When a hen goes missing overnight, it could be due to a number of reasons;
- Gone broody and sitting on nest of eggs.
- Injured or sick and can’t make it back to the hut.
- Killed by predator.
- Misjudged the light and didn’t make it back so roosting elsewhere.
Last week one of my elderly hens didn’t come to the hut at teatime and after a good search of the farmyard could still not be found.
There was still no sign of the hen the following morning but by the following teatime I happened by chance to spot my missing hen hiding in an old disused poultry hut.
The hen didn’t look too good when I found her. She was sitting stiffly on one side and her head was moving around and she seemed to be trying to throw her head back and look upwards. I was was thinking the worse and thought that she obviously hadn’;t returned to the hut the other night as she was ill. I quaranteened my hen off from the others, putting her in a pen for the night with plenty of straw and water and food.
The following day the hen still didn’t look 100% but I managed to get her to eat something. I decided to keep her penned in. By teatime when all the other hens were being rounded up, I opened up the poorly hens pen so I could fill up her feeder and whne I returned she had gingerly joined the rest of the flock and was heading for the main hut.
She has been steadily recovering over the last few days. I don’t know what was the matter with the hen. I don’t know if she was ill or if she was just stressed and traumatised from being missing overnight. I am delighted that my hen is on the mend.
If anyone has any experience of how stress manifests itself in hens then I would like to hear from you.