One of our white Orpingtons started laying a couple of months ago, she's now about 7-8months old. She's recently started displaying some kinda mean and completely out of character behaviours.
Since I spotted a huge carpet python in the garden nearly a fortnight ago, everyone has been kept in the coop 'round the clock. They're all pretty unhappy about it coz they usually free-range in our large yard every day. I initially thought she was getting grumpy from being cooped up (haha, no pun intended), but now I'm wondering if she's decided she wants some babies...
The first grumpy thing she did was when I opened the nesting box not knowing she was in there, I went to give her a gentle pat and she gave me a pretty good peck. Then she got all ruffled up, went down into the run to pace around in a huff for a bit, then went back up into the box to lay her egg. She just left it there and went down for a feed and a dustbathe when she was done.
I've noticed her spending more and more time in the nesting box, and sitting on her egg for longer and longer once she's layed. The other day I was in the coop doing some housekeeping, and Little Star did the 'submissive squat' every time I went near her, while she usually just does it when I actually touch her back. As I went to leave, she followed me to the door, then did this super weird thing I've never seen before - She lifted her wings, puffed out all of her feathers, and made this loud 'SKREEE!!' noise, she sounded like an eagle!
The next 'mean' thing was yesterday when my partner opened the nesting box to find her in there, sitting on her sisters egg. My partner felt under Little Star to grab Chai's egg, and got quite a few pretty aggressive pecks. We went out for the afternoon and only got back at around 9pm or just after. I checked the box for Little Star's egg, and she was still in there sitting on it! She never does that, she's usually very possessive about her spot on the roost. So I picked her up (no pecks, but I'm sure she was sleepy), she had a totally empty crop, and was really determined to stay right there on that egg. She wasn't happy when I took the egg away, so I actually went into the coop and put her up on the roost.
It seems as though she went up there sometime after midday and sat on Chai's egg, then just stayed there all day and into the night on her own one.
Do you think she's going broody? Or is it that she's just unhappy with not having been able to free range like she's used to? The pecking and aggression is so out of character for her, but once I saw she was still on the egg I started to think maybe she's going broody... I don't want any broodies in the flock, haha. How can we stop her from going broody and hopefully stop the defensive, kinda 'mean' behaviour?