Needed: a reason not to roast Barndevelder hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Carolyn, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. Carolyn

    Carolyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2008
    I bought 2 beautiful Barndevelder hens at flea market 4 wks ago. They had just started to lay and I am pretty sure I got 1 egg the day I brought them home. My other 2 hens got caught by a dog 2 days after I got them(GRRRRR!) BTW these hens were in the coop area and did not encounter the dog. The first night they decided to sleep on top of the coop and when I went to catch them and put them on the roost one flew over the fence, the other I managed to grab and she had an instant molt of several tale feathers. It took a lot of effort but I finally managed to catch her and put her in the coop. They had free access to a large protected area with an electric net fencing.

    If I come near the chicken pen out flies the hen with tail feathers. It happened so often, I started just checking them every other day and then just at night. Last time I went out there before they went to bed they both flew out. They have managed to get back in each time. I finally confined them to the small run and coop hoping to tame them down a bit with treats, etc. and let them get used to me.

    They still "Awwwk" and run in panic if I come anywhere around. They spend most of the time in the house which has a sky light. NO EGGS! It is not cold enough here yet for that to be the problem.

    I really wanted to get some more Barndevelders including a roo and have a flock of these beautiful birds and probably could buy more from the same gent. They were a new breed for him to raise and he was disappointed their eggs where not darker. I only got 2 since originally I needed to quaratine them.

    Are Barndevelders that flighty? Are they poor layers? Not according to the info I have found which is quite limited. Someone please convince me they are keepers. I love eggs out of my own back yard. I can eat chickens out of back yard if they can't provide some eggs, some socialization or at least some fun.
  2. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    They are usually decent layers, though I've heard of plenty issues of them being flighty. Also, don't expect them to lay dark eggs. There are very few Barnevelders in the US who even lay eggs considered "dark," and those are from very dedicated and rarely found breeders.

    If they're causing that much of a trouble, you may just want to get rid of them. Normally chickens are very scared and flighty if bought as an adult and brought to a new home, but if you're finding no resolve to it - I'd say get rid of them. Sell em, eat em, give em away, something. [​IMG]

    The egg laying issue is because of them being new. Also, this all may just be that they're molting. Molting happens now, and causes severe mood changes and a pause in egg laying.
  3. Carolyn

    Carolyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2008
    Thanks. They are not actually molting. The one hen just lost most of her tail feathers while I was trying to get a better hold on her. This is 2nd time I have ever bought adult birds. The others were tamer but I did not have them properly quarantined and they got sick so they may not have had the energy to be flighty.
  4. Rebecky54

    Rebecky54 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2010
    North Dakota
    I would clip the feathers off of one wing -- you clip the longer feathers (with regular scissors) to the length of the next layer of feathers (sorry, I don't know the technical terms for the feathers.) They won't be able to fly as well with clipped feathers, BUT the feathers will grow back and you don't hurt the bird.

    Then confine them to a smaller area -- dog crate or ?? whatever you have. Give them water but no food. They only food they get is from your hand.

    I would give them some time -- they just moved and maybe they have not been handled much. If you can't tame them, then I would go the other route. Most chickens are not like dogs or cats -- they are not predators, they are PREY, so it takes them longer.

    Good luck and let us know what happens.

  5. Carolyn

    Carolyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2008
    Thanks for all the good advice. I will try a little longer and harder to tame them down, clip their wings and see how it goes. I really need the eggs if they will just start laying I can keep them as long as I can keep them safe.
  6. can you hear me now?

    can you hear me now? Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2008
    Southwest Missouri
    The lack of eggs will be there for a little bit because they do that when they get stressed. I say give them a bit and go in the coop or run with them as much as possible for them to be less flighty. If they are anything like my old white leghorns they will always be that way to an extent but they do calm down.
  7. maurerwerks

    maurerwerks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2009
    If I were you I would do two things. First get some bird netting and cover over the top of your chicken run. We did that to begin with (we got the netting from a blueberry farm - the netting is 17 feet wide and only cost us 30 cents a foot) and our chickaboos have never gotten "escape" into their little chicken heads. The other thing I'd do is bring a chair with you and go sit out in the chicken run with them. Have treats in your pockets and bring some out once in a while. You don't have to do anything, but just sit there for a little while day after day and eventually they will get used to you. The name of this game is called patience.
  8. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Chickens hate change. Any slight change will cause them to stop laying. Give them a few weeks and they'll start up again. Scratch might help you win them over.

    Also on clipping the wing feathers: clip only one feather on one side of the wings. The outer 10 feathers are their flight feathers. If you clip both sides, they can compensate by flapping harder. Clipping one side puts them off balance.
  9. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    I agree, with others.. Lock them up, put netting over the top and give them some time... I purchased two BC Marans--they were so flighty and scared to death.. even if a leaf fell they flew wildly /squawked like a bear was going to attack.. It's been a little over a month and they are far from being tame BUT I can touch them when they are on the roost, they will come up to me to get treats and when I walk past them they just stand there... MUCH of an improvement!!

    As far as laying, it will take them a while to get used to everything and settle down. You will have to check to see how well/often Barndevelders lay... Some breeds do not lay every day....
  10. Carolyn

    Carolyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2008
    You have all been a great help. They are making a little progress in panic control. I confined them to a run that is covered so they are safe. My appetite for roasted chicken is diminishing. I want to raise some babies in the spring and I certainly see the importance of raising your own vs buying adults now!
    I wish I had confined them to a cage to begin with until they could get more used to me as the food lady. Ahh.... and learn.

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