Why oh WHY are my chickens spazzin'?? (UPDATE!)

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by gritsar, Apr 5, 2009.

  1. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    They'll be a year old on Thursday. They have always been the calmest of birds. We literally built their coop around them and it didn't bother them a bit.
    Since yesterday morning they have been freakin' out about everything. Nothing has changed in their world. It's been super windy for the past two days, but it's not like they haven't experienced wind before. I'm not wearing anything different.
    Yesterday I fed them some BOSS out of the same coffee can I've always used to feed them treats, then I set the can down on the ground. They freaked out. Took off cackling and trying to fly. They didn't come back to eat the treat for about two hours.
    Today I cut them up a cantaloupe. When they saw me coming they all gathered round, excited. I set the cantaloupe down on the ground, then set the plate down while I went in the coop. Again with the spazzin' out. My rooster starts it with an alarm call. I waited about half an hour and moved the cantaloupe to another area of the garden and they finally cautiously started eating it.
    I have not seen any predators and I've been watching carefully.
    Also, my egg production went from its usual 11 eggs daily to 9 yesterday and 6 today.
    Any guesses as to what could be causing them to lose their little minds (before they cause me to lose mine!)? I feel like I'm having to walk on eggshells around them.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2009
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Cloud movements in the wind can scare them and it's been windy where you are. Also, they can hear things at night and maybe a predator has been bumping around or maybe they've seen something. Mine freak out over whitetail deer. Hard to say for certain, Kat. Who knows what's in their little walnut-sized brains?
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Thanks Cyn. [​IMG]
    It has been super windy. Thor seems to be keeping them bunched up in one of their "safe zones" quite a bit too.
    It just bothers me for them to act so spastic. If the weather is less windy tomorrow I'll sit out with them as much as possible and see if I can catch a clue.
  4. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    Please post your observance. This is interesting.
  5. New adventure

    New adventure Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2009
    Pueblo, Colorado
    The sky is falling! The sky is falling!!
  6. Robin'sBrood

    Robin'sBrood Flock Mistress

    May 8, 2008
    North Carolina
  7. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas

    Actually I'm glad Cynthia clarified that for me. I was thinking it was about the size of a pea.
  8. robot rooster

    robot rooster Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 5, 2009
    My rooster flew up and hit the kitchen door today, trying to look in the window. I think he just smelled the pot roast![​IMG]
  9. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    I was recently reading about color vision in chickens. Light is used for behavior control and so this is important in research.

    In one study, the author mentioned in passing that chickens do not have rod cells in their eyes, only cone cells. We learned about these light receptive cells in the retina when we were in junior high but I hadn't realized that it was possible to have 100% cone cells.

    I did some thinking about this and some more reading about these cells. I knew that rod cells are important for vision at low light. Maybe cone cells were just more highly developed than rods, making them capable of seeing colors.

    That might be true but rods are much, much better at sensing light than cones. Cones don't just see colors, they are much better at detecting motion. And, cones provide fine detail to sight.

    Imagine how different this all would be. What do shadows look like with these eyes? What if you have motion-detection cranked up to the nth degree? With wind and fast moving clouds and shadows . . . . "Seeing like a chicken" must be CrAzY!!

  10. Robin'sBrood

    Robin'sBrood Flock Mistress

    May 8, 2008
    North Carolina
    Very interesting, Steve. That sure explains why chickens have such keen vision during the day, able to spot the tiniest of bugs on the ground, and yet act like "sitting ducks" for predators at night... because they can't see squat at night, huh? No wonder they seek the safety of their coop at dusk. I guess those little walnut-sized brains are smarter than we think. [​IMG]

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