Free Range & Egg Laying...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Bettyboop7499, Jun 28, 2018.

  1. Bettyboop7499

    Bettyboop7499 Songster

    Mar 25, 2018
    Traverse City, MI

    There is a ton of good info on this site and I'm sure the answers to my questions are on here I apologize for any redundancy.

    I have ten chickens 6 Barred Rock hen and two Silver Duckwing OEGBs hens, and two roosters, one G/B Sebright & one Golden Wyandotte. All are approximately 17 weeks old. I free range them from sun up till sun down. The hens combs and wattles are turning red so I know they will begin to lay soon. So my questions are:

    What time of day do hens lay or does it vary?
    How do I make sure they lay in their coup or run and not on the 20 acres?
    What does squatting mean or look like? LOL..I feel silly asking that but I've read it so many times as a sign a hen is will I know if I've never seen it?
    And I've heard atleast one of my hens making a new clucking sound...

    Also, when does a flock start to establish a pecking order?
    One of my OEGBs is a loner, she roost at night by her self most of the time occasionally she will join the flock on the same roost. She is the friendliest and is always eager to see me! So sweet! But is it okay that she roost alone?

    Thank you to all responders for all your help! Love BYC! Don't know what I would do without you!
  2. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    You'll know for sure when you see it! Basically the pullet will suddenly lower her body to the ground, about halfway down, and hold her wings out slightly to the side. If she was in mid-stride she'll come to an abrupt stop and do it, otherwise she'll just drop down on the spot she's standing in.

    If you want to be her rooster you can try giving her a firm backrub, just in front of the tail. She'll lift her tail for you and if she's satisfied she'll fluff out after. If you make it a habit you'll get chickens constantly stopping right in front, like little feathered footballs wanting to be punted. Try not to kick them. :)
  3. RWise

    RWise Songster

    Dec 25, 2012
    Oakhurst Oklahoma
    On average a hen lays an egg every 26 hours, I get eggs from day break until they go to roost and a young girl may drop one at night for a while.

    I put fake eggs (golf balls) where I want them to lay, this will not force them to lay there, but it does encourage them. I find some will want to hid their nest no matter what you do,,,,
    Their voice will change from peeps to adult clucks at this time,,,

    Squatting is obvious,,, it means she is wanting to mate, and will be or is laying eggs.

    Pecking order is started at hatch,,,
    As long as they go into the coop so I can lock them up, I let them sleep where they want.

    Bettyboop7499 likes this.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Confine them to coop and run once they start laying.

    Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for a week or so can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop and maybe run 24/7 for a few days to a week, provided you have adequate space and ventilation, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.
    Bettyboop7499 likes this.
  5. A... As a rule hens begin laying in the late AM and lay a little later each day. Then when they don't have time to lay before dark, they may lay while on the roost, skip a day, and/or return to their late AM schedule.
    B... wait and see then if needs be ask again.
    C... Squatting is the position that a hen assumes when she is wanting to be bred.
    D... Chickens IMHO start forming a pecking order before the just hatched chicks dry off.
    E... Your OEGB is likely to far down on the pecking order to be able to roost or even freely associate with the bigger, stronger, older, or more rough and tumble members of your (or her) flock. Do yourself a favor. Take a folding chair outside with you and sit very very quietly, then watch and listen to your chickens getting ready for bed. This is not for the faint of heart because there are usually some big squabbles. But bedtime is when the pecking order is the most apparent. It can be likened to rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.
    Bettyboop7499 likes this.
  6. Bettyboop7499

    Bettyboop7499 Songster

    Mar 25, 2018
    Traverse City, MI
    Would this make the roosters recent Me- lol! My chickens will come to me but they don't like to be handled, they never have. I will try it on one of OEGBs, she lets me touch her. Thanks Rosemarythyme!
  7. Bettyboop7499

    Bettyboop7499 Songster

    Mar 25, 2018
    Traverse City, MI
    Thank you so much this was very helpful!

    I understand they start the pecking order immediately but from reading post I imagined a horrible scene of feathers flying...and One chicken pecking her way to the top of the flock. I read you have to have two roosting areas where one is atleast 12" higher than the other so the queen can roost above the rest...and I just haven't seen it as a matter of fact the opposite. They all make room for one another and set on the same roost, sometime one or two will roost in a different area but not always. And my OEGB that usually sleeps alone, sometimes the other OEGB will join her or even one of the hens, occasionally one of the roosters will join them...but I will set out tonight and watch what happens. Thank you!

    The only issues I've seen are with Mr. Rooster (my Sebright) I believe he matured before any other, he was crowing long before Big Red (Wyandotte), he is either not a morning person or something else is going on! He's pulling feathers out of the hens as soon as they come out of the coup in the mornings!

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