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Pullet having trouble laying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Ballerina Bird, Dec 26, 2014.

  1. Ballerina Bird

    Ballerina Bird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am pretty sure one of my pullets (24 weeks) is about to start laying. She is a heritage breed (pita pinta), so they start laying on the later side. She has been doing the egg squat for several days now. For the last three days, she has gone up and down the stairs into the coop (which is upstairs), scratched around in the pine shavings, and come back down, several times. This is new behavior -- until now, once they were in the run, they stayed downstairs all day and returned to the coop only to roost in the evening. (There is a nesting box in the coop, but I don't think she's going into that.) I've tried to approach and see what she is doing in the coop, but I can't often catch her. One time I managed to see, and she was basically scratching around and squatting a bit. She's going up and down so much, I'm worried that something might be preventing her from laying. Is it normal for them to seem to be trying repeatedly before they finally lay an egg when it's their first one ever?

    They have been kind of tetchy lately, and I'm not sure I could grab her to look at her vent without really upsetting her, not that I would know what I was looking at anyway.

    She has one sister, who doesn't seem quite there yet, and no other birds, so there's no one to show her what to do. On the first day that she was going up to the coop repeatedly, her sister followed her, but she has now stopped doing that and waits downstairs. I let them out to free range a little while ago, and the one at POL seems to be acting normally otherwise and was enjoying digging and foraging.

    Edited to add: I just went back out there while she was upstairs, and she was perched up on her roosting bar (it is still the middle of the day here and totally light out). She let me pet her, and I tried to look under her since she was above my eye level, but all I can see is fluffy butt. I let her have a minute without me bothering her up there, and then after that she jumped down on her own and came downstairs with her sister again.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2014
  2. ThePRfan

    ThePRfan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wouldn't say it's bad thing walking back in forth.Sounds unusual (sorta),but it seems like she is checking the nest boxes out.
    The squat soemtimes doesn't mean laying.What kinda of squat,(well what does it look like.)There is actually a 2 squats.most birds do this when you pick them up,but its at a young age,because it's for roosters.Basically the pullet is becoming sexually matured,and wants to be mated with.
    If your wanting to look at her vent,just throw soom food around,and while she's distracted catch her.You may have to add some force to squeeze a lil bit,and have her open up.
    Then just take a good look.If your noticing any sores,or swollen vent,that may just exaplain why she isn't laying.
    Other cases are,she's still waiting it out.
    The daylight often prevents how birds lay.
    There's also stress,and a million other things.

    But to me,your birds sound fine.Any odd attitude?
    Good luck!
    -ThePRfan
     
  3. Ballerina Bird

    Ballerina Bird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, I think it's the mating squat mostly -- if you hover your hand over her back, she sort of lowers herself and spreads her wings out a little for a moment. She's not behaving abnormally otherwise, as far as I can tell; maybe a little more vocal than usual, but they always talk to me when I come out to see them, so it's hard to tell. I did just put the nest box in a few days ago, when I started seeing this behavior, so you might be right that she is sort of looking it over.
     
  4. Wanex

    Wanex Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sometimes if hens dont like the nesting box or place, they will look around for a better place. Another quick thing, once i had an oegb hen and one day as i came back home i founded her in the floor dead, so i checked her out everywhere and her vent area was kinda purple so i came to the conclusiom that maybe an egg got stock inside her or something, just thought i would share that.
     
  5. ThePRfan

    ThePRfan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah,sounds like the sexual squat.
     
  6. Ballerina Bird

    Ballerina Bird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What would make the nesting box unappealing? It is in a sheltered area in the coop and has straw in it. I don't know how to change it to make it better.
     
  7. Wanex

    Wanex Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You dont have to change it she might like it sometime in the future when other hens start laying in that particular nest box. If she doesn't like it she can even start laying anywhere around. Also you might want to check in the place you let them free range, sometimes they like to hide their eggs when let out of their coop or cage.
     
  8. ThePRfan

    ThePRfan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The only thing that may not make it,not appealing is the birds actually.
    They needs lots of bedding in the nest,and it needs to be shadey/dark.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    My Coop
    She is practicing nesting. Pacing to and from the coop is very normal as they approach laying. Thereis no need to worry.

    As for not being in the nestbox, she will lay where she is comfortable. She will make it to the nestbox eventually.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. Ballerina Bird

    Ballerina Bird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you, everyone! This is really helpful and makes me feel a lot better. Really appreciate the support during what turns out to be a challenging time for me as well as the ladies! [​IMG]

    They have supervised free range only (airborne predators here), and my garden is quite small, so I don't think they could lay an egg without my seeing while they are out. And I've been assiduously checking their large enclosed run. I moved the box a little further back so that it's in more darkness than it was before. It is a huge relief to hear that the pacing is normal; thanks for that! I think she must want to lay up in the coop, since she keeps going up there?

    I hand fed them some apple a little while ago (no seeds!); the one who is close to laying pecked at it super aggressively -- she must be so crabby, poor thing.
     

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