What is she doing?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Chikenbutwut, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. Chikenbutwut

    Chikenbutwut Songster

    Jan 3, 2013
    Benton, KY
    My new birds are in quarantine right now and quarantine time is up (it's been well over a month...they did get Coccidiosis [I suspect from where they came from], which I treated them for, so the quarantine was extended...they're all okay now [they're in brooders]).

    Hubby is making a new coop (almost done...just need the finishing touches put on). We're gonna divide the run...have the old coop at one end and the new coop at the other. I plan on using chicken wire to divide it (since I have all bantams and they can fly) and hook it onto a large dog exercise pen (ex pen) I have that I'll have stretched out and hooked into the ground. Since there's only one door to the run, I'm gonna use the ex pen door to get from one side to the other.

    To get to the point, I have two Sultan/Polish mixes (had three, but one turned out to be a roo...he was showing definite roo signs and then started crowing...and since I'm not allowed any roos, I had to re-home him). Well, one of the mixes is just a bit larger than the other and keeps doing this weird thing where she'll try getting under the other smaller one (she'll put her head under her, crawl over her when the smaller one moves away, and then do it again). They make this boop, boop noise, like they're having their own conversation and will go in circles doing this. I'm pretty positive the one crawling over and then trying to get under the smaller one is a female. It's 5 mos. old now and I've never heard it crow and it's not showing any roo characteristics. Neither have or are.

    What on earth are they doing, especially the one trying to get under the other?
  2. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I have a four-year old EE who does the same thing. She only does it with the few hens she trusts absolutely since many of the others tend to bully her. She tries to crawl under the trusted hen when on the roosting perch at night, and she loves to try to stick her head under the fluffy rumps of these other hens when out in the run.

    Why? I can only guess. I think it's an instinct to want the comfort and safety of a broody hen, sort of the equivalent of an older child who still sucks its thumb.

    Maybe one of our experts has a more scientific explanation. In my hen's case, she has other neurotic behaviors in addition this, indicating unusual emotion problems and needs.
  3. Chikenbutwut

    Chikenbutwut Songster

    Jan 3, 2013
    Benton, KY
    That's what I was wondering, if she was just doing it for comfort. It's just the two of them in that particular crate, which I'm using as a brooder, though. And they can't see us when they're doing it 'cause their poofy heads block their vision (I don't trust cutting their feathers back just yet 'cause they shake their heads around too much...it's something I'm still working with them on), 'cause we sneak down the hall when we hear them making that boop, boop noise (which only they make) and spy on them, lol! Every now and then they'll spot us and the bigger one will stop doing it.

    Even though these two are the same age and from the same hatch, I think she may be doing it 'cause we re-homed the roo, as this behavior didn't start until then. Maybe the presence of the roo comforted her, so now that he's gone, she's looking for comfort from her sister (??).

    Thanks so much for your help. [​IMG]
  4. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Songster

    Apr 19, 2014
    NW Florida
    I have an Orphington hen who is much smaller than my other two who will try to crawl under my RIR hen (who is the head hen) at night on the roost. The RIR just scoots over and lets her snuggle up. I think it's for comfort, mostly, or if the hen feels threatened by something it may see or hear. I often see the RIR hen with her wings over the birds next to her on the roost as well.

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