Sunday, November 13, 2011

Assistance Required!

It’s a chook problem.

I have a rooster called Ron, and two hens. Eddie is the white leghorn and Thelma is a brown Hampshire. Thelma is the smallest of the trio.

Now Thelma hasn’t laid any legs eggs for over a month now and I haven’t been bothered as I thought she must be on a moult. She has been laying fairly consistently throughout the year. Eddie has kept going so I still haven’t had to buy any eggs.

But recently I’ve noticed that when I let them out of the chook shed during the day to free range, Thelma has held back and only followed the other two out if I’ve gone in to change water/food/clean etc.

Now we all know what roosters are like and Ron is no exception. He holds himself in check in the chook shed but once he’s outside any hen is fair game for his amorous advances. (I think it looks more like rape but we won’t go there!) Eddie accepts his advances, begrudgingly I think, but Thelma acts as if he’s Jack the ripper and runs around the garden with wings flapping and squawking all the way. She tries to hide in such a position that it would be impossible for Ron to have his wicked way with her. And she looks distressed, panting and beak open.

So, could she be hurt and Ron is exacerbating the problem; how can I tell if she is egg-bound; or is she just playing hard to get? I felt so sorry for her today. Ron chased her and chased her and then Eddie started picking on her too. Talk about hen pecked!

So I welcome any suggestions, please. For Thelma.              p1010005





  1. Hi Jan,

    I would be really surprised if she was eggbound. The two eggbound chickens I have nursed through in the past have very quickly, ie within a few days, just got to the point where they wouldn't move around and generally looked very sick. They tend to lay down quite a bit, possibly pant and sort of pump their tail as if trying to lay an egg but almost constantly.

    My guess is that either she is carrying an injury which his weight whilst servicing gives her pain, she had an injury which caused her pain at that time which has then created a behaviour pattern where she now actively avoids him or simply the fact that there are only 2 hens means that he is servicing her more often than is comfortable particularly as she is the smaller and quite possibly slower hen.

    With this type of thing it's always hard to tell what's going on but the fact she is able to run away from him for what sounds like significant amounts of time suggests she probably isn't too injured. Maybe a week out of the flock to rest and see if the problem seems to go away or continues to rear it's head.

    Kind Regards

  2. I have seen chooks that have been egg bound and they look like they are not well at all, hunched over and solitary, not wanting to be involved in any activity. Have you thought of getting a couple more girls to share the love, taking the pressure off the other two ladies.

  3. Thank you both for your suggestions. I feel I can forget about her being egg bound now as she is still quite active.
    She is smaller than the other two and I have plans to get two more chooks after Christmas - I'm going to my daughter's wedding in SA in five weeks so I thought I'd wait until I got back. Maybe that will help.
    I just thought it was interesting/sad to see the other chook Eddie start picking on her too as if it was a pair of bullies in the school yard. She hasn't done that for a long time.
    I'll keep watching and if it gets too bad I'll get the extra chooks earlier.
    Thanks so much for your help, I really appreciate it.