The mystery of the missing broody hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Citychick11, Sep 18, 2014.

  1. Citychick11

    Citychick11 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2014
    Our hen, Samantha, a barred rock has gone missing before, but she always came back the next morning. In early August of this year, she was gone 3-4 days and then came back. Once in a while, I would notice her make a bee-line for the neighbor's yard and disappear in the brambles on the other side of the fence. I could even hear her do her egg song now and then from somewhere in the vast neighbor's yard. (She has 10 acres). On about August 11, she disappeared for good. I have suspected that she was broody and decided to set on her eggs. I just couldn't find her nest. So if she started setting on the 11th, I would have expected her to hatch out chicks sometime around September 1. Then, I don't know what to expect she would do after that. Probably set with her brood and keep them warm for a couple of weeks? Would she move around? How does she not starve?

    Ok, so the rest of the story is that several times I have gone over there to look for where she might have gone. It wasn't until last week that I found an egg shell in a place that is out in the open and had been mowed fairly recently (It had a trace of blood in it, so I thought it might have hatched a chick). So I looked everywhere around there for feathers, poop, signs of scratching, etc. Nothing. Then yesterday, I was in the mood to look for her some more. This time, I found 4-5 more egg shells just 15 feet from where I saw the first. They were all in different places under a cedar tree. They were not crushed, but mostly whole, with a part of the top side broken away. Traces of blood were inside--which I assume is a sign they were hatched not just pecked out and eaten. I kept looking in that vicinity and discovered a hidden place with a lot of downy feathers and nest-like shape that looked like where she had been sleeping. There were no eggs or egg shells here though. Weird. I looked and looked, and listened and didn't hear any peeps or chicken noises. Should I try back at dusk when she is going to bed? [​IMG]

    Now I have to say that I did lose 2 other chickens recently without a trace (they hadn't even started laying yet) and I can only assume they were taken by coyotes. I asked all the neighbors and none of them had seen them. So Samantha might have been caught by the coyotes also. But I keep seeing signs that she is still around. [​IMG]

    I would love to hear your insights into chicken behavior and any guesses you might have about what she could be doing if she is still around and safe. Thanks!

    TJ
     
  2. Howlet

    Howlet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 31, 2014
    Maryland
    My Coop
    i would check at night.... :p
     

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