Is my chicken trying to lay an egg?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by RileyB, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. RileyB

    RileyB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 7, 2012
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    I have eight hens and a female duck who are all at the laying age (I also have some roosters and a drake). The two older hens are 6 months old and the younger ones are 5 months old. One hen (I suspect it to be Mabel---a 6 month old BO) began laying about two weeks ago. She (whoever it is) lays her eggs at night and on the ground (which is a whole other issue) so I haven't "caught" who is actually laying yet. A few days ago I noticed there were two eggs and one had a slightly different texture, leading me to believe another hen started laying (this one was also on the ground, so I fear that since the first egg layer lays on the ground that all of my hens will begin to do the same instead of using the nest boxes). I assumed it was Blanche, the other 6 month old BO. However, last night or the night before I noticed Mimi (a 5 month old barnyard mix) laying in an odd position on the ground. I have never seen a hen lay an egg, but it looked exactly like I would expect. But after watching her for awhile she moved and there was no egg. I thought maybe she would lay one later on that night but the next morning there was no egg. This morning I found her in the same funny position on the ground (I've since looked up pictures and she looked the a hen laying an egg). Again, after she moved....no egg. The weirdest part was this: in addition to holding up her tail feathers and squatting on the ground, for a period of time she also had her legs lifted off of the ground (supporting herself by her body) sticking straight out in the air. Has anyone ever heard of such a thing? Do chickens ever stick out their legs like that? Also, if she's not laying eggs, could this behavior be indicative of a medical problem?
    Thanks!
     
  2. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 4, 2012
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    First, I'd put some fake eggs or golf balls in the laying boxes to encourage them to use 'em. Typical laying behavior includes squatting, and standing and turning around and general fidgitiness for new layers. Since you're finding eggs outside, try keeping them in the coop a little longer in the morning and see if they'll use the boxes. Do they investigate or otherwise get IN the boxes at all? It may just be a case of them needing to learn what the boxes are for :)
     
  3. RileyB

    RileyB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 7, 2012
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    Yes, they try to sleep in them sometimes, which I gently discourage so they won't go to the bathroom in them.

    My bigger concern at the moment was the weird position of Mimi's legs during her squatting. Has anyone ever seen that before?

    Thanks so much for the recommendation about golf balls!
     
  4. RileyB

    RileyB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nevermind, Mimi died. After I posted this I found her slumped in a corner not moving, mouth breathing, and appearing paralyzed (although she would move her neck and legs when I picked her up...but not her wings). I tried to feel for a bound egg to massage it, but I wasn't able to find it (although her symptoms appeared to match the binding of an egg). Now I am worried it was something contagious to my other birds (although at this point they are all acting completely nomal).
    Mimi was always the weaker of the group (when she was younger they pecked her incessantly to the point where she almost died and I had to separate her until they got much older). I'm wondering if this was just destined to happen to her at some point or another...
     

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