Winter Behavior, or something to be concerned about?

ChickieMumbo

Hatching
8 Years
Jul 20, 2011
4
0
7
We have very much enjoyed our 3 bantam Ameraucana hens - and their teeny eggs!
We've had a mild winter this year (2011-2012), and just recently, within the last week, its turned a lot colder - though still sunny (and, truthfully, for here, unseasonably warm. Last year at this time, we had a stretch of -30 weather for a couple of weeks...So, 24-35 degrees is AWESOME!)

Here's the issue:
- we're still getting nearly an egg a day from our 3 Sisters, but we noticed their activity has definitely decreased. One of the hens, it seems, has taken to laying around all the time (as far as we can tell) in the nesting box. This has led at least one other (maybe the other two) to lay their eggs at the entrance to the inside of their coop. Is their abnormal, should we be looking for symptoms of something? First off, our concern is that she is in the nesting box all day - making it more difficult for the others to lay, an also, if this laying around one lays, she may get overly curious about her egg, and perhaps be more disposed to pecking/eating (which we definitely wouldn't want)>

Anyone have any thoughts/advice/opinions?
Thanks in advance - we're newbies!
Laura
 

chicmom

Dances with Chickens
10 Years
Feb 24, 2009
8,696
266
316
Strasburg Ohio
If she's in the nest box all day, then she's probably broody. That means, she's ready to hatch some eggs herself and become a mama. If you don't have a rooster, the best thing to do is just take the eggs from her every day, and put her off the nest every time you see her. This is kind of a hormonal condition that a hen just has to get over. This behavior can last for weeks.
 

ChickieMumbo

Hatching
8 Years
Jul 20, 2011
4
0
7
Oh, thanks for the quick reply! yes, we are rooster free at the time being -
Another follow-up question: Can hens become broody at any time of year? We do have artificial light in the coop, so perhaps they don't really know its the dead of winter...Have wondered if broodiness is more common at any particular time/season.

Thanks!
 

chicmom

Dances with Chickens
10 Years
Feb 24, 2009
8,696
266
316
Strasburg Ohio
Oh yes, hens can go broody anytime of the year. I do think the artificial lighting can contribute towards making a hen broody. I have a broody little cochin bantam right now too......
 

j5house

In the Brooder
8 Years
Sep 17, 2011
18
0
22
We have 2 nesting boxes side by side for our 4 girls, they prefer the one but occasionaly(3 times lately) I have found an egg in the other box, so maybe a second box would help? You could put a golf ball in the second box to encourage the others to use it.
 

glucke

In the Brooder
8 Years
Dec 14, 2011
54
0
29
yes, hens can become broody at anytime of the year but it seems more common in spring.
 

Tallulah Chicklet

Chirping
8 Years
Dec 9, 2011
78
1
89
New Haven, CT
I have one doing that, too. Rosie was my last BO to start laying, and since then, totally bogarts the nest (i.e., the corner the hens have decided is the preferred nest), so everyone else smetimes lays in a little pile next to her! My biggest concern is that while everyone else is foraging, she is not eating. She also seems to have molted on her chest only (could she have pulled her feathers?), so is pretty bare and spikey underneath.
 
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