Want to know what to look out for regarding chicken behavior before laying their first egg?
There are some behaviors that are pretty strong indicators that a hen is going to lay an egg soon. In this article, I will summarize what to look out for and how you can tell if you’ll find an egg in the nesting box soon!
How Does a Chicken Act Before Laying an Egg?
If you’re eagerly awaiting that first egg from one of your hens and you’re wondering what behavioral cues to pick up on, I can help;
I will start by saying that all hens are different. There are some behaviors and actions that will be unique to an individual hen, and different breeds have some different pre-laying rituals.
With that said though, there are also a few things that are very common among hens about to lay an egg.
In the days leading up to laying an egg, one of the most obvious signs is that you will likely notice their comb and wattle becoming a much brighter red.
They will also start squatting, and might fuss around in their nesting box. It’s almost like they are going through the motions and getting ready to lay an egg...which they are.
Hen’s will also start searching for somewhere to lay their eggs. As long as their nesting boxes are easy to get to, they will almost certainly decide that’s the best spot.
As I mentioned earlier, some breeds behave differently. Leghorns, for example, tend to spend a lot more time searching for a nesting area than other breeds.
Signs a Chicken Is Going to Lay an Egg
To summarize, here are the signs to look out for that a hen is going to lay an egg in the near future:
- Squatting, especially when you approach
- Standing still and opening their wings when you’re near
- Their wattle and comb is redder
- They are clucking and chatting more than usual
- They are searching for and building nesting areas
It’s worth noting that these behaviors are triggered by hormones associated with their last ovulation. It’s not something you can or should be trying to stimulate.
Do Chickens Make Noise When Laying Eggs
Chickens do make a noise just after laying an egg, yes. It’s called the “egg song”.
I wrote about it in more detail in this post, why do chickens squawk after laying an egg?
Hens make a lot of noise after laying an egg for a few reasons. It’s an instinctual behavior that they would do in the wild to distract potential predators.
It’s also a way they communicate with roosters and other hens in their flock. And, it’s believed to just be a way they announce to the world they’ve laid an egg as, well, it’s something worth announcing!
If you want to hear the sweet sounds of the egg song, check out this video:
How to Help a Hen Ready to Lay an Egg
If you have pullets or point-of-lay hens nearing a time when they’ll start laying, there are some things you should do to ensure they have everything they need.
This means having enough nesting boxes. It’s also a good idea to place them in different areas with different light exposure. This is because some hens prefer a dark enclosure, while some prefer a little light.
Related content - how many nesting boxes do you need per hen?
If you can place some boxes up higher, this is also worth testing. Just make sure they have easy access and the box, it’s an adequate size for your bird, and has some litter/nesting materials in.
Failure to put nesting materials in a box is one of the main reasons why hens start off floor laying. Obviously this is a habit you don’t want to start with, so preparation is the key.
In Summary - Chicken Behavior Before Laying First Egg
Now you know the signs to look out for that your pullet/hen is getting ready to lay their first egg.
It’s one of the most exciting and wonderful experiences as a backyard flock owner. Just don’t be disappointed when their first egg is a small one!
There are lots of reasons why chickens lay small eggs when they start laying. It takes time to get up to regular size - it’s not easy producing large eggs, you know!