We got our first egg! Y’all I am over the moon to finally see some eggs on our farm. We have been watching the girls every day for the past few weeks as more signs showed they are close to laying. Have you ever wondered what to look for when chickens are close to laying? Let me share what I observed with our girls.
1. The first thing I noticed with Louise was her comb and wattle were changing. The comb is the fleshing part of the top of their head, the wattle is under the chin. The closer a chicken gets to laying, the larger and brighter these become. This is because of an increase in blood flow to those areas. The wattle and comb are not apparent when they are hatched but as they grow you will see these start to form. These are great indicators of the health of your chicken, if pale or drooped over you may have a chicken with anemia or dehydration. A healthy chicken should have a bright red comb and wattle, just know the shape and size can vary depending on the breed of chicken.
2. Changes in her appetite was the another thing I noticed, it was not a huge change but just enough to notice. She was a lot more interested in the treats and veggies the closer she got to laying.
3. The submissive squat was the next thing I noticed with Louise. One afternoon when I opened the door to let them all free range she went right into the squat. At first I thought something was wrong with her but then I remembered reading about this. This squat is a sign of submission to a rooster and since we don’t have a rooster on our farm this is done to us, when she does it I just reached down and give her a little scratch and she then goes on foraging. If your chickens start this it usually means they will start laying within a week.
4. Playing in their nesting boxes is another great sign. We placed ceramic eggs in their nesting boxes as soon as the girls were about 16 weeks old. This was done to show them where we wanted them to lay. The girls all spent time checking out the eggs and the nesting boxes. After their initial investigation the girls pretty much left the boxes alone but when we started seeing signs that the girls were back in there playing around we knew we were one step closer!
5. The last and most telling sign was the egg song. This is a very loud and obnoxious clucking that can last anywhere from 1-15 minutes. There are a lot of theories on why they do this but no matter the reason your chicken will be laying very very soon!
Seeing our first egg has made my heart so happy. I can’t wait for the rest of the girls to start laying. I hope you enjoyed learning about what to watch for as your chickens get close to laying. Check back for more farm updates and feel free to reach out if you have questions about our farm or want to see something particular on the blog!