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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Readiness to Lay

Chicken Squat
Hazel does the Chicken Squat

How do you know when you're due for your first egg? Watch for a chicken squat!

We first noticed this behaviour in one of our girls about 2 or 3 weeks before we received our first egg, however it is very hard to photograph!

The hen will lift both wings slightly, squat down to the ground and may also lift her tail.

Squatting seems to be an indication of readiness to lay (that is that they are ready for a rooster's attention), as well as a sign of submission. This behaviour is less common if there is a rooster present or if it is a dominant hen.

You can see the photo larger on flickr, or have a look at this video.

Three out of our six hens are now squatting and we have had 4 eggs in 5 days. Usually the squat will happen when I bend down to pat them, however on some occassions just walking up to the coop has initiated a squat from one of them. They quite like a pat on the back and will shake themselved happily afterwards.

Another sign that your hen is nearing laying age is to keep an eye on their wattles and combs. Young chickens have quite small, pale combs which get larger and redder over time.


Gabriella said...

how long from when they start squatting tell you get your first egg?

Metanoia said...

It was about 3 weeks. You should notice their combs becoming larger and red as well. Even now they're all laying they still squat :)