Broody Hen... But no eggs.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by rachaelakers, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. rachaelakers

    rachaelakers Out Of The Brooder

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    I have three golden comets. Two of which are laying just fine. I have yet to see the third one lay. She is broody though. Will go take care of the other hens eggs. Also crouches down when you approach her. But I watched them today and Big red (the head of the roost) went in and laid an egg... Then my hen that has half of her beak broken went in and laid an egg... an the other one went in and check on them... But she didnt lay. I normally get 1-2 eggs a day. And I think they are only coming from the two that laid today. I dont know their ages. (bought them from a guy last fall) he told me they were 18 months old. But he had about a hundred chickens and walked in the coop and grabbed three... And I went to grab one and he said no you dont want her she is old. So obviously he had chickens of all ages. So I dont know if the hen that isnt laying is an older hen. Is there any way you can age a chicken?
     
  2. nwredrooster

    nwredrooster Out Of The Brooder

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    Disregard this post. Edited for duplication on my end. Apparently I am an idiot.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  3. nwredrooster

    nwredrooster Out Of The Brooder

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    Know dogs very well, no idea with chickens. Curious to see what others post.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  4. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    There are a couple of things that could be going on.
    1. She is broody. Hens that are broody don't lay.
    2. She is getting over a moult.
    3. She is too young/too old to lay
    4. She is laying, but you just happened to watch on a day when she didn't lay an egg

    #1--When you say she "takes care of the other hens' eggs," what do you mean? A broody hen will stay on the nest almost the entire day. She will be very fluffed and very flattened on the nest, as if she's trying to make herself cover as much area as possible. She will often growl or peck you if you put your hand in the nest. If you pull her off the nest, then she will often stay in that flat position on the ground for a few seconds before she walks off, and if you come back 20 minutes later, she'll be back on the nest. If this describes your hen, search BYC for "breaking a broody."

    #2--a hen can have a light moult and you will hardly see it. Check her feathers, and see if she has any bald spots or any new pin feathers growing in. If she's moulting, you'll have to wait until she's done. No real way to hurry that.

    #3--I doubt she's too young or old, since you say she's crouching, which is a sign of sexual readiness. If she's too young, she will have a smaller, paler comb than the rest. For an aged hen, check her feet and legs relative to the others. Older hens have much scalier, rougher looking feet and legs.

    #4--Very few hens in the world lay eggs every single day. Even for sex links, 5-6 eggs per week is more common. You might just have chosen to watch on a day she didn't lay.

    It's not easy to tell if a hen is laying, but there are signs. Over the vent are 2 pelvic bones. On a large hen, 3 fingers should be able to fit between those bones on a laying hen. If you can only fit 2 fingers, the hen is not laying. Her comb should be red and plump. Her vent should be red and moist. If she's looking "dried up" then she's not laying for some reason--see # 1 and 2 above.
     
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  5. rachaelakers

    rachaelakers Out Of The Brooder

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    She doesnt sit on the eggs all day. But she will go up and cover them up with feathers, shavings ect. And sit on them for a few minutes. More like tends to them.

    "Over the vent are 2 pelvic bones. On a large hen, 3 fingers should be able to fit between those bones on a laying hen. If you can only fit 2 fingers, the hen is not laying. Her comb should be red and plump. Her vent should be red and moist."

    I have tried to check her vent. Keep in mind I am very new to chickens. So Most of this I have no clue what I am looking for. And they aren't the sweetest girls either.
     
  6. LovinChicknFarmn

    LovinChicknFarmn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That doesn't sound broody to me. She may be thinking about laying and that's why she goes in and sits on them and checks them. If she were broody, she'd sit on the eggs all day and only get up once a day to eat and get water and maybe dust bathe and then go back and sit. A broody hen wants the eggs to hatch and the only way to do that is to sit on them and turn them all day.

    Like the last person said, look at her comb (on her head). Is it pink or bright red? If it's pink she's not laying. If it's red, she should be laying. Combs tell you all about what hen is laying. Have you thought about the fact that all chickens don't lay an egg every day? Especially in winter. We have one right now that lays every few days. Are you 100% sure she's not laying? If the chicken-in-question's comb is red, my guess is they're all laying, but only two lay on any given day. They may just be swapping out who's laying each day. It would be normal for this time of year. When the days are shorter chickens start laying less. A chicken has to be quite old not to lay at all anymore. As they age, they'll start laying less, but I know people with 6 and 7 year old hens who still lay well. Many people cull or get rid of chickens as they age because they often lay less and an older chicken isn't the best in production terms.
     
  7. bruceha2000

    bruceha2000 Overrun With Chickens

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    Yep, got one of those. Sits on her egg, another girl's egg or NO eggs ALL DAY LONG. Only eats if we take her off the nest. Put her on the roost at night and unless it is dark, she's right back on the nest. As we have no rooster, it doesn't matter how long she sits there, no chicks will hatch even if we left the eggs in the nest.

    Bruce
     
  8. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    I don't think your hen is broody. If you're having trouble checking her vent, look at her vent versus a hen that you KNOW is laying and go from there. If she looks similar to a hen that is laying, and if her comb is plump and red--she's laying. Especially since you say she'll squat for you. Hens that aren't laying usually don't squat.

    If she's looking pale and shriveled, don't lose hope. Either she's getting over a moult, or she needs more light. Both problems are normal, and solved by the passage of time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  9. hollys chooks

    hollys chooks Chillin' With My Peeps

    The crouching (squatting) is a good indicator of laying.
    I have a hen who used to lay and she always used to squat (which made her easy to catch) but she doesn't lay anymore and stopped squatting.
    A pullet of mine started laying in November, she started squatting about 3 days before she started laying. She then got egg bound and when we got that sorted out she stopped laying for a month, and she stopped squatting. She started laying again last week and I knew she was going to as she also started squatting again.
    However I have a pullet who never squats when approached but lays everyday. Obviously I don't look enough like a rooster for her.
     
  10. rachaelakers

    rachaelakers Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 2, 2013
    Well her comb is pink. : ). I haven't checked her vent. It's been raining all day. And I noticed her comb is actually quite small. Compared to my other hens. I think she may be molting. But I have no clue.
     

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