pullet behaviors ?


10 Years
Nov 10, 2009
West/Central IL
I'm not new to chickens , but have never taken an interest in their laying behaviors untill now . I have a breeding project going on and several breeds of pullets involved .

I have a CX that will interupt her feeding [ not much inspires those girls to leave the feeder when the amount of feed is rationed LOL ] and start singing what I knew instantly had to be the egg song . She will sit in the nest box for a half hour , then leave without laying an egg . One or two days later she lays . Normal behavior for a pullet in the learning stages ?

Also , in the other breeding pen , I've got an EE that for two days is often sitting in a box for 15 or 20 minutes , moves to another for quite awhile , then may wander around the yard checking the corners before returning to the boxes to " shop " again before joining the other pullets . No eggs . She was squatting for the cockerals last week but now avoids them . Normal first timer behavior or possible symptoms of a problem ?
Behaviors are influenced by so many things.

I believe the CX behavior is pretty normal for a newly laying pullet.

I have more questions about the EE. Did you recently move her from a group cage (where she was squatting for the boys) to a breeding pen with a single male she is not familiar with? If so, she is simply stressed and will resume laying when she is over it. If not, it Might be cause for watching her closely. Hard to say.
Thanks for your reply .
No , she's been in the same pen with 3 CX cockerals ; last month I culled the extra cockerals from that pen and more recently added some other pullets . Yesterday she was not engaging in any nest sitting and there was a brown egg in one box . Kinda hoping it came from another pullet LOL . The pen has pullets ranging from 7 to 5 months [ the EE approaching 6 ] and composed of 7 month old Speckled Sussex and GL Wyandottes , EEs , and 5 month old Ameraucanas . I'm hoping the little brown eggs coming on an irregular basis are from the 7 month olds . They were stressed out yesterday over me catching some to get some weights . [ The 2 largest cockerals are just two ounces shy of 17 pounds ; no wonder she started avoiding their romantic advances
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Could be the introduction of the other pullets. Pecking order has to be re-established.

Those 17lb boys
of yours are probably 3x her weight. (That would kill my mood too.
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She still appears quite healthy and quit nest shopping ; but no green eggs so either she's laying a tan egg or still getting ready .
Actually the little pullets seem unphased by the weight of the CX ; I think its more difficult for the the larger CX pullets to bear the extra weight . This boy has been on a restricted diet to keep him down to this size ; I'm really hoping to get some decent , dual purpose , blue/green egg laying birds off my CX with the EE and Ameraucana . I get my weights and take pics before feeding to get more accurate records and visuals . The Speckled Sussex pullet to his side is a few ounces under 5 lbs ; but the pullets are now on a creep feeder to allow free choice feed . The bowl in the background holds limestone and crushed eggshell ; I was surprized that the CX cockerals went crazy for it at first but then realized with their heavy frames must need it for bone developement
ETA : She finally made her choice of nest boxes . Her first egg pictured between a store bought Grade A Large and one of my other pullet's tan egg
She is probably avoiding the CornishX roosters because they hurt her (with the potential for serious) injury when they mount her.
Thank you for your concern , but I believe there is no reason for it . I've seen large fowl roos cover bantams with no problems , and none of these pullets shown any signs of harm . The big guys are too slow to run down a pullet and take her against her will as I've often seen roosters do ; this particular pullet was frequently coming to a cockeral and squatting but now seems less inclined to do so . I was a little concerned she might be showing early signs of being egg bound ; she did lay a bigger egg than the other first timers but appears fine .
Personally, I wouldn't be particularly concerned by any of the behaviors you've described. Mine go through all sorts of shenanigans before they lay, or while preparing to, or thinking about it, whatever.

As for the CX roo, I do think I'd check the sides of the hens under the wings for cuts now and then. Might be silly on my part. I wouldn't worry about the amount of weight on the hen' body (that's why they squat, I think, to hold the weight more easily) nearly as much as the weight on her skin.

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