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Hen behaviour before they start laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chocluver, Nov 7, 2015.

  1. chocluver

    chocluver Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello...reading through the forum there are a number of comments like "they were looking like they were ready to start laying". My hens are coming up to 5 months, any tips on what I am looking for in their behaviour to indicate they might start to lay?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    They'll show interest in the nest boxes about a week ahead. Their combs and wattles will get larger and bright red. There will be 2 fingers or more distance between the pelvic bones. The two pointy bones on both sides of the vent.
    Some people refer to squatting. I don't really buy that. If you have tame birds and no roosters present, they may squat when getting close but squatting is a desire to breed, not that "I'm about to lay an egg". If they aren't that into you or tame, they certainly won't squat. If they're with a rooster, that desire to mate is satisfied.
     
  3. chocluver

    chocluver Out Of The Brooder

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    Great info thank you! I have 2 little brown birds that have no combs or wattles at all [​IMG] My husband is convinced we have been given duds and they aren't even chickens! I am sure they must be...well I hope!
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Well, the squatting shows sexual maturity and can be linked with producing eggs.
    Comb color and especially pelvic points are more reliable.

    5 months is a little young for most breeds...some breeds have smaller combs/wattles anyway.
    Post pics of your birds if you don't know the breed.
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I used to have Orpingtons, Jersey Giants, Wyandottes and Plymouth Rocks occasionally squat. However, I haven't had a hen squat for me in 5 years and I walk among 25-50 active layers every day. I've never seen a Leghorn, Ancona, Minorca, Buttercup, Jaerhon or Penedesenca laying hen squat.
    My point is, they will lay without any squatting behavior.
    They won't lay if the pelvic bones haven't spread.
    Larger combed birds will rarely lay before the comb is full sized and red.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    No, it's not an absolute.....especially if theres a cock in residence..... and sometimes they don't do it unless you actively reach for them.
     
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    That's just it. Many people have pet chickens and reach for them with the subsequent squat.
    My birds run up to me hoping for treats but if I reach for any of my hens, they run screaming bloody murder.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Right, so squatting can be a good indicator of onset of lay in a small pet flock of pullets only.

    My pullets raised by broody in flock run screaming too...lol
    But the pullets I incubated and handled, some still like to be touched/picked up,
    but do not squat for me any more since being introduced to Big Woody the Welsummer cock.
     
  9. jmdarrow

    jmdarrow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a mixed breed of 6 hens and most of them will squat for me for a little petting most of the time. My SLW runs away every time. She's not friendly and was handled just as much as my others.
    I'm debating on getting a cockerel to hatch my own eggs come spring. However, with BO,BJG,SLW,BA,andGLW, what breed should I consider?
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Best to start a new thread about your choice of a sire for your flock.
     

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