About to start laying?

Marigold555

In the Brooder
May 6, 2022
8
3
12
Hello there, I have four, 19 week old Rhode Island Red hens. About a week or two ago they started to get super agitated, extra squaky, no matter how many treats I give them (kale, watermellon, sunflower seeds, meal worms) it doesn't seem to be enough (and might be making them spoiled/demanding!). Yesterday I put ceramic eggs in their laying boxes and after inspecting them for a good five minutes, all four started purring and then marched outside and simultaneously did the "egg call" for about 10 minutes. Ever since they are egg calling every half an hour or so and/or just squaking at me for more treats. I think I've created spoiled monster chickens haha - I keep trying to calm their squaking with more treats but now they stand at the fence and squak at me until I bring treats - and then when they eat them they just squak more! They never seem to be satiated.

They have food, water, and both grit mixed into their feed and around their coop.

Is this normal pre-laying? Am I being overly worried? Anything else I can do? I'm worrried the noise will bother the neighbors. They weren't this loud before 18 weeks and its louder than my neighbors chickens who are more mature age. The other thing is they won't go "in" the laying boxes, just keep looking at them. Any reassurance or ideas would be appreciated. Nervous chicken mama here and want to make sure I do everything I can for them. Thanks! :)
 

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This likely has nothing to do with approaching point of lay. You have succeeded in conditioning your chickens to wanting a treat every time they see you and make a racket. Undoing the damage may take some time. I would begin by being scarce and quitting the excessive treats.
 
HAhahaaha. Does this mean I'm a helicopter chicken mom!?! What life lessons one learns from chickens! Thanks for the response. That would make sense. I'll dial back my presence, and maybe hang with them without treats until they get bored of me. Thanks again.
 
Yes, you certainly qualify as a helicopter chicken mom. No shame in that. It means you adore your chickens as most of us here do our flocks.

I find it helps to restrict treats to one specific time of day. Chickens have very accurate internal clocks, so they know when treat time is near. That way, they will learn not to expect treats at any other time of day and will stop being such pests when you come into their run.
 
It's true - there are worse things. Ah, that's a great idea, thank you! I will try getting on a treat routine so they know what to expect and calm down the rest of the day. Gratitude!
 

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