What the heck are they doing? Confusion. . .

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Foxyrockie, Nov 8, 2016.

  1. Foxyrockie

    Foxyrockie Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm a newbie Chicken owner with only about a year of Chicken experience. After a rouge puppy attack I was left with one each male and female RIR chicks. I named them Ricky and Lucy and kept it moving. They're now about 24 weeks old.

    Problem: Ricky is mature and crowing.Lucy isn't pulling her weight around the joint, as I have yet to get an egg. Shes on thin ice with me. Lol. In the last couple days, I've seen Ricky "mounting" her, for lack of a better word. What in the world is going on? I assume that that's how Chicken's mate, so ok. But shouldn't she be able to lay eggs first? Did Ricky not get the notice that she's not "there yet"? I know it seems kinda silly to ask, but I'm just not familiar with this kind of Chicken behavior. Essentially, I'm asking if this behavior means Lucy is close to laying, or if it's more a reflection of Ricky being mature first.

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  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Males do not care if a female is mature and producing and tend to mature sooner than their same-aged female counterparts - they will mount regardless. When the females begin to be submissive to the mounting it is often an indication that they are nearing production age.
     
  3. Foxyrockie

    Foxyrockie Out Of The Brooder

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    Yea she's definitely not submissive. She pretty much walks off. I know the waiting game is all part of having chickens, but isn't 24 weeks kinda late? And really, it's just been that long since I've had them. I don't know how old they were when I bought them. At least a week or two.
     
  4. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    Hi

    Pullets reaching maturity at this time of year when the days are getting so much shorter, often take longer to start egg production and 24 weeks is about average for good summer conditions.

    Another problem you may encounter that can affect egg production is that she may become stressed by the constant amorous attentions of your cockerel. Young males are at the whim of their hormones and want to mate with anything, regardless of maturity or receptiveness, an awful lot of the time. They also have very little technique or manners, so it can be pretty rough on young pullets. It is therefore better to have several hens (the more the better) per cockerel to share the burden. 1 male to one female is not a good ratio, especially with a young male.You may find that she starts to hide in the coop or not come down off the roost and her back and neck becomes bare and even injured from his claws and beak damaging her feathers. A chicken apron can help to prevent too much physical damage but if she becomes stressed and depressed, that is more difficult to deal with. Stress can certainly reduce and/or stop egg production, so that is something to keep an eye on and it would be best to have a plan to either get more hens/pullets or pen the cockerel separate, if it becomes necessary.

    We all know the agony of waiting for that first egg..... but the amazement and joy of seeing it makes up for it all, I can assure you!

    I hope it happens sooner rather than later for you.

    Best wishes

    Barbara
     
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  5. Foxyrockie

    Foxyrockie Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the tip! Yea I really hated losing 4 of my babies and I'm pretty sure 3 of them were pullets. I did get more not too long ago but only 1 survived. I have serious misfortune when I comes to chickens. I've only noticed this behavior recently so I'll be sure to keep an eye on it. But chances are ill end up rehoming the Roo. I can have roosters, but the noise at 4 am drives me batty. I have not allowed the baby, she's about 2 months, to interact with the older ones. She's in a very large cage outdoors so they can all see each other but cannot touch. I havnt decided whether it would be good to allow them to mingle since she's significantly smaller than the other 2. Would it be better to wait til I rehome the roo before allowing the 2 females to interact? I know having such a limited number of Chickens is not recommended, but my efforts to fix it didn't pan out and I've decided to wait til spring to add more.
     
  6. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    I would leave things as they are for now as she may well get picked on and if the cockerel starts to become too much of a problem before you rehome him, perhaps you could swap him and the young pullet around so that he is in her cage and she is in the coop with Lucy. If the crowing is a problem, you could try covering any windows in the coop with black out material. The darker it is, the less likely he is to crow. You would need to put a night light in there for when they go to bed though, otherwise they might stop going in to roost if it's too dark to get up onto the perches. Another option may be a "No-Crow Collar" for him. I have no personal experience of them but something to research perhaps.
     
  7. FlyWheel

    FlyWheel Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    Actually, depending on the breed 24 weeks is about when pullets start maturing. Of my current batch of laying hens the first started at 23 weeks, the latest at about 26. But those were Easter Eggers. My Production Red didn't lay at all her first year but started the following spring, and even at 3 years she still doesn't lay during the winter months.
     
  8. Foxyrockie

    Foxyrockie Out Of The Brooder

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    Nothing at all her first YEAR?? OMG!
     
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    From the picture, Lucy looks like she should start laying any time. Nice red comb, she looks mature.

    cockerels will often mount pullets a bit before they start laying, but really it's usually not more than a few weeks.
     

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