Freaking out? Or about to lay an egg?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by joneus, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. joneus

    joneus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My (EE) chickens are restless this morning. I let them out early with the hope that they'd settle down- but then had to bring them in so I could put my son on the bus and go for my run. Just before we left the house, one of my hens started squawking like mad & I cant find the reason. Of course, she got everyone else going and now they're all pacing and squawking! [​IMG]: I've checked the coop for a stowaway (none) and every square inch of the run is visible (nothing in there, either). I even sent my lab out on a "chippie hunt" (nada). The only predator I can imagine that they'd be freaking out over, right this second, is a hawk (the run is covered in hardware cloth, so they can see the sky & trees), but I would think they'd go inside & get quiet if that were the problem, wouldnt they?

    They'll be 18wks old on Saturday. Could she be getting ready to lay her first egg? Could THAT be what she's squawking about? What the others? Could her behavior be getting them all riled up, too, if there's no immediate threat? I dont want to leave the house (to run) if there's an _actual_ problem, kwim?
     
  2. joneus

    joneus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay... now everyone is quiet except Matilda, the hen-in-question. She keeps cackling and pacing...

    [​IMG]
     
  3. ninabeast

    ninabeast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2011
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    This sounds a lot like what happened to me.

    I have ten hens, 23 weeks now, and five of them are laying. When the first one began behaving agitated, I knew eggs were imminent. She was restless and panicky, crying loudly, quite distressed, and, for the first time ever, sought comfort from me, jumping up into my lap, wanting to be petted. She had always been very standoffish up to that point.

    So, yes, I would say you're about to get an egg. I thought of it this way: because she was the first to lay, and because she had been incubated and brooded amongst other chicks, and because they are a new flock with no elder hens, Alexia had absolutely no idea what was happening to her body. Three weeks on, Alexia is the old pro. She even tucks her head under her wing for a nap when she's laying.

    Keep us posted!
     
  4. joneus

    joneus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay- so agitation, restlessness and squawking is normal. That makes sense... poor girl! She, too, has been unusually needy (for her) lately.

    I went out and put some plastic easter eggs in the nest box- I hope thats enough to give her the right idea about where to sit.
     
  5. joneus

    joneus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Would pre-egg-laying behavior in one hen cause the rest of the flock to be agitated & anxious?

    I just let them out again. After a few minutes, there was another round of seriously unhappy squawking- so I went out to check. All 5 of my hens were huddled up together next to the property fence and squawking. The roosters were slightly more fanned out, but definitely looking for something. When the roosters moved away, the hens moved with them- one of them plastered herself against a roos' side, and another was right on his butt (unusual behavior for both).

    I sent my dog out to check the woods, again, but she didnt find anything. Obviously, something has the chickens spooked. Whether its one anxious girl getting the rest agitated or whether there's an unseen critter hanging around, I dont know. For my peace of mind, tho, I think they'll be spending the day locked safely in their run. [​IMG]
     
  6. top of the hill

    top of the hill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    hmmm.... I can tell you that my 21 week old RIR was freaking out the morning that she laid her first egg. she kept going in and out of the coop, squaking, just generally restless. I can also tell you that the 5 other girls didn't really care and quietly went about there own business.

    All chickens are different, but from what I've seen, sounds like there may be an animal creeping around (what about a mouse or something small). Good call, safe to keep them in the run for now.
     
  7. branston

    branston Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2011
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    Eggs are coming soon! My hens start squawking from 8am - 3pm. I imagine it's pretty painful laying those eggs, hence all the noise.....gotta love em!
     

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