How can I tell when my Chickens want to Lay an Egg??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by HenNewbie, Jun 30, 2010.

  1. HenNewbie

    HenNewbie Out Of The Brooder

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    May 3, 2009
    Dayton, Or
    I have 3 remaining Buff Orphington's. I of which has been broody for a least 5 wks. This being my first experience with chickens - I didn't know. I thought she would just work it out. Now I am being more aggressive in removing her from the nest a couple times a day .. tempting her with treats, but she is so tame she does not mind at all being handled. She is particularly intrigued if one of her 'sisters' is roaming free in eyesight from the nest box when I open the door, then she'll jump down from the nest box almost immediately. Usually, they are not free roaming. I am quite certain she is losing weight. And, I was disturbed today to notice that her comb is markedly pale.

    I could not bring myself to do the cold water bath and didn't really have the money for a wire cage. So, I have opted today to closing the henhouse this afternoon after retrieving 2 eggs.

    Tomorrow, if I remove her earlier and close the door, do/will the chickens demonstrate a behaviour I can learn to know means they wish to lay an egg? So I will know to go out and let them in.
     
  2. OaklandChickens

    OaklandChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 2, 2009
    we played that game for weeks with a broody hen - kicking them all out of the coop and run, and just letting one of the non-broodies in when she needed to pop out an egg. It was pretty easy to tell - they started hanging out right by the door of the run and looking mildly agitated. I think they have a while before it gets dire, but we did need to be around so we could check at least once an hour or so for tell-tale behavior. So if you're around and can check up them often I bet you'll have no trouble telling. One of ours does some pre-laying cackling sometimes too, but not always. (we are maxed out at three hens and aren't allowed to have roosters, so getting some fertile eggs for her isn't an option, even though it sure sounds fun!)

    Our broody one never broke on her own though (after 7+ weeks!! and she was a wreck) - we had to fashion a little prison for her and keep her in it for a few days before she stopped. Is there someone you could just borrow a dog crate from? I made one out of a wire basket thing I found in the shed, plus chicken wire and duct tape. It's not lovely, and anything but a chicken could easily get out of it, but it works. 'Course it's not going to keep any predators OUT, so she has to come in the house at night. I keep it off the ground with bricks or chairs or something. The longest it's taken to break ours is 4 days and nights, but I've heard of up to a week.

    The cold-water thing has some pretty strong opponents here in the BYC forum - I tried doing it just a little, just her feet and tummy, but it did nothing but make her mad for a few seconds, and it felt too mean!

    Good luck!
     
  3. HenNewbie

    HenNewbie Out Of The Brooder

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    39
    May 3, 2009
    Dayton, Or
    I am lucky enough to have my girls in their run and coop outside my kitchen window, so I can readily see them throughout the day. However, I currently have difficulty ambulating out to them any more than I absolutely have to.

    And if I hear you correctly I should maybe listen for the girls (cuz they sure do vocalize - although I did not realize it might be due to the need to lay an egg). Usually the most noise comes when two girls are in the nest and the third is out in the run making all kinds of noise. I just assumed she was announcing the egg productivity of the others.....?? I don't know.

    I can also watch to see if any of the girls are ?? I don't know ..?? standing on the ladder to the coop??

    My brooding lady found her way back into the nest even though I closed the door earlier today.

    The Playhouse coop my hubby built is up off the ground by 30" or so and also has a big door inside the run which folds down from the top of the hen house to allow maximum ventilation during warm weather while still maintaining a safe environment for the girls. While I had closed the door to the hen house, she managed to navigate her way up into the coop through the ventilation doorway which is wide open, but quite high.

    Surprising how driven she is. AND there are no eggs in there! Needless to say that is now closed as well.

    Thank you for your thoughts.
     

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