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I have 21 week old chickens. Are there any signs I should look for that will tell me they are getting ready to lay
 

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The hens will squat when you come close, their combs will redden, and they will walk back and forth in and out of the coop or nesting boxes and back like as if she knows something will be happening soon. She may even sit in a nesting box but not lay. If you free range you may not notice the pacing or the may just simply find a hiding spot to lay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Apyl said:
The hens will squat when you come close, their combs will redden, and they will walk back and forth in and out of the coop or nesting boxes and back like as if she knows something will be happening soon. She may even sit in a nesting box but not lay. If you free range you may not notice the pacing or the may just simply find a hiding spot to lay.
Thanks. I do free range. Are you saying they will lay somewhere on the property and not in the nest boxes?? I sure hope not.
 

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We have a fake well built on top of our well pump in our side yard. I had told my husband we had a hen laying somewhere on the property because she would sing an egg song but there was nothing in the nesting boxes. One day he was cleaning up and happened to look inside the well and found over a dozen eggs! Since he took them out though she has started laying in the coop. Thankfully!
 

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Thanks. I do free range. Are you saying they will lay somewhere on the property and not in the nest boxes?? I sure hope not.
Yes, instincts tell the chickens to lay somewhere safe. Which when free ranging is somewhere hidden, and believe me they hide good! Some people put fake eggs in their nest boxes to encourage hens to lay in the boxes. I've never done that. When I know a hen is laying , mainly because I hear her doing the egg song I pen her up so she has access to the coop and she figures out to lay inside. I only usually have to do this a few days , it seems once they lay in the box once they continue to go back. Now I do have a couple stubborn Lakenvelders that absolutely refuse to lay in the coop unless penned , the problem is they are very flighty so fly out . I just let them lay where ever, since they both are heading to freezer camp in a few weeks.
 

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If you don't catch their egg song and some of them that lay out won't sing it until they are away from their nest and some not at all, you can watch the rooster if you have one. They like to mate them right after they lay and usually won't mate a bird that isn't in lay unless it's a young roo that hasn't earned his spurs yet.
 

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None of my girls do the egg song, and I have watched from close by and from a distance, for them to come out of the nest buckets, to see if they do it. Nada. The first week I started my girls free-ranging, the blue egg production stopped, I looked for and found the outside nest, emptied it and cleared some of the gushy growth from around it, now the blue eggs are getting laid in the nesting buckets again, daily.
 

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Oh yeah, and what Apyl said, right on, although my Ameraucana never have squatted for me, the Australorps and the Amber-whites do. The combs wattles and earlobes are the dead giveaway though.
 

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1 thing I learned is the 1st few eggs will not be in the nesting boxes. We had some RIR's. We got the nesting boxes all readied and the chicken dumped all the hay out of them and laid on the ground. After the 1st few 2-4 we finally started finding them in the boxes. They usually start laying 5-6 months so you got a few weeks.
 

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I've never seen any behavior like that...all our first ones make it to the nest. We find lovely little eggs no bigger than a quarter or a robin's egg at times. Never found a new pullet egg on the floor, though.

Maybe your flock was all young birds and didn't have older birds to show them the way to lay?
 

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I recently had a drop in eggs, I decided to let them free range all day before the coyotes come back. Our lake drops and then we see a bunch of wildlife come over.. Well I got 1 egg a couple days ago and decided to keep them up for most of the day. There was 9 that day! I knew they were laying somewhere else. They range so far when they have all day and sometimes I think they get lazy and lay in the woods. I here the song out in the woods and I have found a few eggs but not the mother load.
 

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I think my girls have a secret spot too! I have looked in the usual hide away spots but nothing yet. I keep looking for that mother load too!
 

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Ya the mother load will be interesting.. We did find a spatula, steak knife, razor knife, dog food bag.. Etc.. *****! Ugh
 

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My chickens are free ranging and Im pretty sure they're hiding some from me. Only one has laid in the nest. She left me a nice blue egg twice but that was over a week ago. One lays under the roost, one under the nest box, and one goes in the bantie coop and lays in the nest I put there. The ones that are laying squat if I rub their back and tug the neck feathers gently. They have redder comb and wattles and one cackles now. She use to be so quiet. I'm working on the nests to make them more inviting but I really wish they'd all lay in the bantam coop. If I have other layers I haven't caught them yet.
 
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