Odd chicken behavior

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ChrisGinn, Jul 2, 2016.

  1. ChrisGinn

    ChrisGinn New Egg

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    Jul 2, 2016
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    So I have been a long time reader but never made an account to post. But now here I am. Hello all!

    So this is our first year having chickens. We have eight chickens that are all around 10 - 12 weeks old. They grew up together in the brooder with no issues.

    For about the past month or two, they have been living outside in their coop 4' deep x 8' wide x 4' high.

    I was finally able to get their run secured and able to let them out of the coop about two weeks ago. Their run is 12' x 16' x 7.5'. They have been acting fine and have always gone back in their coop at night without ever needing to be guided or encouraged to go back in. They have always been cuddled up in a corner of the coop when it gets dark out (never noticed them using the roosts at night that are in the coop).

    So today was probably eventful for them. I finally got around to cleaning out their coop. It was dirty but didn't smell like ammonia or have any foul odors. They have been going in and out every day and have had no issues going back in at night so I doubt it bothered them. Today I cleaned the coop and put in about 5-6" of pine shavings from tractor supply (same bedding that they have always been using). Although it may be thicker now as it has leaked out of the coop when I would fill their food and water. It has been over a month since they have had fresh bedding or had it this thick.

    To add to injury, this evening was also the first time that I let them out of the run. They were out of the run for about an hour or two before it got dark. They all returned to the run without issue. Well the Leghorn Rooster kept trying to fly up to the side window of the coop that is outside of the run. I was eventually able to guide him back into the run. Here is where it's confusing me.

    I believe they were all nested in at the top of the ramp, right at the opening to the coop, but refusing to go in. They were piled up on top of each other. Now at this time, it's dark outside and they have ALWAYS been in the coop by this point. They have never piled up at the top of the ramp before. Long story short, I was able to push a couple in but then had to partially lower the door and carry the rest into the side access door of the coop before I could get the door the rest of the way shut.

    Once they were all in, they continued to act like they didn't want to be there. They all congregated to the corner that they have normally been sleeping in, but instead of hunkering down, they were pecking at the wall and sounded like they were trying to scratch their way out. I'm not sure if they are trying to say that something is wrong with the bedding or what. I'm honestly confused. I couldn't find anything matching this problem when I searched.

    So the only things different today is that their bedding is clean and about 4" - 5" deeper than it was and that I let them out of the run towards the end of the day. I have no clue why they were huddled up at the top of the ramp. Before I carried them all in one at a time, if I pushed them in, they would soon come right back out. It's like they're trying to say something is wrong.

    Any insights???

    Thanks!
    - Chris
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    My guess is you are correct, changing the bedding, than them not being in all afternoon to get used to it usually means frightened chickens, especially since you have no adults. Chickens have poor eyesight in lower light. They should be fine tomorrow after they become more familiar with the new look.
     
  3. ChrisGinn

    ChrisGinn New Egg

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    Jul 2, 2016
    Delaware, USA
    That was my assumption but I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing a chicken signal from them. Thanks!
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Chickens have all kinds of interesting behaviors. Being afraid of new stuff is from the fear of predators lurking because something is different, so it's a good behavior that sometimes gets taken to the extreme, but everyone likes chicken so I can see their point.
     
  5. Spartan22

    Spartan22 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One thing I've learned with chicken after 3 springs, is they all have OCD.

    If I've freshen their nest boxes w/ new shavings they will pushed it out, or they will use different nest. If I put new beddings on the floor they will scratch it all out to the run. They even rearrange the framed portraits of their ancestors on the wall. [​IMG] they'll even will keep on pecking on dried poop on the wall trying to clean it when their servant (me) forgot to scrub it once a month. If you introduced new chickens to them, they will guard the doors not to let in or out the guests even though they've slept and dine with them for weeks even months. Go figure, they even tried to white out my leg freckles by pecking them to bleed.[​IMG] They all know me, in fact they all crowd the door when they see me 100 ft away that I can't hardly open the door for fear of pinning down their twiggy bird legs between the door and the mountain of shavings they piled up. Yet if I took in an empty bag to pick up their overnight worth of poop they'll scream and run like a chicken bandit just came in to butcher them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2016
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Any new change in a chickens routine, and they will act like it's the end of their world.

    However, they do enjoy variety, which is different from change. Trust me, chickens do split hairs on some issues.

    Have you noticed some hens like to use a different nest box every so often? And all chickens enjoy having the "furniture" in their run rearranged on occasion. They're also up for new and different treats.
     
  7. Chickenmanjim7

    Chickenmanjim7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ain't that the truth. I can mow right up their run. In fact they like because they know the clippings are going in the run. Carry a board by them and the freak like I am a serial axe murderer[​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. Ruth10

    Ruth10 Out Of The Brooder

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    Does anyone have a Buff Orpington who likes to talk...a lot! She is and has alway been very curious and when she was a little chick in her brooder she would want me to hold her and talk to her. Now outside she just jabbers and carries on when i am out there. Very loudly i might add. She still wants petted. If i open the nest box door she comes running into the coop still jabbering. Is she just a talker?
     
  9. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I've had a few different hens like that over the years, some just are more personable and interactive, they are always my favorites.
     

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