Really strange behavior.......

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by doghamstyluv95, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. doghamstyluv95

    doghamstyluv95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2007
    My hen Rubooshka who is a Barred Rock is acting really strange. She recently started moulting. And at the same time she does this strange thing. Its like she feels really open to everyone because she has no feathers. She walks really low to the ground. She sorta circles around her food dish. She used to be on the top of the pecking order but now she is afraid of everyone and everything. When she circles around the food dish it seems as though her mind is thinking food food food but someone completely different is controlling her body. Its quite scary and concerning actually. She does eventually get to her food dish and eats but its still very strange....... Could someone help me here? Could it be something thats associated with moulting and she will stop once her feathers are in or is it something neurological and its just a coincidence that it happened when she started moulting? I really hope its not the latter.[​IMG]
  2. orcasislandchickens

    orcasislandchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2008
    Is there any chance she's not moulting but losing feathers because she is being pecked at? Or is she maybe sick or cold? If you can handle her I would bring her in the house away from the others and give her a good exam.

    I'd check for lice/mites, feel for lumps or swellings that might indicate an egglaying problem, check her vent area, under her wings, feel her legs, look at her feet etc. etc. if she still seems fine I would let her calm down from all the handling give her a good private lunch (and maybe slip a low dose of one of the watersoluble vitamins if you have it on hand) and put her back out. I'd continue to watch as you are doing to make sure everyone is getting along.

    If you find something wrong isolate her in a dog crate in the laundry room or somewhere and treat it. (of course duhhhh) [​IMG]

    I have a bad habit of stating the obvious. [​IMG]
  3. ella

    ella Chillin' With My Peeps

    Don't worry, that behaviour is not that uncommon with chickens that are molting.

    Can you get some vitamin suppliments? That will fix her real quick. Cat or dog food would help too, or gamebird feed, anything with more protien.

    Sometimes they lose their appetite when they molt and end up not getting enough nourishment. Give her a little TLC and she'll be a happy girl again. [​IMG]

    Oh but yeah for sure do an exam. They're especially succeptible to parasites and other problems when they're molting.
  4. doghamstyluv95

    doghamstyluv95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2007
    oracasislandchickens- Thanks for the reply! I am pretty sure she is not being pecked at. Like I said before she is at the top and other chickens run away from her but she also runs away from them. It is so puzzling. I will try to check her out, though she doesn't like humans too much especially now.

    Stating the obvious isn't always so bad.

    ella- Thanks for the advice! It makes me feel better that its not so uncommon. What kind of dog food. I don't know if my dogs, dog food is good. Its Beneful. But isn't it sorta cannibolism if you feed chicken(which is usually in dog food) to chickens? Yes i will try to check her out today.
  5. warren

    warren Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 29, 2007
    My 3 year old did the strange crouching low to the ground walk (just as you describe) when she was moulting. I was wondering why she did it. It must be what some moulting hens do!
  6. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I know you need some one more experienced than me, but I remember Miss Prissy and others saying that a molting hen can be very low in protein and therefore stressed. Is it possible to separate her, possibly in a dog cage, even in the coop, for a few days and give her extra protein-based foods?
  7. ella

    ella Chillin' With My Peeps

    Any dog food is fine, chickens are omnivores, eating chicken, beef, whatever doesn't bother them, but if it bothers you you can use tuna fish or something like that. Or feed for chicks, turkeys, or meat chickens is a great alternative because it's designed for birds, but is higher in protien.

    Cat and dog food is not balanced for chickens so shouldn't be used long term but it can really give tham a boost during molting and most people have it on hand.

    Unless she's getting picked on I'd personally leave her in with the flock, they seem to eat better when they're with other chickens. Also if she's out of the flock for a time it can be hard to reintroduce her.

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