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Author Topic: Unhappy hen?  (Read 341 times)

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ghost61

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Unhappy hen?
« on: August 14, 2017, 16:09 »
Popsy was on her own for some months following the death of her companion and then due to bird flu we couldn't mix her with the older two hens we had.  In May we bought three new hens and introduced Popsy to them.  There was little aggression and she settled in (or appeared to) being third in the pecking order of the four - we still had the older two apart due to their size and nature.  Popsy went into a soft moult in June and stopped laying.  Since coming,out of her moult her laying has been sporadic.  She used to lay virtually every day, but now twice a week seems the norm for her.  She goes into the nest every day but tends to get bullied out by the two more senior girls (even though they are six months younger than her).  Distressed cackling happens from Popsy and then she seems to go off the idea of laying.  She only lays if she can get in the next box first and not pestered by the others.

She eats well, there is no feather pecking or aggression shown between the girls, apart from the old chastising over food.  I think she's unhappy as someone once told me that happy hens lay.  I give her lots of cuddles and also give her the odd extra treat just as I Jess to when she was on her own. 

Is there anything I can do to resolve this issue?  Or am I being oversensitive?  All the other girls lay daily, it's just Popsy that worries me.


New shoot

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Re: Unhappy hen?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2017, 18:13 »
There could be a few reasons.  Some breeds do lay more seasonally, especially as they get into their 2nd and subsequent years.  She may also still be getting used to being mixed with the younger hens.  It doesn't mean she is upset as such, but just her hormones settling down again.

The 'happy hens lay' bit is more about them being well fed and healthy, which it sounds like Popsy is.  Third in the pecking order is OK.  The pecking order seems to make them happy as everyone knows the rules.  If she had an egg to lay, out it would come regardless.  Mine have laid on the coop floor and even the run floor before if they can't get the nest box they want - the free one being totally unsuitable you understand  ::)

Popsy has company now and that is way better for her.  She will be happy to be with other hens  :)

ghost61

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Re: Unhappy hen?
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2017, 19:56 »
Thanks New Shoot.  I'm probably a bit neurotic when it com to Popsy as she had such a rotten start to her life with us, and yet she has always been a friendly little hen.  She is learning to fight for food whereas before she held back and waited for me to supplement her diet.  I am glad that she has company as although the oldies know her they are not friendly sorts, and so she can seem a Billy no mates hen, bless her!  Yes, the free nest box never appeals and Popsy has laid her egg in the run on occasion.  She is fit and healthy, no nasties on her, vent nice and clean, eyes bright and comb superbly red, and her occasional egg delicious!

New shoot

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Re: Unhappy hen?
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2017, 21:01 »
she had such a rotten start to her life with us

Cuddles, treats and you worrying over her - she landed on her feet big time and if she is sulking, it will be because she now has to share you with more hens  ;)

ghost61

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Re: Unhappy hen?
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2017, 21:43 »
You're probably right!  Sticky, our hen who died a year ago used to ignore me whenever we came back from holiday.  She used to stand with her back to me and would shuffle around to ensure that she didn't face me.  Took a few days for her to forgive me for leaving her 😄 Hens are far from stupid!

Sassy

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Re: Unhappy hen?
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2017, 09:32 »
Re the squabbling over food - you could put an extra one ot two feeding stations out, not more food but split between them. This can help a lot. Hens are born with only so many eggs to lay so the chances are she will just lay for longer.  :)
Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted!!

Chrysalis

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Re: Unhappy hen?
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2017, 20:48 »
Hi Ghost,

My Fluffy has a similar tale to your Popsy.  She was alone for nearly two years.  She took well to the new girls in May and June, but suddenly got depressed - tail down, droopy comb, no eggs. Her head also kept swivelling around! I gave her an Epsom salt bath, some olive oil and baby vitamins in her food, keeping her isolated for a few days.  I also changed them all to layers mash as she was so thin and not eating the pellets.  She perked up no end.  Still no eggs, but she's a happy girl and I scatter extra food around in case she gets squeezed out of the feeding station by the big girls!
As long as she's happy, I don't much care about her eggs, as the others are laying fit to bust!

ghost61

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Re: Unhappy hen?
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2017, 06:35 »
Sassy, same problem as nest boxes, despite six feeders for four hens, they all want the same one, even though they've all got the same stuff in them!  That's hens for you.  Popsy stood up to the top bird last night and seemed pleased with herself for doing so, as she makes a sound almost like a ta-dah when she is happy, bless her.  😊



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