New Mother Weird Behaviour

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jaybanana, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. jaybanana

    jaybanana Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 20, 2012
    Down Under
    Mumma hen is seriously digging up the yard. She is almost manic about it. Not sure what is going on? Could it be that she doesn't have enough room for a dust bath? I wouldn't think so! Is it anxiety related? I am having to clean out their water and refill 4 or 5 times a day, no matter what/where I put it, she fills it with dirt.
    She is so panicky at the moment!
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Is she looking for a cool spot, some cooler soil? Mine do a lot more of that in the summer, and our summers are pretty hot. Do they have shade?
  3. Does she have a nest? My hen will look everywhere for a nest. (never digs up the yard) She gets all panicy cause she is broody it has to be a safe perfect nest for atleast 21 days. She may just be trying to make a nest.
  4. jaybanana

    jaybanana Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 20, 2012
    Down Under
    Yes to both of the above. It is shaded, and we have been having much cooler weather over the last week. The soil is also damp, she keeps tipping the water over, but she doesn't dig in the damp soil!
    She has her nesting box, is it possible she is looking for an "outside" nesting spot?

    The other thought I had was maybe she is looking for food for the chicks? I have the chicks starter crumble in a container, but maybe she is reverting to old behaviours of searching for their food? Would I be better to sprinkle some crumble on the ground?
  5. jaybanana

    jaybanana Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 20, 2012
    Down Under
    Any further advice here? Please?
  6. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    how old are her chicks? Has she just started this behavior or has it been going on for awhile? It would be great if you could post a video of her behavior - then I'm sure someone would be able to offer better advice. I would scatter some feed for the chicks so they can scratch it up. Is the hen separated from the rest of the flock - in that case maybe she wants to rejoin them. It's really hard to imagine what is going on - it is so much better to see it.
  7. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 24, 2009
    Its NORMAL behavior for a mother hen with chicks. She is scratching the ground to turn it over to find small insects and grubs for the chicks.

    All my hens do this when they have chicks to take care of.

    I raise the water container up on some bricks - but with some 'steps' made of wood or rocks - so the chicks can climb up onto the platform to drink. Or you can put the water container on a large square of plastic or wire mesh. The mother hen will not be able to dig up the dirt under the mesh and kick it into the water.
  8. jaybanana

    jaybanana Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 20, 2012
    Down Under
    She has been doing it since the chicks were born. I thought maybe she wanted out of their pen, but the main pen isn't secure for the chicks, and we have a dog next door who has eaten chicks from previous people in the house! So not game to let them out!

    There are no grubs in the area they are in!!!! So she is digging in vain! I finally worked out a way to get the water in a spot where she isn't filling it with dirt. We tried cardboard, she tore it up, I had it on a brick, she still flicked dirt into it.... so now it is up on two bricks, with the other bricks making steps. I watched the chicks, and they were drinking from it today, so I know they can reach it!
  9. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 25, 2012
    She is doing what ever new mother hen does, scratching and hunting for food to feed her brood. If you have a pick and shovel laying around you may want to give her a hand. [​IMG]
  10. gimmie birdies

    gimmie birdies Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 12, 2013
    Eastern WA
    I was cracking up over my momma hen she was scratching for her baby, I told my husband she thinks she is "cooking".

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