgperg, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. tgperg

    tgperg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 7, 2011
    Oklahoma City
    Hello. I have a Dominique hen that is giving me fits. She keeps staying out at night. She left last week and was spending the nights out somewhere. I would see her in the chicken yard with the other hens, during the day, dust bathing and such, but she wouldn't come back to the coop at night. She'll be a year old in April and she's never acted like this before. I'm assuming she's broody and has a nest somewhere. Does that make sense?

    Saturday I spent a few hours in the dark trying to find her nest. That was a huge mistake. Sunday I decided to write off the eggs she's setting and just catch her hoping she'd go broody in the coop. I kept the chickens in for 72 hours. During that time she showed no inclination to even enter the nest boxes whatsoever. I let them all out this morning, and she stayed right by the rooster and other hens for well over an hour. I left then, thinking she was fine. Tonight when I closed everyone up, she was nowhere to be found.

    I need some advice. What I'm going to try is banding my other hens tonight while they're on the roost so I can tell them all apart. Tomorrow if / when she comes back up to get treats with the other chickens, I'm going to catch her again and put her in a cage inside the chicken coop. If I do that, do you think she will settle to a nest that's made in a darkened part of the cage? If not, how long do I have to keep her penned to forget about this other nest she has somewhere. Also, if you think I'm totally off base, what else could be causing her to act this way?

    Thank you,

    Traci
     
  2. chicky_mommy

    chicky_mommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 10, 2010
    Northeast Corner of CT
    I've only heard of a bird doing this sort of thing once and she came back after her eggs hatched trailing 14 little babies happy as could be, and the next time she had a brood she had it in the coop where she belonged...but again I've only heard of it once...someone else here might have bigger advice...I wouldn't lock her up in a small cage though if she is used to free range because she could go into a stress molt or worse...
     
  3. chickpeaz

    chickpeaz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 26, 2009
    Central PA
    I'm more inclined to think she's just found a comfy place to roost outside the coop. If she were broody, she would be on her nest all the time and wouldn't be hanging around with the other girls during the day and only sitting on her nest at night. I'm not sure that caging her is the answer -- I agree with chicky_mommy that it might cause more stress than she can handle. Maybe try posting this to the behavior board and see if folks there have any better insight for you.
     
  4. tgperg

    tgperg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 7, 2011
    Oklahoma City
    Okay, thanks. I will post it over there. I thought she may have had a nest because except for today, she's only been with the other chickens for 10 - 15 minutes during the day.

    Traci
     

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