Speckled Sussex- keeps going over fence- could she have a nest over there?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chickenpotter, Aug 20, 2016.

  1. chickenpotter

    chickenpotter Chillin' With My Peeps

    107
    4
    63
    Apr 21, 2015
    Mechanicsville, Va
    Hi all,
    I have a Speckled Sussex named Dottie(I know- so original!), who is just the friendliest most curious hen in my flock. She is quite adventurous and independent. She has been getting next door over or under a fence and 3 times, counting this evening, was nowhere to be found at bedtime. I freaked out the first time, but last night was the second time and she was here this morning. This evening she disappeared well before dusk and wouldn't come out. I have no idea where she's hiding. So I am hoping that she will show up in the morning.
    I have 4 young hens in my flock (the other three are not SS) who have been laying for about a month now, including her. At least I assumed all 4 are laying in our coop. Their eggs are smallish so it's been easy to recognize them, but I have not seen Dottie on the nest in a while or had more than 3 small eggs in a day. I'm wondering if she could have laid a clutch of eggs next door and now she's setting on them.
    Has anyone had a Speckled Sussex go broody at 5 1/2 months? I do have a rooster so her eggs should be fertile. I have read that the Speckled Sussex are prone to broodiness.
    If that's not it does anyone have any ideas as to why she is preferring to sleep in a tree or wherever? When my other hens get on the other side of the fence they come running when I call and can't wait to get back over here.

    We have raccoons in our woods and I'm afraid they will discover her and kill her. I lock up my chickens at night for that very reason.

    I am 1 1/2 years into chicken keeping and this is a new problem. Any and all wisdom and suggestions are welcome.

    Thank you!
    Leslie
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,706
    6,825
    576
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Sure sounds like 'broody with nest in range area' type behavior.
    Not in coop at night but coming back to eat and drink everyday.

    Why she is the only one not coming back could have several causes.
    Is she low bird in the pecking order?
    How big, in feet by feet, is your coop and run?
    How many birds total do you have?
    or some birds prefer to nest in seclusion......you could try to follow her and find that nest.

    Sounds like you need to tighten up your fencing to keep the birds safe......
    ......unless you want to accept the risks inherent with the present situation.
     
  3. chickenpotter

    chickenpotter Chillin' With My Peeps

    107
    4
    63
    Apr 21, 2015
    Mechanicsville, Va
    She did not come back this morning. I know I have to walk my fence line today. She is not lowest in the pecking order. My coop and run are large and I let my birds free range for 1/2 day, but she has been flying over my outside run fence. So frustrating!

    I hope she is on a nest, because otherwise she may be gone. Thanks so much for your reply. Fence first. If she does come back later this morning I'll see if I can follow her.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,706
    6,825
    576
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    If she's sitting a nest, she may come back at any time during the day to eat/drink, not necessarily first thing.
    Best of cLuck!
     
  5. chickenpotter

    chickenpotter Chillin' With My Peeps

    107
    4
    63
    Apr 21, 2015
    Mechanicsville, Va
    Yes, you are correct. She showed up around 11:00 this morning. She stayed around for several hours and this evening is gone again! I guess we'll see if she shows up with chicks in a couple of weeks! I did find a piece of my fence down and closed the gap, but she's a good flier.

    I just hope she has found a good place to hide. Thanks for the help!
     
  6. chickenpotter

    chickenpotter Chillin' With My Peeps

    107
    4
    63
    Apr 21, 2015
    Mechanicsville, Va

    Hi Chicken Juggler,
    Well, I finally stumbled upon the nest a few days ago. Dottie is in a fairly safe spot and sitting on 16 eggs! I am going to let her finish out her sit and see if any of the eggs hatch.
    Meanwhile another of my hens has gone broody- I didn't know it was catching! She has been belligerently sitting on an empty nest, so I moved her into a small coop and let her out when the nests are closed. Today she stayed out all day without going near the open nests, but tonight she was right back on a nest, so back into the solitary coop with her. I hope she'll snap out of it soon.

    Thanks for your previous suggestions. No one has gone "through " the fence since I fixed it. Boy, it's always something, but I sure do love having chickens! I had no idea I would love it this much. Each time something new happens I file it away. I figure in a few more years I'll be somewhat seasoned- maybe!
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,706
    6,825
    576
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    If you don't want her to hatch out chicks, best to break her broodiness promptly.
    My experience went like this: After her setting for 3 days and nights in the nest, I put her in a wire dog crate with smaller wire on the bottom but no bedding, set up on a couple of 4x4's right in the coop and I would feed her some crumble a couple times a day.

    I let her out a couple times a day(you don't have to) and she would go out into the run, drop a huge turd, race around running, take a vigorous dust bath then head back to the nest... at which point I put her back in the crate. Each time her outings would lengthen a bit, eating, drinking and scratching more and on the 3rd afternoon she stayed out of the nest and went to roost that evening...event over, back to normal tho she didn't lay for another week or two.
    Water nipple bottle added after pic was taken.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. chickenpotter

    chickenpotter Chillin' With My Peeps

    107
    4
    63
    Apr 21, 2015
    Mechanicsville, Va
    I'll keep at it with her. I thought she was "cured" today, but was mistaken. I do not want her hatching chicks so I'll keep going with her. The one that's already been sitting on eggs for 2 weeks I'll let her go on. I'd like to see what it's like for the mama to raise the chicks. When we get to the end of it, chicks or no, I'm rearranging my setup to discourage this again. I really just want the eggs for my family to eat.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by