Squatting pullet?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by albodean, Dec 15, 2016.

  1. albodean

    albodean Chirping

    Sep 27, 2016
    Hi All,

    Yesterday two of my pullets were doing something I haven't seen before. They were walking a few steps squatting down, seeming like they were off balance, walking a few more steps then squatting down again.

    I have read that they squat when they are getting ready to lay (they aren't laying yet) but it also looked like they were a bit disorientated. Is this normal behaviour?


  2. N F C

    N F C phooey! Premium Member Project Manager

    Dec 12, 2013
    It does sound like maybe they are getting close to laying...how old are they? And are their combs and wattles getting redder?
  3. albodean

    albodean Chirping

    Sep 27, 2016

    They're about 27 weeks old, combs and wattles have been big and red for a while! The main reason it concerned me was because it looked like they were off balance while doing it
  4. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Squatting associated with laying hens and point-of-lay pullets occurs when they sense something hovering over them. If these pullets were off all by themselves with no rooster around and you weren't coming up behind them, then their squatting may not be associated with getting ready to lay.

    If these pullets were outdoors under an open sky, it's possible they caught a glimpse of a hawk and it scared them. Squatting is a reflex action to anything approaching from above or behind, and I've seen my own hens freeze in panic when they spot a hawk swooping down at them. It's occurred literally right in front of my eyes. Luckily, that time the hawk came up empty.

    If you walk up behind your pullet and just touch her back lightly and she squats, then you can expect the first egg in less than a week.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    If they are wobbling, not steady on their feet, and sitting down frequently, they may be ill.
    How often does this happen?
    Are they eating drinking and pooping ok?
    Are they of good weight, nice and meaty on the breast or is breast bone extremely pronounced?

    Knowing your climate/location might help too.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2016

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by