Strange chicken behavior

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by catlady58, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. catlady58

    catlady58 In the Brooder

    Mar 18, 2011
    Wondering if anyone else has seen this. This afternoon one of my Barred Rocks, when routed out of my neighbor's chicken's nesting area, began walking around and picking up straw and putting it on her back. First, she would turn to her right and put it over that shoulder, then pick up another piece of straw and put it over her left shoulder. Absolutely symetrically, systematicly, and with great concentration. After about 10 minutes, I began herding back home, but she still would pause and try to put some hay on her back.

    Has anyone got ANY IDEA what this was about? Trying to hide? Packing for a trip? What?/

    A startling display of Obsessive/Compulsive behavior if I have ever seen it!

    Me: middle aged woman in N. Ga mtns, 11 year-old RIR and BR hens, plus 8 baby Buffs, a dog, 10 cats, 4 ducks, big garden.

  2. True Grit

    True Grit Songster

    I know I've seen it explained on here as an instinctual behaviour and I have seen one of my chickens do it. Sorry I can't remember exactly why [​IMG]
  3. dewey

    dewey Songster

    Nov 9, 2010
    north of eternity
    Awww...a stealth chicken! [​IMG]
  4. Qi Chicken

    Qi Chicken Songster

    Jul 3, 2009
    Ours do that when in the nest getting ready to lay. Long story, but we had an injured hen that lived in a rubbermaid container in our kitchen for several months. I always knew when she was just about to lay her egg as she would start throwing shavings on her back. Maybe you disturbed her in the middle and she was just trying to preserve the mood!

  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Some of my girls do this right after they lay an egg. They come outside the coop and then begin the decorating with bits of grass. One of mine makes a walk out of it, almost as if telling the world she's a great layer AND she's pretty, too!
  6. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    Yes, mine will do this, too. It's hilarious!
  7. catlady58

    catlady58 In the Brooder

    Mar 18, 2011
    Thanks to all of you. She had not just laid, nor was she about to. She goes to the neighbor's chicken tractor every time he lets his girls out, and gets on their nest. Usually sits about 5 minutes, then leaves. However, neither my neighbor nor I had ever seen her do this. She wasn't cackling, just singlemindedly putting hay on her back in a very specific, turn-taking pattern. Will watch for more bizzaro behavior.[​IMG]
  8. gingerpeach22

    gingerpeach22 Songster

    May 1, 2010
    All my hens pick up pieces of straw while in the nest and try to put it on their backs. They continue to do it after they leave their nest for five minutes or so.

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