Frantic chicken behavior but not sitting on egg(s)

Lavendar4

In the Brooder
May 24, 2020
22
9
13
Hello, I have 4 chickens, 26 weeks old, and 3 of the 4 are laying. One of them, the golden buff hybrid who was first to lay, has recently begun constantly jumping into and out of the nesting area, acting frantic, but she has no problem with us taking her egg each day and does come down to eat or if we offer grass or a mealworm. She acts like she’s looking for the eggs, both hers and the others, but she has zero “sitting on egg” behavior. It bothers us because she seems so distressed. We are not allowed roosters here, though we could possibly re-home her to someone in the country. I didn’t think a golden buff (variation of golden comet, cinnamon queen, etc.) would even go broody and like I said, she never ever sits still. She’s always been tiny and hyperactive. Any thoughts? Thanks.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Good Grief
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
Jul 16, 2015
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Hopefully she's not looking to eat eggs. Often hens that eat eggs will look in the boxes often, and will learn to wait while others lay. I find sex links require a higher protein ration to avoid deficiencies.
 

Lavendar4

In the Brooder
May 24, 2020
22
9
13
Hopefully she's not looking to eat eggs. Often hens that eat eggs will look in the boxes often, and will learn to wait while others lay. I find sex links require a higher protein ration to avoid deficiencies.
Ahh, thank you. She is our only sex-link, and also the only one to have seemed “neurotic” on occasion. Earlier, we switched from chick feed to an organic grower feed, and within 24 hours she started pecking and aggressively pulling feathers on other chickens. We tried everything before changing to a non-organic and higher protein grower feed, and within 24 hours the pecking stopped completely. I did think I saw her peck a chicken once yesterday so maybe this is a nutrition thing again. I’ve kept them on grower because for a long time it was just her laying, and I didn’t want the non-layers to overload on calcium. But just in the last 3 weeks, I have 2 more layers and that just leaves the buckeye not laying. Maybe I should switch to layer feed...
 

Wyorp Rock

Blessed
Premium Feather Member
Sep 20, 2015
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Provide oyster shell free choice and continue to use the grower or an all flock/flock raiser type feed.

The frantic behavior may just be what she's going before she lays an egg? I have one hen that exhibits a frantic type behavior when she's going to lay an egg - she's done it for 3+ years, it's just the way she behaves - it's quite dramatic, but then again, hens can be drama queens.
I don't interfere with pullets or hens when they are in the process of laying their eggs - added stress of handling/disturbances can worsen behavior and make it harder on them.
 

Lavendar4

In the Brooder
May 24, 2020
22
9
13
Provide oyster shell free choice and continue to use the grower or an all flock/flock raiser type feed.

The frantic behavior may just be what she's going before she lays an egg? I have one hen that exhibits a frantic type behavior when she's going to lay an egg - she's done it for 3+ years, it's just the way she behaves - it's quite dramatic, but then again, hens can be drama queens.
I don't interfere with pullets or hens when they are in the process of laying their eggs - added stress of handling/disturbances can worsen behavior and make it harder on them.
Thank you, she is my early layer each day, so the behavior is post-lay. She’s always been the alarm chicken, and kind of frantic in general. But the constant searching and jumping from nesting area to the roost bar outside of it is new. She even sounds frantic with high pitched repetitive sounds. I would would think she’s broody, except she never sits on the egg or growls and doesn’t care if I take it even when she’s looking. It’s really strange. Like an obsession! She gets oyster she’ll but I’ll make sure the dish is full.
 

Lavendar4

In the Brooder
May 24, 2020
22
9
13
No, it’s not that, my other 2 layers do the egg song. But the sex-link does not at all! She’ll lay super fast, hop to the lower level to eat, then start her bar to nest boxes dance. I’ll try to go out this afternoon and get a video! Thanks!
 

Lavendar4

In the Brooder
May 24, 2020
22
9
13
So it's after she's laid the egg? Is it like this, but just moving about more?
If not, then can you get a video of her?


So, I didn’t get home until late so I didn’t get a video today, but my daughter said the Australorp (newest layer, only her third egg) didn’t lay until late afternoon, and when my daughter went to get it, the frantic chicken was upstairs pecking that egg!! She didn’t manage to break it at all; our chicken’s shells are quite hard. But does that mean she needs more protein? Or calcium? Thanks.
 

Wyorp Rock

Blessed
Premium Feather Member
Sep 20, 2015
33,502
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Southern N.C. Mountains
So, I didn’t get home until late so I didn’t get a video today, but my daughter said the Australorp (newest layer, only her third egg) didn’t lay until late afternoon, and when my daughter went to get it, the frantic chicken was upstairs pecking that egg!! She didn’t manage to break it at all; our chicken’s shells are quite hard. But does that mean she needs more protein? Or calcium? Thanks.
Could have been curiosity or possibly trying to eat the egg hard to know.
I would get some ceramic eggs to put in the nesting boxes. If they peck those they don't break and it seems to help deter more egg pecking.

She a production bird so I would make sure oyster shell is provided free choice. Lots of people feed layer feed, I wouldn't go below 16% protein. I like to stay in the range of 18-20% but I mainly feed an all flock feed since I have roosters too - easier than buying different feeds all the time.
 

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