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New behavior from a hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Breezed, Dec 28, 2016.

  1. Breezed

    Breezed In the Brooder

    Dec 28, 2016
    Hi, I've been lurking for several months and usually can search for any answers without having to post a question but this time I'm can't find what I'm looking for. Very useful site for newbies like me.

    My setup is 1 rooster, 6 hens - 2 buff orpingtons, 2 welsummers, and 2 golden buffs. They are about 6-7 months old and 5 of the 6 are laying. Everything seems to be going quite well so far. Rooster is maybe a month older than the girls. We got them all together and handled them quite a bit as youngsters so all are quite friendly.

    The main reason for posting today is one of my buff orpingtons started acting odd yesterday. She pulls her head low to the ground and pulls her head/neck into herself and fluffs her feathers out big time with her back end in the air and gets a bit frenzied. She mostly seems to do this if she thinks the rooster is coming near her. It's almost a frantic, panic looking behavior trying to get away from him. I can't figure a way to describe it any better so I'm hoping someone will have an idea of what I'm trying to ask. We didn't notice the rooster picking on her before or yesterday when she did this, but today when I was laying a little treats down he seemed to want to go after her more than normal.

    Also as a side question, does a rooster tend to mate with all hens? It seems he prefers a one or two of the hens and ignores the others for the most part.

    Thanks for reading!

  2. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Howdy Breezed

    Sorry, I can not answer your side question regarding the roosters mating preferences as we do not have any roosters.

    Is your buff orp one of the hens that are laying? She sounds like she might be going broody.

    Does she look like this?

  3. Breezed

    Breezed In the Brooder

    Dec 28, 2016
    She is laying regularly and so far hasn't tried to sit her eggs. She does look almost just like that in the photo but she is running around, not hunkered down to the ground.
  4. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Hhhhm, she could be early stages of broody [​IMG]

    As I mentioned, we do not have roosters so I have not seen my girls interacting with them but she may be warning him off.

    Hopefully someone else might chime in with their thoughts.
  5. Breezed

    Breezed In the Brooder

    Dec 28, 2016
    Ok, thank you Teila. :) I'll keep an eye on her and see if there are any other signs.
  6. TheTwoRoos

    TheTwoRoos Crowing

    Sep 25, 2015
    It COULD BE SHE IS BROODY OR IS SACRED.During my roosters teen months where they are continuously rape and chase hens the hens become very scared and whenever the young cockerels come around they puff their neck feathers our etc,on occasion would fluff out all her feathers.Although she does sound broody.

    As for th rooster,he should be mating any hens who lay,they usually try to mate continuously with every hen in the flock through the day,as long as all of them are productive.Roosters do have "Favorites" though,usually hens who are easy to either convince,or they are easy to chase down and mate.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
  7. Wyatt0224

    Wyatt0224 Chirping

    Mar 1, 2016
    Westminster, Maryland
    She might be going broody. A rooster will mate with all the hens at some point. But each rooster is different and may not have his urges as often as others.

  8. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Regarding your pullet's behavior, she is relatively new to mating and it can be bewildering and somewhat scary for those not yet used to being mated. Occasionally, a hen will take an extreme dislike to a rooster, and she will refuse to be mated, preferring to fight him off, literally. Usually, though, pullets will submit.

    Watch your pullet during the day and you may get more clues to what's behind her behavior. At age seven months, unless she's laid a dozen or more eggs already, she probably isn't ready to go broody, although it is possible. Some breeds are broody prone and may go broody early on.

    Cockerels mate everything on two chicken legs and some will even mate inanimate objects. They are almost certain to spread the joy to every single female. But they absolutely do have their favorite "girl friends". The behavior can be charming, and in some instances, the hen receiving the constant "attention" can become over-mated. This has its own consequences one of which is ruined back feathers and worn down neck feathers.

    My two-year old Cream Legbar roo likes the older girls, including the nine-year old Brahama matriarch who definitely does not return his ardor, and she isn't even fertile any longer. I almost always see him hanging around with one particular six-year old EE. They even sleep next to each other on the roosting perch at night. But he does make sure all the fertile hens receive a little attention once or twice a week. He's a good guy.
  9. Weehopper

    Weehopper Songster

    Feb 26, 2015
    Could be she fakes broodieness when he tries to mate with her. I had a hen who did that. Whenever the rooster came around she would fluf up and start clucking. Most roosters won't try to mate with a broody hen. And yes, some roosters can, and do, pick a hen he likes best to breed. It can become a problem if she lets him breed her to the exclusion of the other hens. I also had a rooster that did that to one of my NH hens. Just about wrecked her. I finally rehomed him.
  10. Breezed

    Breezed In the Brooder

    Dec 28, 2016
    Thanks for all suggestions/input. She is still doing this behavior mostly if she even thinks the rooster is headed her way. He is leaving her alone most of the time but a couple times I've seen him chase her but not mate her. We have noticed the past two days she is staying in the nest boxes for an extended period of time. This morning she was in there for quite a while so we went check her and there two other eggs, but only one is possible hers, but it could've come from the other buff orp. So we left her and will check again shortly. I'm guessing we should remove her from the box if she lays?

    I have another question, I have a golden buff and she escaped to a front section of the yard, made a nest, and now refuses to lay anywhere else. Should we cover/block the nest and try to force her to lay elsewhere? I'm worried that instead of using the nest boxes, she'll just find a new hidden spot and who knows how long it'll take us to find it. It took 5 days to find this one and that was an accident. When we did find it, much to our surprise, she was sitting on 4 eggs and laying a new one. At that point, we didn't even know she had started laying.

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