Is this normal behavior?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Ravie, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. Ravie

    Ravie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Greenfield, Indiana
    This is my first flock of chickens. I have 24 of them and they just started laying one week ago. They are 24.5 weeks old. Yesterday, I noticed that one of my low-ranking Easter Egger girls was lying in a depression she (I assume it was her) dug in the dirt. When I let the chickens out to free-range, she didn't get up to join them. That's never happened before, so I went in to check on her. As soon as I touched her, she hopped up and went outside to forage. Her behavior was normal until a few hours later when I found her lying in another depression outside. Again, I went to touch her and she hopped up and rejoined the flock to forage.

    Today I went out to feed and water the birds and found her in the next box. She calmly stared at me as I moved about around her collecting eggs. I touched her and she gave a startled yelp but did not get up. I touched her again and she didn't make any noise. I put both hands on her and shifted her in the box and she did nothing. The rooster was agitated, however, so I stopped bothering her. I fed the birds and she didn't appear interested in eating. As I was leaving, she stoop up a little in her box and appeared to be pushing or straining. Her eyes closed when she did this. I have no idea if she has any eggs beneath her. I didn't lift her.

    Is this a normal way to behave? I don't know if she is one of my laying hens. I have no idea which are laying and which aren't. I do know that for this week, I've been getting a green egg every 2 days. Today is the day I should get another green egg, but who knows?

    Edit: I should add that despite being a little bedraggled from being picked on by the other hens and the rooster, she seems to be in good health. This hen has clear eyes and good coloring. She seems to be a good weight. No discharge coming from anywhere.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2011
  2. linben

    linben Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Austin, TX
    I have two hens that do the same thing. She is not exactly broody because she will move and get out of the box, hole etc....I just let her be. I think one of them likes the coolness of the dirt "hole". I haven't had a true broody yet.
     
  3. happyhens44

    happyhens44 BroodyAddict

    Apr 25, 2010
    Northern WI
    Sounds like signs or broody.
     
  4. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    She's thinking about being broody. Like many females, she can't make up her mind just yet......
     
  5. Ravie

    Ravie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Greenfield, Indiana
    I hope she does decide to go broody. I have a lot to learn about her care though. This is good news.
     
  6. happyhens44

    happyhens44 BroodyAddict

    Apr 25, 2010
    Northern WI
    Ravie if make sure to keep track on how long shes on the nest. My broody sowly started showing signs of being broody for etc. First day of showing signs she was on the nest for 3 hours. Second day 5 hours, Third she diddent get off the nest at all, So I moved her to a pen, and now Shes on day 20 !!!! Hoping for pips and time now

    Anyways, Sound like shes going broody, Are you going to let her brood?
     
  7. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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  8. Ravie

    Ravie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 4, 2010
    Greenfield, Indiana
    Thanks guys for the helpful info and the link! I guess now is not the best time (for me!) to have a broody hen. While I'd love to have a bird which can sit her eggs, I don't know that this hen is actually doing that. Yesterday there were no eggs in that nesting box. I collect them 3-4 times a day so at best she's sitting on one little egg. I could put some of the other eggs under her, but I only have the one coop and no way to keep her away from the others. Also, it's very cold outside. I suspect babies couldn't survive and I don't want the kids in the house!
     
  9. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just thought I'd add that my hens all lie around in little hollowed out depressions in the dirt all the time on warm sunny days. They dust bathe and flap and scuffle about for a few minutes then they'll just lie there and rest for a few hours. None of them has ever showed the slightest sign of going broody.
     
  10. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Quote:It doesn't sound like she is for sure broody, anyway. Best to check several times during a day and night to be sure she is actually staying on the nest all the time before you give her eggs.

    I don't separate a broody, I just mark the eggs and check under her daily (they will steal eggs, and others will climb in with them and lay.) Pros and cons of doing it this way. The last one I separated during the hatch, and within 3 or 4 days the chicks were out in the coop and mama was going nuts. I'd have to do some reinforcing to keep everyone in my broody pen (inside my coop.) With the last one, once I saw that mama would defend them, and no hens were seriously attacking anyway, I just let them brow up in the flock.

    My last babies did fine and we were in a cold snap just after they hatched, with lows in the 20's and highs in the 40's or 50's. They were out from under mama all day at one week, just slept under her for warmth at night. She'd squat wherever they were to offer to warm them, and they'd ignore her. I realize our winters are hardly your winters, but just to let you know, they do fine in cooler temps, they don't need heat lamps or summer weather. (There is no heat in my coop and it is rather airy because of ouR hot summers.)
     

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