Our EEs gave us a pleasant surprise when they began to lay mid winter. They have been laying consistently too. I looked up welsummers (we have 2 welsummer girls) and read that they are "warm weather layers" and so didn't expect an egg from Rosie or Clare until spring.
Well.... With the snow recently I cleared the ground under our cedar tree so that they could be outside and get some fresh air (as they normally free range). All was well, they were happy and I could clean the coop. Well Rosie began to be vocal.
I had noticed a few days prior that she was starting to look very mature and figured "maybe she wants to lay an egg". Thing is there was a sea of snow between her and the coop. So I picked her up and took her to the coop.
She began investigating the nesting boxes right away. So I got pretty excited, my first welsummer egg (in the middle of winter!).
Well she didn't lay anything, even when I left her alone for ten minutes. So I finished cleaning up the coop and returned everyone to the coop to warm up before another "field trip" later.
So went and did other things and went back later to see if they wanted to go out again (which they did). I was expecting at least one of the EEs to have laid an egg (as I said they've been consistent between the 3 of them).
Rosie laid an egg alright.
But it was on the floor and cracked. So... I wasn't going to eat it! After lightly teasing Rosie girl I went inside and poached the egg and gave the gals the yoke (with the boys getting a bite each).
Didn't think anything much of it. Now just yesterday Rosie surprised us by laying another egg. Started very much like the first (except Rosie traveled to the coop herself, they are getting used to the snow). I was again cleaning the coop and watched her investigate the nesting boxs again.
She didn't lay anything while I was there. I finished cleaning the coop and returned the chickens to the coop. My sister came home from her babysitting and went to let the chickens out. What she found.... Concerns us greatly.
Rosie did indeed lay another egg. But again it was on the floor, but not just lightly cracked... Cracked enough that our lead rooster (and hopefully only him!) was able to get a small taste of the yoke....
It is apparent now that she is laying her eggs from the roost. (Which they often wait for the door to open).
I don't need to say the dangers of this weird laying habit.... I need some advice on what I can do to teach Rosie to lay in a nesting box!
This whole dilemma is kinda ironic, given that our first egg was laid in the nesting box. All our EEs laid their first egg in the nesting boxes and now... This!
P.S. Sorry if post is a bit long!