Do chickens ever seem sick before laying 1st egg?


Feb 12, 2019
Victoria, BC, Canada
i have a 24 week old Faverolles who has not laid her first egg yet. Tonight I noticed her just now waking very. Slowly then hunching up and pulling her head in. She was shaped like a football. Then she laid down and tucked her head in to sleep. I woke her up to try to feel if there was an egg in her, but I am two new at this to tell, or there is no egg.

She ran away then puffed up and the laid down again. She is usually my most exuberant hen.

Do chickens ever seem ill before they lay their first egg?
I’m so freaking worried. Their coop is impeccably clean, I fully gut it and rinse it out every 2nd week, and I pressure wash their roosts at that point too. I’ve never seen evidence of a bug on anyone. Anyone who enters my back yard only ever wears shoes I provide and I’ve never had anyone who owns poultry or fowl in my back yard. I rake out their run every week, and put down diatomaceous earth in it every other week.

I will do a full check in the morning of her vent and her feathers, but I did one last week and there was no evidence of pests.

As far as I can tell she is eating normally, I clean off their poop board every morning and haven’t noticed any abnormal poops, and when I felt for an egg there was no caking if feces or anything.

I’m really hoping this is not illness...
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I pressure wash their roosts at that point too
Hopefully outside of the coop.....and you let them dry thoroughly before replacing? Keeping the coop dry inside is very important.

So your bird...she may be trying to pass a softshell egg(not uncommon with new layers), I have seen this behavior before and it's freaky. I'm betting you'll find that softie under the roost in the morning.

If not, tell us how she is acting now....
..and what all and how exactly you are feeding?
I agree with not getting the inside...keeping the wood wet is perfect for growing mold.

Can you take a video of her today and upload it to YouTube?
Yes, I wash out the coop first thing in the morning, and let it dry over the day, I wipe it down with a wet rag usually just with vinegar water. I’ve not had it over the fall and winter yet, so I’ve only been washing it during the hot summer. I might have to change how I do it over the rainy fall to keep it from staying damp.

So far they’ve just been on medicated crumbles, but as they are almost all 24 weeks I was going to be buying layer pellets and starting to wean them on to them. They also get once a day a couple handfuls of those little fatty chicken treats (not every day only when I have bought a bag), vegetables like a cob of corn between 7 chickens, some scratch, apple or pears as they fall off the trees, the occasional tomato, oats or wheat groats here and there.

I have a trough for grit that is always full in their coop.

If she’s still doing this action I’ll take a video. And I’ll check the poop board really well this morning.
From what I've seen, they will sometimes, not really act sick so much. Not really a word for it, they'll pace, kinda plotting more than confused, but it really does sound like you got another issue. I'm no expert, but coming of age at this time of year she may not lay until next spring. She isn't starting to molt is she?

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