Can my 18 week old NH Red be laying an egg?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Lynnski, Oct 12, 2016.

  1. Lynnski

    Lynnski Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There was a hideous squawking coming from the yard so i run out back thinking something was eating a chicken! 3 of the 4 were just scratching in the yard ignoring the commotion and the 4th (Plinky the NH Red) was inside the coop yelling her head off... I bound down the stairs just in time to see her running out of the run, no more noise. So i searched for predators, searched for any sign why she was in distress... nothing.

    I thought maybe thats what they sound like when they lay an egg... I really have no idea! Searched high and low, no egg and everyone is acting fine.

    Then Plinky comes into the coop while im fishing around. Its strange because she would rather be with the others all the time, i never see her by herself. Well, i unblock the nesting boxes and lug the huge bag of pine shavings into the coop and start loading up the boxes... Again, strange that this big bag didnt scare her off! Everyone else went to the hills when i carried it over!

    When im done, she goes in the box and makes herself at home. Didnt even wait for me to move the bag or close the clean out doors! The other girls never came to see what was going on either.... another weird thing because they do everything together. This is the longest these girls have been apart!

    I went out to check on her, peeked in the pop door and she was still sitting in the box......till one of the other girls wanted to see what i was doing and bounded through the pop door.... heres the video of the incident and the squawking that i had heard earlier:
    [​IMG]

    Dixie got the hint real quick! They all stayed out of the coop.

    She stayed in there for an hour, trying out the second box as well. The last time i went out, they are all outside rummaging in the garden like nothing is wrong.

    Any ideas what this behavior is? Hoping its egg-laying behavior.... and if so, what should i be doing for her. We were both a bit freaked out!

    Should i leave the nesting boxes open from now on?

    Thanks for any suggestions.
     
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Typical behavior of soon to lay pullets. Imagine going into labor without ever even knowing you were pregnant. You'd be freaking out too. She could be just a minutes from laying her first egg, or it might be another week or two.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. redflame

    redflame New Egg

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    Put a golf ball in each box. It may help her know where to lay and keep them from eat the egg when it comes
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Haha!! Looks like she knows where to lay...and is 'practicing'...but fake eggs/golf balls can help if needed.
    Won't be long, I'd bet.
    The vocalizations that pullets make at onset of lay can be an incredibly loud cacophony...SHM...it's crazy!

    The first time I heard an egg song I also thought my birds were being slaughtered and ran down with dread in my heart....
    .....you'll get used to it and learn to know the difference between egg laying chatter and predator alarm (most the time-haha!).
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2016
  5. Lynnski

    Lynnski Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh boy @junebuggena , thats exactly what i thought, the poor thing! I cant tell you how often i go out there to check for an egg in the last 2 days!

    I heard about the golf-ball-in-the-nesting-box trick @redflame , so i ran right out and popped 2 in each box! Thanks for reminding me!

    I have also heard about this "egg song" @aart and i must say.... she sings like me then! What a racket it was! hahaha!

    Well, i resigned myself that we are looking more on the "maybe a week or more" timeframe since i havent heard one peep out of the girl since! Pretty sure she hasnt been back to the boxes either.

    Then this happened today while i was out for 30 minutes:
    [​IMG]
    nobody was paying any mind to it...
    [​IMG]

    But it looks like it was pecked in 2 spots...
    [​IMG]

    Any suggestions to A. get her to lay in the nesting box and 2. make sure they arent pecking.

    So how often should she be laying as she just starts out? I am adding a cup of self serve oyster shells out there, anything else i should consider?

    Thanks again for all the help, you guys are so generous with your experiences!
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    That's just a curiosity peck....gather eggs as frequently as possible to avoid a habit starting.
    Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help.
    But it can take up to a month or so for things to smooth out.
    Meanwhile, eggs everywhere, some of them can be rather funky looking, soft or thin shelled, huge double yolked eggs.
     
  7. Lynnski

    Lynnski Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Golf balls worked like a charm yesterday....

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    It looks so different in color that i thought another hen had laid it but i am sure its her.... Shes the only one interested in those nesting boxes!

    Thanks again everyone, really appreciate your sharing of all your experience!
     
  8. Lynnski

    Lynnski Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Although i am certainly not complaining.... i want to check for normal egg laying behavior!

    As you know, Plinky the NH Red started laying on Friday the 14th. It was a lighter colored egg which was pecked. She didnt lay on Saturday. Well, She has been laying an egg every day since! 5 in a row! They are brown, perfectly shaped and hard shelled so i know shes ok but i want to make sure i am giving her what she needs to stay healthy.

    Shes a one-hen-show right now as the other 3 are not laying yet so alittle special attention is in order.

    So, is this "normal"? Do i need to do anything for her?

    Thanks!
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    'Normal' varies with chickens, observe and patiently learn what each birds 'normal' is....
    .......and you'll be able to tell when something is abnormal.

    Nothing special is needed as long as they have a decent balanced diet, plenty of fresh clean water, and not too many 'treats'.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2016
  10. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    ^ This. Just let her do her thing, and let her be. I have found that my chickens prefer the least interference possible from their human keeper.
     

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