Remember how quiet my chickens were? Not anymore. They are currently making such a racket I heard it upstairs on the other side of the house. It’s mostly Lily, who sounds much more like a goose than a chicken. She does not bawk, she honks! We think she’s getting very close to laying, which may explain the agitation.
Hens are known for singing an “egg song” after they lay – sort of a “hey, look what I just did!” proclamation. Sometimes – in the case of Hope, for example, she will remain demure and quiet after laying, but Amelia will sing the egg song for her, announcing Hope’s great accomplishment. Lily has been singing the egg song and lurking around the nesting counter all morning.
I’ve left the golf balls in the nesting area to encourage Lily, who, at 28 weeks, will be the last of the four to begin laying. I believe she is very close, because in addition to her increased interest in the nesting area, she is doing what is called the “squat”. When you pet a mature hen, she will instinctively lower her body and slightly spread her wings. The purpose of this posture is to allow a rooster to have his way with the hen.
One rooster is sufficient for 8-10 hens – some say up to 20 hens, but interestingly, roosters do play favorites, and will repeatedly seek out a beloved hen. This can be tough on the hen, thus the market for hen “aprons” or “saddles”.
Since our four girls live a convent life, their feathers all remain intact. It also helps that they live in spacious quarters – hens will aggressively defeather one another when they are kept in too-close surroundings or denied adequate nutrition, light or freedom of movement. In other words, like all the other animals who live here, these hens have hit the lucky lifestyle jackpot!