SLW looks terrible but she lays every day?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by RichnSteph, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. RichnSteph

    RichnSteph Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2014
    Adkins Texas
    Our little SLW has had a rough go of it this past year. We got her from the previous owner who noted that she was a battered hen by all the others in the flock. She was almost all skin and no feathers when we got her. Now months later after spending time in the house in a warm little brooder type coop and being let out by herself in her own run she has full feathers and looks much better. The only odd thing, other than the rooster jumping on her every chance he gets repeatedly, is that as bad as she looks and as timid as she is she is laying an egg every day. Each time I find her cuddled up in the nesting box with the egg under her and she is just radiating heat. She also gets plenty ticked off when I move her to get the egg. My concern is that she's laying and staying on the egg to avoid the rooster and as such isn't eating like I feel she should or getting out and exercising this the rest of the flock.

    Should I be concerned for her or just let her do her thing?
  2. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA
    You sure she just isn't broody? Sounds like a broody hen to me.
  3. RichnSteph

    RichnSteph Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2014
    Adkins Texas
    Well she hasn't pulled any feathers from her breast like I've read that they do, well no more feathers than she's already missing, and she doesn't seem to eat enough to be able to sit and still stay healthy. I mean when I pick her up her crop is half full at best and when I do see her go outside to eat she hits the feeder like she's starving, eating very quickly then getting water and sprinting back inside to the nest as soon as the rooster shows up to "check" on her. She's still timid and as far as we can tell at the bottom of the pecking order even beneath the duck if you can believe that. She just doesn't assert herself with the others at all and instead either hides or as soon as she has an egg she's sitting on it in the nest. If she's broody it'd be great but I hate to sacrifice one of the nesting boxes for a chicken to sit on one egg.
  4. mortie

    mortie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2014
    The Frozen Tundra
    Sounds broody to me, too. They don't always pluck their feathers. I had two go broody this fall and they didn't pluck their feathers.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Sounds broody to me too.
    Is she spending the nights on the nest too?

    You could put the rooster in another cage for a day or two to see if it changes the hens behavior.

    If she still acts broody you can gather more fresh eggs from the other hens for her to sit on.

    I haven't let the one broody I have had sit, but have a portable nest that I used in the pullet coop that I would try to use for a broody if I get one that I'll let sit.

  6. RichnSteph

    RichnSteph Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2014
    Adkins Texas
    She attempts to spend the nights in there also but I've been taking her out of the nest and putting her on the roost when I close everything up before I turn in.
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

    Nov 7, 2012
    It sounds like she's a social mis-fit. She could also be leaning towards being broody. It's possible that if you allow her to set some eggs, and she successfully hatches them, the broody hormones will kick in and she will be more aggressive in asserting herself to protect her chicks. Or, it could go the other way, and if she successfully hatches, she'll be too low in the pecking order to defend her chicks. You'll have to decide how much time you want to invest in her, and what you'll do with her chicks if she is able to hatch, but not defend them. Have you had a broody in your flock before? It would be interesting to see if your roo changes his attitude toward her if she becomes a Mama to his babies! If you did want to let her try to hatch chicks, I'd put her in an enclosure in the coop so the other flock mates can't harass her. Give her some dummy eggs, and don't give her the hatching eggs until she's stuck tight to the nest for several days and nights.

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