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Noisy, impossible to please hen. Please help!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ElanorAdler, Jun 16, 2017.

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  1. ElanorAdler

    ElanorAdler Just Hatched

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    Hello everyone!

    First of all, some background info that might help.

    I have three rescued hens from two different rescues. I got the first three ones in February last year and I got two more this year in March.
    The original three got along quite well. The boss, Uhura, was a bit mean with the others at the start but when the other two accepted her as the boss everything went smoothly. She would get noisy sometimes but only in two occasions: "egg alert" (after she laid) and "intruder alert" (mostly the neighbours' cats), which was fine by me.

    Bringing the other hens in was stressful for humans and birds alike. We borrowed a dog kennel shaped like a house from a neighbour and adapted it as a chicken coop to keep the two flocks separate and give time to the new ones to grow feathers. They were in two separate areas of the garden but still could see each other, so they were getting used to each other. After like 6 weeks I finally moved both groups into the same area, still keeping the two coops, until eventually all of them naturally moved to the original coop.
    Uhura then was a bit bossier and noisier but after all the new experiences and all the changes I thought it was normal, the pecking order needed to be reestablished and all that.
    Shortly after all of them moved in the same coop, one of the original trio died. The new order seemed to reestablish fairly quickly, but exactly a month later, another one of the original trio passed away. Uhura has increasingly developed such a horrible personality these last few months that if we were a different sort of people we would have had her for dinner a long time ago. She is always loudly complaining about every single thing, the alarms are not only for eggs or intruders anymore, sometimes nothing seems to be happening and there she is, screaming her head off. She doesn't peck at the others on a regular basis, thank goodness, but they cannot go into the chicken coop to lay an egg without her following them and screaming in their faces while in the nesting box. If I close the run so she can't access the nesting box while someone else is there, she goes nuts and flies to the roof of the hen house, trying to access it from the top (which is impossible, but it brings her dangerously close to the top of the wall that separates my garden from the neighbour's, who by the way has a dog). If I move her to the other side of the garden (where the new group originally was), which is separated by a sort of net, so she can't access the coop at all, she'd find the weak spot of the net and fly over it to get to the roof of the coop again.

    I just don't know what to do anymore. At first every time she screamed I would spray her with water, and she seemed to get the picture, but she doesn't care anymore. If I give them treats or vegetables to be distracted, she would still give out WHILE eating them, and give out again like asking for more or for different ones. I feel like there is no human way to make her happy and go back to when she was only a bit bossy, but generally nice and quiet. I don't know if I am missing something, if I don't understand the signals she is giving me, or if she only needs time. I have reached the point at which I will sigh with relief when she dies, but at the same time I feel guilty about it because I might be the one doing something wrong or not tending to her needs.

    The others have started copying her in this behaviour as well. I've spoken to all the neighbours that can potentially hear them and they are all ok (some of them didn't even know we had hens) but I want to keep it that way!

    Any advice for me? This is really driving me nuts.

    PS. There are also lots of crows and magpies in the area, and they like to come to our garden to eat the hen food. We scare them away but we are not always in the house. Sometimes it seems like the hens don't really care, sometimes they seem sort of bothered by it and sometimes they chase them away. I just don't know what to make of it, because the crows were there last year as well and Uhura still wasn't that noisy.
     
  2. DocBirdBrain

    DocBirdBrain Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She sounds awful! Are you sure you can't eat her? Not only would we not judge you, we can probably help with recipes. :)

    If she were a parrot, I would say she needs more enrichment- offer her puzzle toys with treats insides, a perch swing, and things to do.
    If she were a human, I'd say maybe she needs to find a man.

    Since she's a chicken, I'd say she needs a warning about her own mortality, and the need to find inner peace or risk making her time on this earth even briefer.

    Good luck!
     
  3. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    I have an Orpington Hen that gets excited about everything too....Not only when she lays but over everyone else's too...Blue Jays, Squirrels....I just tolerate her....
     
    ElanorAdler likes this.
  4. IZZYBELLA

    IZZYBELLA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Time for some chicken valium! ;-) I certainly have some hens that are louder than others, but I have never seen this type of behavior. (And hope not to... it must be pretty miserable for her, the other hens and you!) Does she still exhibit this behavior if you let her out to free-range? I wonder if it is the captivity that is bothering her. It would be interesting to see, although I know free-ranging isn't possible everywhere due to predators (including my yard).
     
  5. ElanorAdler

    ElanorAdler Just Hatched

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    We are both vegetarian so... yeah, I'm pretty sure we won't eat her LOL
    Plus, when she is quiet she is nice enough, actually when you approach her she is quite submissive, but only to humans. Such an odd ball!!

    Maybe she does need more entertainment, I don't know. I will try :)
     
  6. ElanorAdler

    ElanorAdler Just Hatched

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    I feel you!
     
    chickens really likes this.
  7. ElanorAdler

    ElanorAdler Just Hatched

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    They are as much free range as our garden can handle, in fact they spend their days outside and only go in the coop to sleep. I wake up at 5 am every day to let them out so they won't get all noisy "let me out, let me out". The garden is not huge but they have a place to have theis sandbaths, fruit bushes they can hide under, some grass, and fresh food and water. We give them treats sometimes, oats, sweetcorn, vegetables... But maybe they could do with some excitement for a change.

    Maybe they're just needy! We realised today that the moment someone stepped out of the house they suddenly went quiet. I wonder is this is because we keep the crows away?
     
  8. MelbaQ

    MelbaQ Just Hatched

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    It doesnt sound like you can get a rooster ( neighbors) but i have found chickens are much happier when w strutting rooster is around
     
  9. IZZYBELLA

    IZZYBELLA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That sounds like an ideal set-up for them! Crows are an issue in my yard and they used to drive my rooster crazy... he would scream every time they came near (which was often)! Maybe that is it. Crows are crafty and persistent... difficult to keep away! I hope your girl calms down!
     
  10. ElanorAdler

    ElanorAdler Just Hatched

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    We found a way to deal with her crap.
    Turns out if, instead of going out to scold her every time she gets noisy, you ignore her, she usually gets tired and stops. So all Hell breaks loose in the morning for like 10 or 15 minutes, and then they're fine for the rest of the day.

    So she is an attention ho LOL
     
    aart, IZZYBELLA and chickens really like this.

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