In March we got our first round of 4 baby chicks and I have been (impatiently) waiting for them to start laying (well 3 of them….. one ended up being a rooster).
It’s so exciting to think about the day you go out to the coop to discover an egg! But I had no clue what to expect from these ladies since I am a new chicken owner.
CHICKEN NEWBIE TIP: If you are new to backyard chickens please check out The Chicken Chicks blog. She is so knowledgeable, has great advice and is super funny! I love her. She also has a great post about the ever popular DE (Diatomaceous Earth) and why you should NEVER use it! It’s a must read.
Signs Your Chicken is About To Start Laying
About a month ago I walked up to our head hen (Chickaletta) and she quickly squatted in this funny little stance that I had never seen her do before.
Here’s a good video of the squat I found on Youtube:
At first I couldn’t figure out what was going on so I asked my chicken expert neighbor about it (aka Crazy Chicken Lady). She told me it was a sign of submission that they normally do for a rooster when they are ready to mate. And to also start looking for eggs!! Yea!!!
Another sign is that their combs start to get redder and larger (that will vary per breed).
It took about a week and a half before I found her first egg. (I almost stepped on it because it was in the middle of the run!) That morning I noticed the other hens acting funny and following her around. I think they were all confused about what was happening!
She has been laying for a few weeks now and still not doing it in the nesting boxes. So make sure you look around for them in the beginning.
But you also never know…. our second hen to start laying (Thelma) has laid all of her eggs in the nest box. Still waiting on Louise and our 3 younger bantams to lay an egg.
Tip: You can use these ceramic chicken eggs in the nesting boxes (or golf balls) to help encourage laying in the boxes.
Normal things that can happen when they first start laying (that could cause some concern):
- Their laying might be inconsistent for awhile (Chickaletta laid 5 days in a row and then skipped 4 days before she laid another one)
- Egg size can vary and change a bit over time as they grow
- Shells may be soft or irregular in shape (or completely missing)
- Eggs may have a double yolk or no yolk at all (the huge egg pictured above was the first egg (double yolk) from Thelma (Black Australorp) – her eggs since have been a normal size)
Give all of these things some time to work themselves out before you get concerned about it. Their bodies need time to figure this new egg laying thing out!
Tip: For soft shells you can provide some crushed oyster shells for them to eat as they need it.
Happy Egg Hunting!
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