Protective Hen?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bcmama, May 29, 2017.

  1. bcmama

    bcmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I currently have 7 hens, three are 5 years old and the others are 1 year old. Two of my 5 year old hens are currently broody, a silkie and an EE. This is the first time for the EE and she has taken to laying in the nest on top of the broody silkie and treating the silkie like her chick. She has become very protective of the silkie, going after any other hen or dog (our dog protects the hens) if they get too close. She will puff up and strike and she has even hurt our other silkie for getting too close. This is a very new behavior for her as she has always been very docile. Has anyone had this happen before? Any thoughts?
     
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  2. Abriana

    Abriana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thats cute, but i don't know anything about hens becoming protective over other hens. Sometimes my hens will pile in a nesting box together, sometimes three together at once! Once my broody bantam was setting on some eggs and another hen got in and was literally on top of her and she was squawking like crazy.
     
  3. bcmama

    bcmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nope. No squawking here. Our little silkie is happily laying under her. I have never had this happen. My other silkie who is also 5 is very lonely right now and is being quarantined due to an injury to her comb from the EE being protective. The whole apple cart is upside down.
     
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  4. bcmama

    bcmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here is a photo of the two. What is going on? IMG_4541.JPG
     
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  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    This is definitely a new one for me. I think you may have a "first" on BYC.

    Here's my guess as to what's going on. Your EE is "adopting" your Silkie because she's smallish and chick-sized. I've had a hen who was in the process of going broody adopt some six-week old chicks. She remained broody for the next few months and nurtured the chicks until they were nearly four months old.

    Your Silkie is cooperating with this EE's behavior because she's in the nest anyway, and it's not interfering with her agenda at present. Broody hormones make hens behave in strange ways sometimes.

    Now that you are understanding what's going on, you need to decide what you want to do about it. Unless either, or both of these hens are incubating eggs, neither one is doing anything productive. You can decide to do nothing and let their hormones run their course, or you can break one or both of them and get them back to normal using a broody cage.
     
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