Hasn't started laying yet, or hiding her eggs???

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Flock Leader, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. Flock Leader

    Flock Leader Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello everyone! We have a pullet who was hatched last July, which makes her around 8 months old. According to what you guys guessed at, she's a RIR/Sussex cross. She's a lovely brown big-bodied bird, and has well-developed red comb and wattles. Our leader rooster has been actively mating with her for about a month or so, and I've noticed he always does that when a chicken is about to go into laying.

    But, so far no eggs from her. We thought we'd be patient, but then my husband suggested that perhaps she's laying and hiding her eggs somewhere. I checked her vent yesterday, because it always seems to me I see a difference in a chicken's vent once she starts laying, and it looked like this one has but I can't be 100% sure.

    So, since following her around in search for her nest is out of the question (our chickens all free range, we have no fences, and a lot of brush and overgrowth on our territory, so the eggs might be anywhere), I locked her up in the coop, together with our other roo, her brood mate, with whom she is inseparable. How long do I need to keep her locked up to either make sure she hasn't begun laying yet, or to get her used to the nesting box?
     
  2. WildBilly

    WildBilly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    until she lays another egg, i figure a about a week since most hens lay eggs at least 1- 2 times in a week. if this doesn't work i don't know i've never dealt with this , i have a coop for my birds. If they don't lay in a week or so , it probably doesn't have eggs , if necessary reseach the species more and learn about proven information. i would have fun with it and have alot of people to search for the eggs, maybe you will find her hiding spot.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  3. Flock Leader

    Flock Leader Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the reply! I'll keep her locked up for a week, then, unless she lays sooner.

    Trust me, if you had seen our area, you'd know looking for hidden eggs can be a hopeless case. We have steep rocks all over the place (our goats love it - we, not so much) and huge brambled bushes that cover a large plot. A chicken could squeeze right into the middle of those bushes and have her nest, but you'd never push through. [​IMG] It's really important to me to enforce "egg discipline" and not go hunting for eggs all over the place.
     
  4. WildBilly

    WildBilly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I understand, I guess alot of land is, alot of land and it's true that the chickens can fit into places we cannot, to lay the eggs. Yeah, if she doesn't lay in a week in a confined area like a chicken coop, she might not be laying at all which is hard to believe so I agree and if she happens to lay an egg in a nesting box in a coop before the week is over , then I would try to train her with a golf ball in th nesting box so she thinks that is her egg and may start laying there. PUT A FAKE EGG IN AN OPEN, FLAT AREA and she may start sitting on the egg and then make a new nest of eggs there. I have 6 chickens and I used the golf ball trick to get my white leghorn hen to lay in the nesting box and it worked!
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  5. Flock Leader

    Flock Leader Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Day 3 of confinement - so far, no eggs, but we'll see. Another thing I'm wondering about... we had a few cases of what was very probably Marek's in our flock months ago (thankfully only lost two birds to the disease). I didn't send the dead birds for an autopsy, but all the classic Marek's symptoms were present. So I'm wondering, could this pullet be afflicted by Marek's without exhibiting any symptoms, with just her reproductive organs damaged (so she would appear healthy, but won't lay?)
     
  6. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Its a good bet that if she was exposed to Mereks, she's probably a carrier. That doesn't necessarily mean she's been damaged in any way. Just an FYI, if she's gone from free range to confined (and had been laying), being locked up will probably throw her off. Alot like moving to a new home stresses them out and they don't lay. Chickens are creatures of habit, mess up their routine and they can get pretty grumpy. Stick with it! Good luck!
    Nikki
     
  7. Flock Leader

    Flock Leader Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote: I know, and that's why I posted this here. If, presumably, she is laying somewhere in the bushes but is now confined to the coop and "thrown off" her laying routine, how long will it take her to lay again? Or how soon can I be certain she is *not* laying yet, and set her free again? I really don't want to keep her cooped up longer than I need to, both because I feel sorry for her and because she consumes so much feed when she can't forage LOL [​IMG]
     
  8. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The extra feed is the price we have to pay to train them to use the nest and pay us back for the feed. A confinement of a week or two, till they get in the habit of using the nests is usually what it takes, and an occasional refresher coarse may be necessary.
     
  9. Flock Leader

    Flock Leader Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi everyone, I just thought I'd post this update: she laid her first egg today! (After the coop-up week was over). I saw her acting in an odd manner and knew she was going to lay; she and our leader rooster kept walking all over the yard, and the roo would get into emty boxes and barrels and all sorts of nooks and crannies, and do a little soft clucking sound, while the hen went in and out of the spots he suggested and didn't seem content with any of them. They looked like a couple that goes house-shopping. "No, honey, I want windows that face south". [​IMG] It was hilarious!

    And so, around midday, I found a lovely XL cream-colored egg, plopped right in the middle of the yard, next to the feed barrel.


    [​IMG]
    Here it is, in the middle, between a White Leghorn egg, and a smaller cream-colored one I got from my Israeli hen.



    [​IMG]

    And here is the new layer. Her bottom is all fluffed up! I posted once before to ask about her breed; people on the forum here told me she's most likely a Rhode Island/Speckled Sussex cross.
     

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