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"Shaking" hen

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Hello all,

I'm trying to decide if one of my hens has a very nervous disposition or if I have another poorly girl! :( 

I have a little Orpington who is probably coming up to the 18 - 20 month mark, but I noticed she's spent the last week or so spending time in the hutch a bit more. Today when they were allowed out, the others rushed outside merrily for treats and space, but she spent the day in the nesting box. As she's probably only coming into lay for the first time, I wondered if she might be trying to figure out what to do, however, I checked on her a few times and no result. I then wondered if she might be broody and, sure enough, she was nesting on a bunch of eggs. I picked her up and placed her in the run with the others, but I noticed the entire time I was holding her, she was really ruffled up and I could feel her trembling. When I put her in the run, I watched her for 10 minutes and noticed she was shaky for a good 5 minutes before she seemed to stop. I don't mean in the sense that she was unbalanced, it was like watching a person shake with anxiety.

Any ideas? I've never seen one of my ladies do that before. It didn't look like she was being picked on or anything like that.

When I opened the door to the pen again, she immediately returned to the nesting box and stayed there after another girl laid an egg. Maybe she is just broody.



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On 5/3/2022 at 7:24 AM, Cat tails said:

Haven’t seen the shaking before, but maybe she is just a polite broody. My Dutch bantam will tremble a bit, when I get her of the nest. Like someone who is very cold.

Has she plucked her underside bare?

No, no. She's in great condition - just shivering as if she was cold.

She made no attempt to peck me like previous broody hens have, she just clucked a little bit as if she were disgruntled and then left it at that.

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You are very observant @AndyRoo and my own thoughts are she is broody and has lost body heat trying to warm her clutch. She is far too young to be doing that and must be discouraged, because she clearly isn't strong enough. Putting her in a cold place like a broody cage I don't think is a good idea. Perhaps the only option is to keep her moving about as normal, because putting her in a strange place will bring more problems? Plenty of cuddles may help; perhaps she is feeling lonely?

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I've been scooping her out and forcing her to be with the other hens, which she seems happy enough to do - but as soon as I open the door to the coop, she runs on in. She's not even sat on an egg half the time, she just sits in the nesting box fluffed up.

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