Young pullets caring for an egg?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by GimmeCake, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. GimmeCake

    GimmeCake Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 18 week old Wyandottes, 17 week old Dominiques, and 16 week old Plymouth Rocks (the Wyandottes may be 17 weeks and the Dominiques are 18, but I'm pretty sure it's the other way around). I though, since they will be laying soon, I wanted to teach them "egg laying 101". What I did, was take a nice, medium, brown egg from my fridge and set in inside their nest box with a little extra straw. I watched over them, so they get familiar with the concept of an egg without them breaking it, a habit I want them to know. But, after 20 minutes they started moving the straw to the sides of the egg, making sure no straw is on the egg, the egg is clean, and also they sat near it. Is this normal behavior? I wouldn't think they'd care for an egg when they haven't seen an egg before (with the exception of when they were first hatched, but they probably don't remember that). So why are they doing this, with no previous experience, no hen that does it before to teach them, at such a young age? PS: Some where sitting on the egg! It was only for a few seconds so I didn't think it was worthy enough to mention. And they never sat exactly on the egg. Just barley touching it on their bottoms. It didn't look like brooding though (definitely not at this age), but it looked like they were guarding it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes, this is normal. Pullets, and even older hens like caring for eggs. Even if they aren't broody, they always seem to be interested in eggs. When my hens lay eggs on the ground, they always make little nests for them, and repeatedly sit on them for a few seconds and then step away. Eventually, they lose interest, but really like eggs!
     
  3. Spikes Chooks

    Spikes Chooks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree, this is normal. When mine were round 18 weeks old, I opened up the nesting boxes (I had blocked them off to make sure they didn't choose to sleep there) and put dummy eggs in the straw. They were all very interested and spent some time gently moving the dummy egg and sitting round or on it. Not for long. I guess they must have very strong instincts about what an egg is and sitting on it. They all did it over the next 2-3 weeks before they started to lay. They still like to re-position the dummy eggs. One always pushes it out the way before she lays. Another will tuck it back under her, when she is laying. Go figure! They seem to have individual preferences about where the dummy egg should be when they lay their own.
     
  4. Veer67

    Veer67 Chillin' With My Peeps

    My hens do the same. Sometimes they find a private place like a stack of branches and make a nest they will stay in there for minutes until finally they lay their egg and leave, then the next day they come back and do the same thing. Occasionally they choose a new place once they get tired of the old nest. [​IMG]
     
  5. GimmeCake

    GimmeCake Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They just ate the egg [​IMG]. I need to get golf balls for them instead.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  6. Spikes Chooks

    Spikes Chooks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Owwwwwww.. Not good. Do get golf balls or plastic dummy eggs ASAP. They peck these and don't get any food - teaches them to not bother pecking. You really don't want them to become egg-eaters. Hard to break them of it, unless you build roll-away esting boxes where they can't access the eggs.
     
  7. GimmeCake

    GimmeCake Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wonder if Albersons has golf balls. I hope they have something like that. Is there something that's not golf balls that I could use in case they don't have them (they probably don't)?
     
  8. Spikes Chooks

    Spikes Chooks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You're looking for something around the size and colour of an egg, round or oval and HARD. Chickens learnt what is food and what is not by pecking - so this will teach them what what looks like an egg is not for eating. I guess table tennis balls would do also. Or you could find plastic dummy eggs online - that's what I did. Maybe the place you buy chicken food from will sell them? Good luck with your search!
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2013
  9. GimmeCake

    GimmeCake Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just picked up 3 used small white golf balls and put them in the nest. I don't plan on taking them out until a week or two after the first egg [​IMG].
     
  10. smallbluejellybean

    smallbluejellybean Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I gave my 3, 18 week old's an egg from the fridge too, but I blew out the insides. This was weeks ago and its still in one piece. They have taken care not to hurt it either. Funny behavior isn't it?
     

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