Help Please... Egg Laying Behavior

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by abbey808, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. abbey808

    abbey808 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2011
    I have a 20 week old Barred Rock who is acting strangely today. She has been doing the squatting thing for about a week now and has become increasingly vocal for the past couple of days. To my knowledge she has not laid an egg yet, but she free ranges in the yard during the day so she may have and I just haven't seen any evidence yet.

    She has a nest box and has been jumping in and out of it today. I looked... no eggs in there. She is now walking around the yard poking her head in plants and under bushes like she is searching for something. She looks preoccupied (maybe a bit anxious), definitely not her usual calm self. She doesn't look like she is in distress... just on edge. I am resisting the urge to go out into the yard and hover over her to see what she is up to. I am watching her from the kitchen window.

    Just wondering, is this egg laying behavior? I am a first time chicken owner and have no idea how chickens behave when they are about to lay an egg. Do they normally seem a bit anxious before it happens? I am just worried because this isn't normal behavior for her at all. It's about noon here now and she has been acting like this for about two hours now.

    Thanks so much in advance!! [​IMG]

  2. Fluffy2

    Fluffy2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 21, 2011
    SF East Bay, CA
    Abby, thanks for the question. I am also a newbie with a 16 week old Barred Rock and have no idea what to look for. We put a double x large nest box in the coop today with straw and golf balls. Don't know what else to do. Hoping nature takes its course!
    Fluffy 2
  3. nurseshelly

    nurseshelly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2011
    Gilbert AZ
    Quote:That is how my Seramas are acting, and they are starting to lay. I think everyone laid an egg today, but at least one has been for a few weeks. We can tell because she hasn't settled on using the nest box yet, so when she starts pacing around and trying to find a place up high, we know within a few hours we will find an egg somewhere.
    My Australorp, who is older and more experienced, goes straight to the nest box and kicks the bedding around for a while, then lays her egg. At first she wouldn't do it if I was around, but now it's okay for me to be in the run with them when she lays an egg.
    Hopefully soon the Seramas will figure out the nest box is the place to be.
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    She's getting ready to lay an egg and is confused about what's happening. Just because egglaying is a natural thing for them doesn't mean the pullet is any more prepared and knowledgable about what's fixin' to happen than a teenage human girl is when she's about to start for the first time. (excuse the bluntness)

    When my brahma girls were young and about to start laying for the first time, they were still living on our screened porch, long story. One of the girls drove me crazy for two days investigating everything on the porch for a possible nest site and making a racket. I finally went out there and plopped her down in a canvas lounge chair. Few minutes later she jumped out of the chair, leaving her first egg behind. Months later, after they'd moved to the coop, I still had a hen that would squawk at the screened door every day to be let in so she could go to her chair and lay her egg. [​IMG]
  5. duckinnut

    duckinnut Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2010
    Marshfield, Ma.
    You can probably expect an egg any day,that is typical behavior prior to laying. My RIRs checked the accomodations(boxes) before they started laying and making bawk noise. Thet still do it today before they lay,but no egg song after,my Barreds on the other hand dont make any noise til after they lay. @20 wks thats right about the time I got my first egg from a Barred.
  6. NanaLantana

    NanaLantana Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 7, 2011
    Lantana, Florida
    When a pullet 'feels the urge' to begin to lay, she dosen't really know what to do. She will try out different places, and will find a spot in the yard, or wherever - unless you train her to the nest box where you want her to lay. That may mean keeping her 'cooped up' for a couple days until evening. When she starts looking around and bawking a lot, pick her up and place her in the nest box. Push the body down gently, and hold her there for a minute or two. Then let up. She may jump out, but you told her where to sit down. You may have to do that a few times to train them to the box. If you let them out free-ranging all day, they may not use the nest you provided. Then you'll have to hunt, and will often lose eggs.

    I trained my 7 hens that way, now they obediently use the nest boxes, even when I let them out early to free-range. If they feel the urge, they go back to the box. Chickens are creatures of habit, and if they start laying just anywhere, it will be harder to train them to the box. It's not really that much work, just do it when you notice that behavior. Congratulations - you'll be getting eggs soon! Mine just staerted laying last month, and I sold 4 dozen eggs already at $3.00 dozen.
  7. abbey808

    abbey808 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2011
    Thank you all so much for your responses! I am not sure why first-time chicken keeping is such a nerve-wracking experience. [​IMG]

    Every little sneeze, watery poop, strange behavior and weird noise coming out of them has me running to the forum to make sure that they are ok. Chickens are such interesting animals, so different from the dogs and cats that I am used to. I have no idea what's normal or not.

    My BR has been joined by her RIR friend (they are the same age, no eggs from the RIR yet either), and they are both roaming the yard making a racket out there. I am sure the penning up for a couple of days is going to come with a LOT of loud protesting, but I guess that is the only way I can make sure they're laying. I'd hate to be searching around in bushes for eggs. I'll definitely give the nest box training a try. She seems to have some idea that the box is important for something, as she keeps jumping in and out of it. It would be wonderful if the girls learn to lay in one particular place.

    The girls are getting awfully loud outside... I'm gonna go out and see what's going on.
    Mikenikki likes this.
  8. TigerLilly

    TigerLilly I failed Chicken Math

    Jul 18, 2010
    Central Florida
    I try to keep my hens in the coop/run until after they have reached their egg-laying time of day. So far, they almost always lay before 4 pm. Then I let them out to range. If she has already started laying, you will eventually find eggs somewhere you least expect them! If she hasnt started laying yet, you may find her first couple under the roost like I did with a couple of mine.
    Good luck!
  9. TrystInn

    TrystInn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2009
    Southern Arizona
    You might consider putting a few wood or ceramic eggs in a nest, she may be looking for other eggs to lay hers with.

    Good luck!
  10. abbey808

    abbey808 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2011
    Well, no eggs today. MY BR kept up the pacing and loud bawking up until early afternoon. She calmed down then and was her usual self later in the day. I did the egg hunt thing and didn't find anything in the yard. I wonder what her behavior will be like tomorrow? I'll keep her penned tomorrow for as long as she (and my eardrums can stand it). I had no idea these things could get so loud, lol. She was bawking for stretches at a time getting louder and louder with each phrasing. I'll do the nest box training suggestion and throw in a few golf balls, fake eggs... whatever will work. Hopefully, she'll get the idea. [​IMG]

    Thank you for all your suggestions! Maybe we'll see our first egg tomorrow... yay!!


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