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'Spooked' Chickens'

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We woken up yesterday (7am) by an almighty squawking coming for the eglu run. OH ran down to find Shirley PP, climbing on top of the glug as if to get off the floor! :shock: Desperately trying to get out of the run. He let her out into the bigger run and went back to bed.


Yesterday we let them free range all day in the veg plot (mud bath :roll: ). When it was time for bed, Laverne was already asleep but Babs and Shirley were huddled in the corner of the veg plot trying to get under a patio slab which had been left leaning against the fence. I picked up Babs and put her back in the run, but she freaked out and tried to get out again! I have never managed to pick Shirley up, but last night she allowed it with no struggle, so I knew something was up. Long story short, i left a torch in the eglu and off they went to bed.


At 2am this morning, we were woken by, what i can only describe as an alarm call :shock:


We both ran down stairs, expecting to see a fox, but nothing! Babs was climbing on top of the glug, as if to get off the floor. the other two were fast asleep. We brought her in the house and left her in a cat basket, with some straw. She seemed fine once she was out of the run.


There is no evidence of a fox digging into the run, and there were still pellets on the ground, so i dont suspect a rat (the girls dont eat that much that I have to fill the grub every day).


i have absolutely no idea what is going on! Sorry for rambling post, but have any of you guys had something similar? I have never heard the girl's alarm call before.


C x x x


p.s Babs still laid an egg this morning :)

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How weird Christian! Are you sure you don't have mice (and scaredy chooks?) We have had mice who don't seem interested in chicken food, so maybe your mice or rats aren't either?


Is it just the run they're scared of, not the eglu too? I've heard of chooks not wanting to go in the eglu because, I think, there were red mite in there....


Sorry - not sure that either of these possibilities completely fits your situation, but it is an odd one!

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Very odd! You would say that the one at 7.00 am could have been Shirley just being a madam and wanting to be let out, but at 2.00 am? No! Do they sleep in the Eglu or in the run? Obviously at that time, they should be well asleep and tucked up.... so perhaps a good checking over of the roosting bar ends would be a good call, just in case there are any nasty beasties there....

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I had something similar with Poppy once.

There was a huge racket in the early hours & we went to investigate to find her in the run,with the other girls all in the Eglu,but looking alarmed.

We just shoved her back In & shut the door :lol:


The next morning I noticed loose dug earth in a pile around the inside edge of the run,so we reckon it must have been a mole & Poppy went to investigate,then couldn't work out why she was out in the dark :roll:


It has never happened since.


Are you able to shut them in the Eglu at night in case there is a predator about?

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Really strange :shock:

Maybe also a good check round the Eglu itself to see if there is a way some rodents could be getting in there and spooking them out into the run :?:


Something else has occurred to me - but I really don't know if it is possible

a/ at this time of year

b/ in your location


Could it be something like a grass snake :?:?:

Just because they are obviously trying to get off the ground and a snake could get through the run and probably into the Eglu. I'm sure a snake would do them no harm - just spook them...


I wonder if anyone else has had any snaky experiences...???

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Thanks for your replies!


I have checked the eglu thoroughly and scrubbed it spotlessly clean, changed the roosting bars for new ones and put diatom on the ends. There is no evidence of digging by rat/fox and no pellets have been eaten.


The saga continues...............


i shut them in their big run which houses the run and eglu and when it was getting dark, I went out to lock them up. I found 2 of the girls had jumped the fence into the veg plot :shock: They have never done this before!


The other one was hiding in the corner of the run.


They have obviously been spooked by something and now dont want to go into the eglu or run :roll:


i managed to get 2 in and shone a torch in the eglu for Babs, who reluctantly went in. They are all locked up now, but i'm really worried!


PH as you suggested it could be a grass snake but I have never seen one in the garden and spend quite a lot of time out there.


please help

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Oh no :!: Poor chooks :(


Could you try moving the Eglu somewhere else in the garden - even just for a couple of nights? Maybe the change of scenery would help get over being spooked - if it was something that just spooked them once... if you see what I mean :?


I do hope you can work out what it is... :?

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I reckon its a small animal like a mouse or shrew or something similar.


The thing is...some peoples girls would eat these type of animals and even snakes/slow-worms.


its weird aswell - because whatever it is - its nocturnal - as it was the middle of the night...


mmmm..... :think:


keep us updated

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minks/stoats/ferret/weasels are quite wrigglely/wirey if you think about it.


my mum has a weasel in her garden - weasels are meat eaters - but they are supposed to be good for the garden eating slugs etc


maybe what ever it was spooked her and not actually got in the run.


but what I cant figure out is why she jumped up - its almost it was BENEATH her ....??? :shock:

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Morning Annie


Well.........I locked them in the eglu last night (pushed the handle down) which I haven't done in months. Not a sound all night! :)


This morning I went to let them out and they wouldn't leave the eglu, but once the run door was open they all ran out! They won't go in the run, which is going to cause some problems. We are both off for a while, as you know, but what is going to happen when we are both back at work?


They wouldn't even eat until I put the grub feeder on the outside of the run.


Just been out with a bowl of warm pellet porridge and handful of mealworms and put it in the run, which they ate, whilst watching all around them :shock:


I'm really upset that the girls don't feel safe in their run anymore. Not sure what to do now. :think:

Edited by Guest
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Morning Jackie!


It was bark, then topped in up with Aubiose, so I guess amixture of the two at the mo. I will need to refresh it anyway as there are now mouldy pellets in there as the girls wont go in to eat them. Saw a Pheasant this morning looking through the willow fence at them, but they didn't seem spooked!


Just can't work out what it is? We have built a special area in the corner of the garden, so the girls have more fredom during the day, so I don't really want to move them as they will be run bound if i put them on the lawn. I also took a cover off the run to let more light in, incase they thought it was too dark! :roll:

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Thanks guys but i had thought of that. The cover is really secure and the winds have been pretty bad here for a couple of weeks. This behaviour only started two days ago. Think I will move the run today and refresh the Aubiose. Turn it sideways on, so they have a different view :roll: .


Will keep you all posted.


p.s I brought the grub in last night, and there were still pellets on the ground this morning so don't think its a rat!

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Yes, I've only just caught up. They are definitely trying to te;ll you something, and a rat or other threat sounds likely. I'm sure dismantling & resetting would be good, and if you can shut them in the Eglu for a few nights and bring the food & water in, that might help (if you can, timewise). I'm sure there's something scary getting in.....

...oh, you've just posted, Christian...different view too, good idea!

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Just been to visit a lady who lives down the lane to pick up more aubiose. She runs Country fayre ( www.countryfayre.co.uk ) and has hundreds of chickens, geese, turkeys etc. She asked about red mite as that really freaks chickens out. I told her there is no evidence of it, but have treated the roosting bars with diatom as a preventative measure.


She thinks that more than likely it is a fox! There is no evidence of it, but maybe it came to have a look and the girls were out in the run. (they have a habit of coming out at night to see me when the security light comes on - aw bless).


Will be moving the run later and putting chicken wire on the floor with aubiose on top as this should stop anything digging in. Don't really want to line the floor as the girls love making craters in the run :roll:, but it is for their own safety. Will include a dust bath so at least they have somewhere to bathe.

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Christian - I think when foxes have managed to dig in the run in the past, it has been at the end next to the Eglu - so maybe you could just secure that end, or that half of the run - and that would leave the other end free for the chooks to dig around in :?


I do hope you manage to get this sorted so they are contented again :)

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