The Submissive Squat – What Your Chicken Is Telling You

Have you ever wondered why pullets close to laying age will all of a sudden squat when you approach them? They're doing the Submissive Squat!

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Pixabay/JackieLou DL

When 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.

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.

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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