The Dumb One

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by wookiee, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. wookiee

    wookiee Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 31, 2008
    My pullets have started laying now. I have four actively laying and they go perfectly into the nest boxes like old pros.

    Then there's Vicky. I came in two night ago and she looked ill. She was by herself on the roost with her head sunk into her body. The rest of the pullets were scratching around my feet, looking for the table scraps I always carry. I offered Vicky some pellets and some cabbage and she refused to eat. Concerned, I picked her up and put her on the ground to see if she would "wake up". She drank some water and then stood there while everyone else was busy scrounging for food. Very concerned, I picked her up and was about to flip her over to check out her vent when she dropped an egg. Her first egg, just fell right out and fell the three feet to the ground. Luckily it didn't break.

    Five minutes later, she was totally fine, eating, preening acting normal. I chalked it up to her being a new layer.

    This morning I open the coop and she stands at the door and drops another egg. Right into some poop. No warning signs, no "nesting" behavior. Just pops out.

    Will she ever get with the program and stop littering eggs behind her? Will she learn to use a nest box? Is it common for pullets to take a bit of time to "read the signs" and know when they're going to lay? I would have more faith if she would at least show signs she's about to drop an egg.

    This is my first year with chickens, obviously. Thanks in advance!
  2. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

    May 11, 2008
    Howell Michigan
    I bought a couple of hens that were floor nesters. One switched to the nest box right away, the other never has. So I guess the best answer to your question is that some will and some won't.
  3. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    I agree with Sam (er, Opa). This laying experience is new to them. But, they can also "unlearn" nesting behavior.

    I've had a hen that was always waiting impatiently at the pop door to get outdoors in the morning. During the Winter, they at least have to wait until it is light outside. She started to lose her egg right at the door just like your Vicky. She was months into her laying cycle.

    I put new pullets in the nest repeatedly about the time I'm expecting them to start laying. If you can handle Vicky without causing a panic, and it sounds like you can, introduce her to the nest. She may never have even been in one before. Hopefully, the instincts will "kick in" when she learns what a wonderful place it is [​IMG].

  4. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    The way described that is classically funny!!!! I also have a floor layer. She uses the same spot, but no nest. Chickens are an odd bunch aren't they?
  5. Red

    Red Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2007
    We had an ex-battery hen who didn't understand what the nest box was for and would just lay wherever she was, although she did spend time scratching a nice little place for her to lay...then we had another hen who went through a period of refusing to lay in the box, but she learned when we put rubber eggs in there [​IMG]
  6. wookiee

    wookiee Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 31, 2008
    Thanks everyone!

    I went out this morning and took the dumb one and put her in a nest. She's used to being handled so it was not traumatic for her. She looked around and then jumped out and I figured nothing sunk in.

    I went out later in the morning and she was in the nest! She's been in there for over 30 minutes! I even collected another egg out from under her (from one of my smart ones). I am hoping she'll finish laying in the nest!

    Yay for chickens that learn!!

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