Pullet Walking Backwards

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by KristenR, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. KristenR

    KristenR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 19, 2009
    Centralia, WA
    Every so often I transport a bird, usually a pullet (although occassionally a cockerel) individually penned in those wooden compartmentalized chicken carriers and end up having this problem: when I reach my destination (usually a show or to a potential buyer) I pull them out and all they can do is squat walk backwards. It is the most frusterating thing of all time because just when you want your birds to look their best, all they can do is squat and walk backwards. It sometimes seems like some evil trick that the birds are playing on me, although when I look at them they kind of just look flustered/confused/bewildered (as much as a chicken can - but maybe I am anthropomorphizing too much). Then I get looks of dissatisfaction from everybody around me that my imagination typically interprets to be "how dare you bring a neurologic or paralyzed chicken!" and I am left standing there not really knowing what to say other than the good old, "well, she was acting normal when I caught her up this morning" which is almost invariably met with different levels of silence and occassionally a raised eyebrow. This has never happened to any of my older birds, and when I end up returning the pullet or cockerel back home either because the show personnel were concerned or the potential buyer opted out, it may take a few minutes but eventually it just gets up and runs off to join it's comrades! It is almost like they are so flustered about their new surroundings that they really don't know how to react and are going through some kind of mental shock. Has anybody else ever had this happen to their birds? Is there any way to keep this from happening other than waiting until the birds are over a year old? Do I just have "special" chickens? All of these birds are perfectly healthy when this occurs. It is not a disease because they are eating/drinking/running around normally until I put them in the carrier and drive off.

    And it's not like I drive that crazy either....just so everybody is on the same page. I don't skid into corners or anything [​IMG]
     
  2. Nonny

    Nonny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 16, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I can't say as I've tried transporting my chooks, but what you describe reminds me of when my cat had to wear a harness. As soon as the harness went on, all he would do was walk backwards. All I can think of is that he was trying to back out of it like he would if he was stuck in a bush or something.

    Maybe with your chickens it's a similar reaction to where the cage was touching their feathers? Do they do the same walk if you preen them when you get them out so that all their feathers are sitting nice and straight again after the journey?
     
  3. KristenR

    KristenR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 19, 2009
    Centralia, WA
    I'm not sure it is because the cage is touching their feathers because it looks like they start doing it sometime during the period I am driving (perhaps because it is dark in the trunk, they are disoriented and are not used to the floor beneath them changing directions?) and back into a corner and push their back end up the side of the corner. If I stop to check on them and put them back in the center of the crate and preen their feathers (I have done this), they immediately back into the corner again and keep doing it until I get them back home. Could it just be a stress reaction?

    Has anybody else noticed strange stress reactions in their flocks?

    I have a somewhat closed flock and have been breeding my own birds for over 10 years now, occassionally introducing new blood (just outcrossed again last year). But maybe I have some weird genetic tic that activates in response to certain stimuli? I hope not...[​IMG]

    What really confuses me is that it is not something I remember having trouble with before two years ago. Maybe my outcross at that time introduced something genetic?
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011

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