Senily chicken?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jak2002003, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    Can hens go senile when they are in old age?

    My oldest hen is over 9 years old.. she is a Japanese Bantam.

    She has survived illness.. a dog attack, getting lost in the forest.. and she is my only hen left from the first ones I ever owned. I am very attacked to her.

    Just lately I have noticed her acting out of character.

    She keeps separating herself away from the flock and wandering off into the distance on her own.

    The chickens usually stay within sight of the coop.. but she has started to wander around to the front of our house (something they have never done before).. across the front garden.. through the orchard, around the lake and into the fields. She seem on a mission.. walking fast looking like she is searching for something.. seems in a hurry.

    I have to go and get her if she goes too far.

    Other than this she seem totally healthy.. just a bit stiff on her legs.

    She kind of seems in a world of her own...

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
  2. Sabz

    Sabz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is so touching. I have no idea about the senility but I'd like to stay on this thread to read more.

    I think you are the first that I read about with a 9 year old hen. It is very cute that you go get her and that you worry about her.

    Do you think so could be deaf? I have a blind dog (blind since she was 6 years old) and she is now 11. Sometimes she acts like your hen. She almost stays near the house when she goes out for a bathroom break, but sometime she seems to get lost. I notice she walk very fast in those times and she can get very far in a very short amount of time. Sometimes I think she must be getting deaf (she follows my other dog from the noise of her collar and chain) or maybe her nose isn't as good as it used to, so she loses track of where the house is. I had to go get her in the woods last year.

    I am not sure if being deaf would change anything for a chicken, but maybe blindness?
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    This is a very interesting question. Thanks for posing it! I think it's possible that there could be brain changes in chickens similar to those in aging human brains such as plaque buildup, and it could cause behavior changes.

    I also still have one of my original chickens raised from a chick. She's going on seven. For some time now, she hangs out in the coop much longer than any of the others before she feels like venturing out into the run to join the flock and eat breakfast. Otherwise, she seems perfectly healthy.

    It will be interesting to hear other stories of aging chickens and their changing behaviors.
     
  4. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    Thanks for the replies.. gives me something to think about... Maybe she can't see well and in her panic is walking fast (all over the place) to find her way back to the coop?

    I will give her a text later.. with some treats on the ground and see if she can see them. [​IMG].If is a sight thing, that would explain why she have lost interest in pecking the pesky teenager pullets and roosters when they get in her way.
     
  5. Sabz

    Sabz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Keep us posted please!

    Did she lay eggs for about 2 years, and then she completely stopped? Or you have some eggs from time to time?
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Some of what you describe I associate with impaired vision.
     
  7. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    OK.. so her eyesight is as good as ever... she could eat the grains from the dirt no problem.

    Even at her age she is still laying eggs.. just about 2 or 3 a week. and this morning she has gone broody and was trying to brood some eggs in a nest box.

    Its the hot season here.. too hard on the hens to brood.. so I took the eggs off here and put her in a cage to break the broodiness.

    Maybe her behaviour was due to her hormones changing as she was getting ready to brood.. but still does not explain why she was stomping off so far in to the distance.

    I will see what she is like when I let her out in about a week.

    Will let you know.
     

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