I have one Silver-Laced Sebright pullet who turned 25 weeks old today. When she hatched I didn't know to get her vaccinated for Marek's, and I have read that this breed is particularly susceptible to that disease, and that it usually strikes between 8-20 weeks. I thought she was out of the woods, as she has seemed so healthy and bright.
She was the first of my new pullets to start laying this spring, beating the leghorns. And she has been my best layer. I have read that Sebrights tend to be bad layers, laying one a egg a week and maybe 80 a year, but she lays nearly every day, perfect eggs.
Today I did not find an egg, though. She free-ranged most of the day. Yesterday she laid an egg in the late afternoon, around 4 p.m. It's possible she laid one today while out free-ranging.
She's always loved privacy for egg laying, laying in blanket folds, inside sleeves, or in a cute little nest she dug out underneath the laying boxes.
She has always perched with the big girls on the roost at night or next to her StepMama in the nesting box.
However, tonight I found her in her egg-laying space underneath the next box. I reached in, expecting an egg, and felt her soft little body, and she didn't squeal like she normally does when touched, though it was near nighty-night time and all my girls calm down when they go to bed. I shone the flashlight in and her eyes seemed bright.
But I'm worried she might be eggbound? Is it weird for a chicken to sleep at night under a nest box, when she's never done it before?
Recently the rooster has started to stay in the coop at night with the hens. He was raised indoors and is big and leaves the Sebright alone, other than doing his mating dance around her, to show his interest, but he has never tried to mate with her, and I don't think she's at all scared of him. I took him inside the house for the night, in case that was why she was under the nest box, but she didn't come out.
I have read that Marek's can strike suddenly and the only symptom may be depression. I'm wondering whether sleeping in the dark under the nesting box could be a sign of depression? Or could she be sick with something else? I wonder whether she could have eaten something bad off the compost pile?
I don't know whether I should go into the coop now and try to rouse her out of the spot and look her over or let her be for the night?
I also wonder whether she might be broody? But I read that Silver-Laced Sebright hens rarely go broody.
However, I read the same thing last year about Barred Rocks and had a Barred Rock hen go broody.
I thought maybe others with Sebrights could shed some light on what may be going on?