What is my little hen doing?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by christinea, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. christinea

    christinea Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 17, 2013
    I'm new to chickens - 5 weeks in! One of my girls, Henrietta, an EE has been acting funny the past few evenings. She's been pushing herself under another hen. She looks like she's trying to dive under! She won't stop until she is completely underneath the 2nd hen, Zebra, who seems nonplussed by the pushiness. Zebra, a Barred Rock, is accommodating and will actually sit on Henrietta. Only after she is sitting on her will Henrietta relax. Sometimes it looks like she just wants to hide her head under Zebra. All of this is preceeded by Henrietta chirping nonstop. It's a special chirping she ONLY makes when she's about to start the diving. She seems FRANTIC and scrambles to get underneath. Once she's under, all 4 settle into a sleeping pile! Henrietta is eating, drinking and pooping just fine. Otherwise happy & healthy girl. Has anyone ever seen this? It looks almost instinctual, like she's compelled to do this. Any and all thoughts appreciated!!!
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  2. Have you ever watched a baby chick with a mama hen?
  3. christinea

    christinea Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 17, 2013
    No... Is that what they do??
  4. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    Yep...that's what the little chicks do with a broody hen. They dive under momma...chirping madly until they are tucked underneath her...then they settle into peaceful sleep.

    I am surprised she is still doing it at 5 weeks after being artificially heat lamped ans so on, but she's still in chickhood...I would guess that Zerba being a barred rock is bigger and with an accommodating nature, makes for a nice momma substitute.

    Also, is the brooder still warm enough? Your little EE may be more sensitive to cold and drafts.

    Lady of McCamley
  5. PeepPeeps

    PeepPeeps New Egg

    Aug 16, 2013
    Yeah. My hens would do it when they got freaked out. Its a natural instinct. And since babies sleep under their mums the big chicken pile is natural too. Just be careful that she doesn't suffocate if shes at the bottom of the pile. As she gets older and more confident she'll stop.
  6. OliverZoe

    OliverZoe Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 11, 2013
    My 1 year old hen does this! she was sick and now that she is well she is at the bottom of the pecking order so she does this to protect her head from pecks. Not saying that is why yours does it [​IMG]
  7. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    I have grown, 4 year old hens that do this. They are usually lower hens on the pecking order and they often do this to other hens they are friends with or the rooster, whoever they prefer to roost next to.
  8. chickiegrrl

    chickiegrrl Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2013
    Monticello, MN
    My EE pullet is 15 weeks old and she does this with her best friend when they roost at night. Her long-suffering BO bestie puts up with it and makes my little EE happy.
  9. christinea

    christinea Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 17, 2013
    Thank you all so much! This was my first BYC post. What a great community. Lady of McCamley - it's their 2nd night in the coop, tho' she was doing this before in the brooder, and I was wondering if she was chilly. It was still in the 70's when she started yesterday. I can't tell their pecking order yet. Yesterday she was flying at the others & She even stepped on Zebra's back on her clumsy way up the ramp.
  10. Babies love to run under the wings of mama. Safety, security, protection for all that is in the world to them. Quite endearing actually.

    Wish ya the best.

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