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The Submissive Squat - What Your Chicken Is Telling You

submissivesquat

Fresh Eggs DailyWhen a pullet nears laying age, anywhere after 18 weeks old or so, she will most likely start to squat down when you approach. She will bend her legs, crouch, and sort of flatten her wings and back. So what does that all mean in her chicken world?

Squatting is a sign of submission – so she is shifting into the mating position for a rooster. If you don't have a rooster in your flock, she will often see YOU as the rooster. 

roostermating

The squat also signals that she will soon begin to lay eggs. Many fans on my Facebook page report collecting their first egg within days of noticing their young hen squatting.

Squatting is also a defensive position against a predator attack. By lowering her body to the ground, she is protecting her vulnerable underbelly, making herself a smaller target and holding still to hope to avoid detection by a motion-savvy aerial predator.

Pullets lower in the pecking order will also often squat for a higher-ranking older hen to show submission. 

pulletsubmitting

Regardless of the reason for the squat, it comes in very handy when you need to catch or pick up your hens or catch them! 

So now you know. The next time you're outside with your flock, make it a point to notice among your young pullets who's squatting and who's not and you'll have a pretty good idea who your soon-to-be-layers are!

For more on what to expect when you're EGG-SPECTING, read HERE.

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Fresh Eggs Daily

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lisa steele
11/19/2013 12:43:57 PM

Same here Dave, we had chickens when I was a kid and I paid them little to no attention, they were just one more chore. I just find them so fascinating now as an adult!


nebraskadave
11/19/2013 8:26:17 AM

Lisa, I was around laying hens all my youth years and never knew to look for the squat but then again I wasn't too concerned about chickens in the barnyard. My chores were not feeding the chickens or gathering the eggs but milking the cows morning and night. Chickens were just something that scratched around in the yard and messed up the coop for me to clean out. However, I did like the eggs for breakfast and the fried chicken on Sundays. If I did raise chickens, you information would be definitely on my level of learning. ***** Have a great chicken day.