Pullet acting spazzy before laying her egg

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Amina, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. Amina

    Amina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 12, 2013
    Raleigh, NC
    I have 4 older hens that I got as adults, and I recently added 1 new pullet. The pullet just started laying a week ago. Her first two eggs were laid in the corner of the coop on the floor, so then I stuck something in that corner to block it off. The next two eggs were laid in the nest box like they should be, and then yesterday's egg was laid on the coop floor underneath the roost (eww). So this morning I went out to watch her and try to figure out why she is hit or miss on the nest box. And let me tell you, just watching her was exhausting.

    She runs into the coop, jumps up in the nest box, scratches the bedding once, turns around, jumps back down, does a lap around the coop, jumps back up in the nest box, and repeat ad nauseum. Occasionally she will go out into the run and do a lap there, and then go back into the coop and jump up in the nest box and then jump back down. Each time she'd go into the nest box, she'd only be there for 3 seconds tops. Does this sound like normal behavior for a pullet that just started laying? Is she just a spazz? Should I do anything else? Extra nest boxes maybe?

    Currently there are 2 nest boxes for 5 total hens, with pine shavings in the boxes. All the other hens are perfectly content with using the boxes and I have never observed this kind of nutty behavior with them. The older girls just go and sit in the boxes for a bit, and come out when they're done. So if there is something that the new pullet doesn't like about the boxes, I really don't know what it would be.
     
  2. trunkman

    trunkman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 26, 2009
    Rock Hill SC
    You say she just started laying a week or so ago so I think it is just a simple case of laying is totally new to her, she doesn't know how to react to those weird feelings she has every 25 hours. You could say it's almost like a teenage girl who was never told about periods and one day notices blood and thinks she's dying. That may be a bad example but makes sense to me. I think she will calm down in time, her anxiety will go away and start laying like all the other chickens. Hope this helped [​IMG]
    BTW, I have 26 pullets and 4 of them just started laying yesterday, you should have seen and heard the commotion, I thought a fox was attacking the flock!! LOL
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Are the older hens maybe keeping away her from the nests?

    She'll probably figure it out soon.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014
  4. KayTee

    KayTee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 21, 2012
    South West France
    I have a pullet who started laying about 2 weeks ago - the first egg shocked her so much she didn't know what to do, so she stayed on the nest and guarded it until I got home! She also spends a lot of time trying out the different nest boxes, and has been checking out various bizzare options (inside the two spare tyres I have stacked in a corner of the shed, behind the bag of wood shavings...) Her current preferred place is on the work surface next to the sink - even when there is no towel or other 'nesting' material there! If I make sure that the 'people' side of the shed is locked, she has no option but to use the nest boxes, and is gradually getting the hang of it. However, in the morning when she sees me open the door to go inside she still tries to fight her way in to jump up on the work surface!!

    Your girl will get the hang of it eventually, as I'm sure mine will - it's just a bit confusing for them at first!
     
  5. Amina

    Amina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 12, 2013
    Raleigh, NC
    I'm glad everyone thinks she'll figure it out! [​IMG] And aart, that's what I was wondering, whether the other hens were keeping her away from the nest. That's why I watched her for so long this morning. Nobody else bothered her during the whole time she was spazzing and doing laps around the coop and run, so I don't think that's it.

    The first day she laid her egg though, she was at first sharing the same nest box as my older EE. It was almost like the older EE was coaching her. "You should sit like this, and rearrange bedding like this." [​IMG] And then one of my BOs came up, stared at them both and made unhappy grunting noises, I guess complaining that they were taking too long and it was her turn to use the favorite nest box. Shortly after that, the pullet jumped down and she ended up laying the egg in the corner of the coop. So I don't know if she was feeling harassed that first day by the BO or not, but the BO didn't peck or have any threatening behavior.
     
  6. trunkman

    trunkman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 26, 2009
    Rock Hill SC
    I've got one of my pullets doing the same as yours as I'm typing this. In and out of the coop, looking high and low, looking at and around the tree, going back in the coop checking out the nesting boxes, under them, the roosts and back out again, she's been at it for over an hour now, very fun to watch. [​IMG]
     

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