Crouching chickens!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ampho, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. ampho

    ampho Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chicks are now 19 weeks, two have been crouching now for a few days, just noticed the behavior and saw someone else post about it. Today found the first egg on the poop board in the sand, soft shelled tan, somewhat squashed but did have yolk and white. My question is this. When I pick up the crouching hens (barred rock and wyandotte), both their vents are gaping open, is this "pending" behavior or post egg behavior and how can I tell who laid the egg?
     
  2. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes, the crouching means that they are getting ready to lay. The soft-shelled egg isn't too unusual, as it is a glitch in a new system.

    With them all being so close, I'm not sure you can tell which one laid the egg. Probably the one with the biggest, reddest, plumpest comb.
     
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  3. RockerHen

    RockerHen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The 'crouching' is the hens' signal that they are ready and willing to be mated. Sometimes, without a rooster, the hens take any presence over or near their back (including nearby humans) to be a rooster and will crouch, signaling that they want to be mated. The open vent is another mating preparation. Crouching usually begins right before laying. If you examine vents while the hens are not crouching, you can usually tell which ones have laid as their vents will be loose and moist-looking. Nonlaying hens will have more of a pinched appearance. You can also put different colors of food coloring on the vents of the ones you suspect are laying, so when they lay an egg, streaks of color are left so that you can tell which one laid it.
     
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  4. ampho

    ampho Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is it sexist that my interpretation of the crouching was a "defense" mechanism! Ha Ha! They freeze like statues! maybe I will have a real (hard) egg tomorrow! thanks for the info!
     
  5. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Nope, not defense--they are signalling submissiveness and mating readiness.

    It's really easy to project human feelings onto animals, but it isn't good for the animal. Chicken society has very different rules from human interaction. For example, a young cockerel that runs up to a human and demands to be petted isn't cute and isn't "friendly"--he's aggressive and is making you do what he wants you to do--groom him the same way a subordinate hen grooms the alpha roo. If you do what he tells you to do, you are letting him know that you are beneath him in the pecking order and it can set you up for an aggressive rooster later, since he will flog you if you don't follow his commands.
     

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