Just some questions regarding chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Janrhy, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. Janrhy

    Janrhy In the Brooder

    Mar 11, 2009
    Hello, I am new to having chickens. We got them as peeps (approx 3 days old) the end of October. We still have yet to see an egg, but assuming by all the posts I have read, it should be any day. What do you all think?

    I have a few questions and am hoping for some answers, this will probably be easy for most of you to answer since alot of you are alot more experienced.

    1 - We have 16 chickens total, 1 rooster (all RIR's). We let them free range all day long, then lock them up when they go in the coop at night. Since we have started this routine, approx a month to a month and a half ago, I have noticed that 10 of them are always out roaming and there are 6 that never leave the coop. I was wondering if there is any rhyme or reason to why this is.

    2 - I have heard that the rooster usually picks a few favorite hens to mate with, but it seems our (King as we call him), doesn't care who he is with, as long as she sits still long enough. Is this normal? I also notice he gets at them when they are out roaming, so maybe he has 9 hens that he prefers (since 6 of them are always inside).

    3 - Along with #2 above, when he (I am not sure how to put it) "fertilizes" a hen, does it only take a second, or is he still learning? It seems when he gets on one, it is over just as fast as it started. Maybe he needs a bit more practice???

    4 - I think this is my last question... Some of my hens are missing their nails (claws). I thought it may have happened through the winter (frostbite), but we have been told that since they sit on their feet, it shouldnt have been an issue. I also noticed that some of the ones that never leave the coop have these nails missing. Maybe they can't feel right to scratch in the outside? I have a picture of this if anyone wants to see.

    So, any and all information is helpful, and I hope it was okay I posted all my questions in one forum.

    Thanks so much,

  2. estpr13

    estpr13 Songster

    May 18, 2008
    Lexington, Ky
    I just don't know but can put up some possibilities in reverse order.

    #4 sometimes chicks peck at other chicks toes. could they have been eaten? Or this could be genetic. I don't know.

    #3 Yes, short and brutal.

    #2 Your flock is about 5 months old so the hens probably will not be laying for another 4 to 5 weeks from now and the roo is probably only mating with the hens with red combs who are showing sexual maturity.

    #1 Don't know.

    Option 1: Are they trying to lay eggs but don't know how? When my hens come of egg laying age they look and act constipated and are confused as to what is going on. around that time they tend to want to hide because they know something is "wrong" or "different" about them.

    Option 2: Is there something outside which might have scared them?... hawk, rooster, dog, bossy hen.

    Option 3: Is there something inside which they find comforting? or tasty. Mice? food, water shade, warmth?

    Option 4: Is it always the same 6 hens all the time or do different hens switch off at different times?

    Sorry I'm not very helpful. Just some things to look for and consider.
  3. Janrhy

    Janrhy In the Brooder

    Mar 11, 2009
    Thanks, you were helpful...

    I am thinking it could be genetic (the toes) and it seems these are always the same ones staying inside. We do have dogs, locked up and actually the dogs don't even bother the chickens, sometimes the chickens will try to eat out the dogs dish with the dogs. Not so smart considering they are half lab and half rottweiler.

    I am not sure if they are trying to lay eggs yet, but I did notice a few weeks back (and haven't noticed it since) but on one of the first warmer days of the year, I noticed that the ones (all 6) inside the coop were digging down in the woodchips laying on their sides and acting all weird (almost panting), but like I said I haven't noticed it since. I thought this was a sure tail sign of eggs, but it has been weeks and no eggs.

    There isn't anything comforting I would say in the coop as my husband has built it off the ground and the only way in is thru the chicken door and the door for us to access, which is all 2 ft off the ground.

    And, for some reason my chickens don't get in the nesting boxes and they won't leave the hay in it. We have a row of 6 boxes one on top of the other (so there iare 12) and the top boxes don't have a lid or roof on it, (my hubby is out of town working so he got behind on projects) but regardless, they don't ever get inside. I do plan on buying so plastic eggs because I have read that it helps to put them in the nest to get them in there.

    Thanks again for your help, this chicken business is all a learning process.... Oh and one more dumb question...

    Why does a rooster crow? I mean what makes them crow, and why is it all day long and not just in the morning, like I always thought it would be? LOL.....
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:What you noticed the hens doing in the shavings is dustbathing, one of a chicken's favorite pasttimes, next to eating. Mine have five or six different dust bath holes around the property and visit them daily.

    A rooster crows as to declare his territory, to call the hens to him and sometimes just because he feels like it.

    The chicken mating process takes literally five seconds.
  5. Janrhy

    Janrhy In the Brooder

    Mar 11, 2009
    Wow, thanks. I didn't realize what a rookie I was. It all makes perfect sense!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by