Hen won't let other hen lay

megfab7

Hatching
May 24, 2015
5
0
7
Cincinnati,OH
Hi! I am a first time chicken owner. I have 3 chickens that I bought that are already laying and were previously housed together. Today, I noticed that 2 of them were in the coop at about 12. I looked out at 1:30 and they were both still in there so I went to check on them. When I looked in both were panting, one was in the nesting box and the other was trying to climb on her and get into the nesting box with her. I shooed the hen who was climbing on her out of the coop and within a minute she layed her egg. What would cause the other chicken to do this? She doesn't normally go into the nesting boxes except to lay. It worries me especially because I work during the week and it makes me nervous that she has riled them up enough that they were panting. The coop is under a tree with plenty of shade so I know it wasn't from them being too warm. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,047
4,195
431
Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
Hi! I am a first time chicken owner. I have 3 chickens that I bought that are already laying and were previously housed together. Today, I noticed that 2 of them were in the coop at about 12. I looked out at 1:30 and they were both still in there so I went to check on them. When I looked in both were panting, one was in the nesting box and the other was trying to climb on her and get into the nesting box with her. I shooed the hen who was climbing on her out of the coop and within a minute she layed her egg. What would cause the other chicken to do this? She doesn't normally go into the nesting boxes except to lay. It worries me especially because I work during the week and it makes me nervous that she has riled them up enough that they were panting. The coop is under a tree with plenty of shade so I know it wasn't from them being too warm. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!

First:
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Second: Chickens choose nest locations with an eye toward hatching baby chicks. Our wants' and desires play little or no part in a hen choosing one nest location over another. Likewise the preference of a hen's flock mates plays no part in the decision when or where to lay except that the strongest, most dominant, and determined hen will lay wherever she darn well pleases. We humans take none of a hen's "Druthers" into consideration. This is true whether we house the hen in a chicken tractor, coop, run, pen, chicken house or the great outdoors. A single hen will free-range over an area of 40 acres or so if she is simply left to her own devices and is not fed "chicken" feed.
 

megfab7

Hatching
May 24, 2015
5
0
7
Cincinnati,OH
Thanks for the information. My question was more geared toward why is the hen bullying the other hen and is there something that can be done about it. Thanks.
 

mermaids

Songster
6 Years
Mar 29, 2015
117
18
111
Frederick County MD
Do you know what a broody hen is? Sounds like the one who was staying in the nest is broody. She wants to sit on eggs until they hatch, so she doesn't want anyone in the nest, to disturb her eggs! Pick her up and remove her from the nest to get her to snap out of it. There are a lot of threads on here talking about fixing broodies. The other hen laid outside because she had an egg to drop and that was the only place available to her. Always good to have a second nest box, even if you don't have that many hens
 

megfab7

Hatching
May 24, 2015
5
0
7
Cincinnati,OH
Thanks @mermaids! I guess I should have been more clear. There are 2 nesting boxes in my coop. The hen who was laying was in the nest box and the other hen was trying to climb on her. I removed the hen who climbing on her and she did lay in the nesting box. I've read about broody hens but she doesn't have any other signs other than just not wanting this hen in the nesting box. I'm just more worried about them getting stressed and overheated while I'm at work.
 

TXchickenchick

Chirping
May 7, 2015
277
41
93
Floresville, TX
Hi! First, it doesn't sound at all like your hen is broody, or crazy, or anything. :) Chickens are notorious for thinking "if she's laying in THAT nest it must be the good one!". It's seriously just what they do. I have had them argue and argue and even once had a hen lay on another hen's back. They will be fine and will hopefully, eventually, give up and use the other nest. Putting a couple of golf balls or fake eggs in both nests could help convince them both nests are really great. Good luck and try not to worry. Chickens are funny little animals with a mind of their own ! :)
 

mermaids

Songster
6 Years
Mar 29, 2015
117
18
111
Frederick County MD
OK I thought you meant the one hen was hogging the nest box all day not letting the one lay... after the clarification, what TXchickenchick said makes more sense.

My philosophy with most animal disagreements is, they have to figure it out themselves. They live with each other and speak each other's language, I don't and can't intervene every time. I'll only separate if one seems sick or will get bloody.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,288
20,128
907
Southeast Louisiana
Each chicken has its own personality. Do they ever! I often have three hens piled in one nesting box laying while the other two nests were empty. I’ve seen two hens in each of my three nests at the same time. Those didn’t mind sharing a nest. My nests always have a golf ball in them. I’ve seen an older hen grab a pullet by the head and pull her out of a nest so the older hen could lay there by herself with the other two nest empty. I had a hen that would stay on the nest for three hours laying her egg and would not let another hen in the nest with her. I raise mine for meat more than anything else so when one volunteers for the dining room table by her actions I generally oblige her so her genetics don’t get passed down in my flock, but otherwise I generally leave them alone and let them work it out. They generally do better if I don’t interfere.

I’m not sure why yours would be panting. That is how they help cool themselves off. When they are hot they will also sometimes flap their wings to remove the trapped air in their feathers and down. That trapped air insulated them and keeps heat in. That’s why they can take the cold o well. I don’t think it has been that warm in Ohio the last few days, especially in a coop in the shade as long as you have decent ventilation, but it sometimes takes them a bit to acclimate themselves to warmer weather. Did you have a heat wave?

Was it more of a yawn than panting? Do they do it away from the coop? Chickens will yawn, I’m not sure why, and it doesn’t usually mean anything is wrong. But if they do it a lot, you might look up gapeworm and see if that might be the cause. Mine have never had it but supposedly you can look down their throats and see red.

That panting is probably nothing to be worried about but any unusual behavior is worth checking out. The best thing you can do is to make sure they have plenty of clean water.
 

miranda HR

In the Brooder
Mar 4, 2017
6
1
15
I have a hen that keeps pulling the other hens out of the boxes and won't let them lay. Does that mean she is brody
 

MANNA-PRO

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