Why are my chickens doing this???

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by imcaligal, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. imcaligal

    imcaligal Hatching

    Mar 18, 2008
    North Tustin
    Okay, I am very new to world of pet chickens. My 4 girls are only 3 1/2 months old (my two other Cochins are 4 weeks old). The older ones live in their coop and run, but I occasionally let them have the run of the backyard (we are suburbanites in Orange County, CA). Anyways, if they are out in the yard, right before dusk, they just stop what they are doing and stand still like statues. Sometimes as long as 10 minutes!!! Every once in awhile they will do it during the day too. They DO NOT move or make a sound. I have looked around the yard and there is no type of predator (which would only be the neighbors cat or the occasional Coopers Hawk flying above). They only start to move and cluck when the "head chicken", a Barred Plymouth Rock named Willow, does first. Why do they do this??? Does everyones chickens do this??
    By the way, I LOVE my girls!! (Just a city mom of 3 cats, 6 chickens, 1 rabbit, and two little rambunctious human boys)

  2. chickiebaby

    chickiebaby Songster

    Jan 2, 2008
    western mass
    Chicken performance art.
  3. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing 11 Years

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Somebody in the group gave a predator alert, in all likelihood. (they manage to see and hear things we miss....)

    When they all start moving again, Willow has probably signaled "The coast is clear. At ease!".

    My feathered friends do exactly as you describe.

  4. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    They may have detected a predator. I know there are a lot of hawks in that area. I grew up there [​IMG] Now I am in the high desert. I love the performance art comment
  5. The Chicken Lady

    The Chicken Lady Moderator Staff Member 10 Years

    Apr 21, 2008
    West Michigan
    Just wanted to say [​IMG]
  6. imcaligal

    imcaligal Hatching

    Mar 18, 2008
    North Tustin
    Thanks for the responses! Do most of your chickens do this? I am amazed that they can stay so still for such a long time!!
  7. HorseFeathers

    HorseFeathers Frazzled

    Apr 2, 2008
    Southern Maine
    Quote:Quite often a sparrow flying overhead will cause an alarm call. Silly birdies [​IMG]
  8. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Thats a defensive posture reserved for when they spot a predator watching them, you may not see it, but they do.
  9. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    First - [​IMG] Hello from another OC chicken lover!

    I agree. They (or Willow) saw/heard something and are watching/listening as to whether they need to run and take cover.

    As to those Coopers, they're a major pain in suburbia! With our encroachment into their normal feeding areas, Coopers have adapted well to hunting in suburban backyards. Their usual snack is smaller birds eating from a bird feeder, but bigger chickens are a welcome snack for them as well, unfortunately. I've had a couple of very close encounters with them and it's particularly bad at this time of the year for some reason. There are some times of the year when I can let them out on their own, but this time of the year is out of the question.

    I need to restore my PVC and netting tractor so that my girls can have more outdoor freedom right now. The poor girls have been cooped up after a run-in two weeks ago with a young Cooper's. You might be wise to spend some time out there while the girls are out and watch the sky and trees. You might just see what it is that they're reacting to which will help you determine how to keep them safe.
  10. sianara

    sianara Songster

    Apr 27, 2007
    Central MA
    My large hens yard is adjacent to my bantams yard. If my bantam rooster gives the "predator" alert, the large hens will come running from their wooded yard into their coop and he's not even THEIR rooster! [​IMG]

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