New from SA! Please help! Chickens laying eggs but not sitting?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jonty Truter, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. Jonty Truter

    Jonty Truter Hatching

    Aug 1, 2013
    Hi All!

    My name is Jonty, I am from South Africa and am busy with a contract up in the Transkei area in a city called Mthatha (Birthplace and home of Nelson Mandela) in the Eastern Cape. Ever since i have been up here, i have been interested in the chickens and beautiful roosters that are kept here by the local Xhosa speaking culture. I did my research and eventually managed to get 4 fully grown hens, 1 young hen, 2 leghorns (the white ones with red combs, i think they are leghorns) and a beautiful rooster (As seen in my profile picture). The locals here call the hens (as seen in my profile picture) Xhosa Chickens. What is there common name?

    These Xhosa chickens lived a very hardy life and roamed free in the bush, eating scraps and sleeping in trees/bushes etc. I got permission from the land owner to capture them and pay him R70-00 each for them. I now have them in my garden. They are loving it, as i feed them every morning and my nanny treats them by letting water run through the hosepipe onto the lawn for them to scratch for worms etc.

    They have a coop with grass and compartments, but for some or other reason they prefer to sleep on top of the coop. Two of the hens have recently started laying eggs. The problem is that it is not at all where i want them to lay. The one is laying at the foot of the coop and has layed 6 eggs thus far. The other is laying in the other corner of the garden, under a laying box that is elevated by bricks and she has layed 5 eggs thus far. There are still four of the hens that havent laid yet. The hens are not sitting on the eggs at night, as they go back to sleep at the top of there coop. I sometimes find them sitting for a short period in the morning before i leave for work. When i have been home during the day I have noticed that my rooster has been VERY active with the hens, so there is no problem regarding the fertility of the eggs.

    Are my hens broody? Should i relocate the eggs into the coop or should i just wait for nature to take its toll? As my objective is for the eggs to hatch

    I will appreciate any help :)


  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I'm not surprised they sleep and lay where they do; it's what they are used to. Honestly, since you know where they are laying, I'd just collect them there. You can try training them to lay in their nests with a fake egg in each nest. Many people use golf balls for this, dhickens aren't that particular.

    No, your hens aren't broody -- but one or more might GO broody at some point. If one does, she will stay in the spot she picks to hatch eggs 24/7, except for a short period once each day to eat, drink and poop. She will also "growl" at you when you get too close, and will flatten herself out on the nest (or the ground if you lift her out of the nest) so as to cover eggs. Usually they lay a "clutch" of eggs, maybe 7 to 10, one a day, then begin setting on them. If one goes broody without eggs, simply collect several and put them under her.

    Broodiness is caused by a hormone change. Some hens go broody once or twice ayear, some more often, and some never do. Here, the large hatcheries select for non-broody breeds to increase production, since they don't lay while they are setting or raising chicks. Leghorns, at least here, very rarely go broody. Some of our breeds are much more likely than others to go broody.

    Here is a good article on broodiness.
    1 person likes this.
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member 7 Years

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Welcome to BYC [​IMG] Good to see another South African! I had a look at your avatar pic and the hen on the far left looks like a Boschveld indigenous chicken to me. They're a cross between 3 indigenous African chickens: Venda, Matabele and Ovambo. I used to have some of them and they are great!

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