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In and out and in and out of nestbox - laying problems?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bird_brain_scientist, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. bird_brain_scientist

    bird_brain_scientist Out Of The Brooder

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    My four chickens (my first) are now about 7 months old and all are laying. I have a covered cat litter box in their run where they have all learned to lay their eggs. Three of them go in their and sit around until their egg is laid - usually takes half an hour. The fourth chicken, however, who is also the dominant one, goes in and out of the nextbox CONSTANTLY when she has to lay an egg -- steps out, turns around, goes in. She wil take little breaks to cry -- LOUD! Eventually the frequency of her in/out behaviour goes down, she settles down in her nest box, stops crying, and eventually, several hours later, she will have produced an egg and happily goes on with her life. It is the same story every day that she lays an egg.

    I guess it would be normal for chickens to have some variance in how easy/difficult it is to lay their eggs. I worry that there might be something wrong with her though, given how none of the other birds seem to go through that much angst. Any ideas?
     
  2. poseygrace

    poseygrace Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a Wyandotte and I think she has the same problem. I have noticed that her "egg opening" (I can't remember the scientific term, LOL) will be really visible and red, sort of "pushed out" a couple of hours before the egg is laid. Also, her eggs are really big and perfectly round. I think she just has a hard time "squeezing them out" for lack of a better term. I am going to keep a close eye on her to make sure she doesn't prolapse, but no problems so far.

    Maybe you can pick her up next time she does that and examine her? If it looks like an egg is "stuck," you'll know that's it. Otherwise, maybe since she's the lead hen, she is just inspecting the boxes to see what every one is up to? Maybe she is a "bean counter" and likes to know how production is going? [​IMG]
     
  3. Roosterfry

    Roosterfry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is a possibility she does not like where she has to lay her eggs. How many inches approximately does she have to step from the opening to the litter box to the ground? And where do you have the litter box in the coop and what's around it?
     
  4. bird_brain_scientist

    bird_brain_scientist Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 5, 2011
    She just squeezed out today's egg -- after her usual drama she made a groaning sound, kind of like a constipated human, and then the deed was done and she is back to her happy self! It is the first time I have witnessed the actual event. But I think that confirms she is up to more than bean counting [​IMG]

    Thanks for the suggestion, poseygrace, next time I hear her crying I will pick her up to see what is happening around her vent.

    Roosterfry, the next box is in the corner of the run with nothing else nearby it. She leaves the nestbox even once she is in it though and all the other chickens are happy. It's possible she doesn't like the nestbox itself I suppose. But I do keep it clean and they can all step right over or onto the lip (which rises about 5 inches off the ground).

    I wonder whether it might be related to her eggs getting bigger. At 7 months they are still pullet eggs but seem on the larger side, and are probably slowly getting bigger. I would have thought that would affect all of the chickens, though.
     
  5. Roosterfry

    Roosterfry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    5 inches is ok, just as long as they don't have to jump in and out. You can get alot of broken eggs that way... It is very possible that since she's a new laying hen and is laying big eggs that could be the issue. Hens like laying eggs in a dim lit area if you had a corner that backed up to ply wood or tarp that made make the nest seem more private the hens will like it better. When they are laying eggs they're trying to find a quite and private area as if she may decide to raise chicks there. And I would not mess with her or pick her up for a lil while after her episodes but depends on her temperament. If she's at all flighty and would become stressed if she was picked up I would leave her alone at least for a couple hours.
     
  6. bird_brain_scientist

    bird_brain_scientist Out Of The Brooder

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    Interesting idea! I can see how a secluded corner would make nesting there more appealing. I will give it a try. And I will let her decide whether she is ready to be picked up or not when it comes time. She does come running over when I come out even when she is having an episode - she likes being distracted by treats. Whether that will translate into a willingness to be inspected, we'll have to see. Thanks for the suggestions.
     
  7. Roosterfry

    Roosterfry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No problem that's what Back Yard Chickens is about. It is to do our best helping fellow chicken enthusiasts . [​IMG]
     

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