Is she about to lay??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by callahanbullock, Aug 20, 2016.

  1. callahanbullock

    callahanbullock In the Brooder

    Mar 10, 2016
    Kirkland, WA
    Hi, everyone!

    I have a smalk flock of 3 hens and 1 rooster. They are all 16 weeks old. About an hour into their outside time, my red sexlink hen went over and laid down next to the waterer and started to dig herself a little spot in the grass. At first, I thought maybe this was just a dustbath. But she has been laying in it and digging a little at a time for about 30 minutes now. She has never one this before. She is in the shade, and the rooster seems to be keeping an eye on her, even digging more around her and grooming her. She hasn't gotten up yet. This is very unusual for her, and I am a first time chicken owner so I'm just a little concerned about everything that happens for the first time.

    Could this be her lating her first egg? Do I leave her alone or try to put her back in the coop/nest box? Is she sick? Any information would be incredible. :)

    Thank you!
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Don't know what your weather is like, but sounds as if she is looking for a cool place.
  3. callahanbullock

    callahanbullock In the Brooder

    Mar 10, 2016
    Kirkland, WA
    Its not too hot today, about 80 something compared to the last few 95 degree days. Still, it's a good thought!
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    It's possible......will never forget my young cockerel standing nearby when one of his pullets laid her first egg.
    ..or she could be digging a cool spot to lounge, like sourland suggested.

    What are your coop and nests like? Pics would help.
    Is she showing any other sign of point of lay?

    New layers can be quite goofy acting, they don't know what they are doing at first and can be confused and anxious, it can take up to a month or so before they get it all figured out. Putting some fake eggs or golf balls in the nest might help show them where to lay. They may scratch around in the nests for weeks before laying, spreading the bedding everywhere. They will scratch around a bit less in nest as they get used to the routine. Meanwhile, eggs everywhere, some of them can be rather funky looking, soft or thin shelled, huge double yolked eggs.

    Signs of onset of lay---I've found the pelvic points to be the most accurate.
    If you* touch their back they will hunker down on the ground, then shake their tail feathers when they get back up.
    * or the cockerel.
    This shows they are sexually mature and egg laying is close at hand.

    Combs and Wattles:
    Plump, shiny red - usually means laying.
    Shriveled, dryish looking and pale - usually means not laying.
    Tho I have found that the combs and wattles can look full and red one minute then pale back out the next due to exertion or excitement, can drive ya nuts when waiting for a pullet to lay!

    Dry, tight, and smaller - usually not laying.
    Moist, wide, and larger - usually laying

    Pelvic Points 2 bony points(pelvic bones) on either side of vent:
    Less than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means not laying.
    More than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means laying.

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