Sleep habits of chickens- weird ones being noticed!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Beldenfarm, Dec 15, 2014.

  1. Beldenfarm

    Beldenfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello I am wondering if anyone has witnessed odd sleep behavior in their hens/ roosters before? I have a 1.5 year silkie rooster who I've noticed has begun to sleep with his head in between his legs! It appears that he's just tucking his head into his neck feathers but it appears like he is putting his head between his legs. I have also noticed he gets into such a deep sleep you cannot wake him up to conciousness!!! He is breathing and opens his eyes or clucks a bit if I talk to him but he goes FLOP right back to sleep, as if he is under anesthetics almost!!! It worried me to see him so "asleep" I thought he might be sick or dying, but he does it every night. I even brought him into light to see if it would wake him up.... Nope! Weird thing is, in the morning when the rest of the hens start to stir and wake up, he wakes up and hops right out into the run every morning as if nothing was wrong, and he never had been acting funny.

    Has anyone else experienced such odd behavior? Could this be an illness coming into play or is he just a very heavy sleeper? My other hens will wake up if moved at night but not him!!!

    Thank you :)
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Being a heavy sleeper in an animal I think is very rarely seen in healthy animals. In my experience it's always linked to other health issues.

    In this case it sounds almost like a spasm or seizure of a kind, but generally these happen while they're out and about during the day. Seizures of this kind are generally inherited but I've not heard of them only showing up at night. It would likely mean he passes it to his offspring, if in doubt inbreed for a few generations to be sure, I reckon. It could be a potentially serious issue. It's certainly not normal.

    Best wishes.
     
  3. kacklinghen

    kacklinghen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How many hens do you have? Do you think he wears himself out mating. Had that happen to my bunny rabbits before and got better when I bettered the ratio. I am new to chickens so I don't know if it is the same with them.
     
  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    I keep an integrated flock, males aren't separated, so on average, at any given time the males have access to upwards of 50 hens. It rises and falls according to the time of each year, but never less than 20 hens, yet never seen one wear himself out.

    Edit to add... For a healthy rooster, mating around 40 times a day is considered normal.

    The abnormal pose, being unable to be woken and instantly dropping back to sleep, is far more of a concern.

    Best wishes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014
  5. kacklinghen

    kacklinghen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's interesting...good to know. I have 1 rooster and 14 hens but the roo does not sleep in same coop but has access to hen in day free ranging. He is glad to see me instead of challenging me in morning, and to put him back in coop all I have to do is shake a bag of mealy worms and he runs in the coop waiting for treats. My hens are laying eggs better since I took him out.
     
  6. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Some roosters you need to watch because they're nasty to the hens, if the hens are stressed by him and do better without him, he might be a brute to them.

    With other roosters it's the exact opposite and they will starve to death if they feel there's not enough food for both the hens and themselves.

    Always good to observe what the interactions are like.

    Normally, your hens, if the rooster is decent to them, should never exhibit any stress reaction to him. I'd think something's up, if they lay better without him around. Could even be that he's an egg eater and he breaks the eggs open for them, I had one rooster like that.

    Best wishes.
     
  7. Beldenfarm

    Beldenfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Looks like since he is a silkie he has developed crook neck and it only really is noticable when he sleeps. We added vitamin supplements for poultry to their water and have him a squirt of poly visol in the morning, along with giving the rest of the flock a squirt of the vitamins too, hopefully this helps them! We also got them a better feed- with omega 3s and nutrients and calcium! So hopefully things turn around, and the vitamins help fix his problem!!!
     
  8. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Hmm, from what I've read and heard crook neck isn't really a time-specific thing, either it's crook or it's not, it's not only crook at night and fine during the daytime. I may be wrong, maybe this is a known expression of that issue, certainly there's always exceptions to the rule. Terms like 'wry neck', 'crook neck', 'stargazing' etc all get used fairly interchangeably for various defects, everything from deficiency disease to Marek's and other diseases to inherited spasms.

    The treatment you've got planned sounds like it should take care of it if it's a deficiency caused symptom. Please give us an update sometime if it works, for future reference for others in your situation. Good luck with it.

    Best wishes.
     

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