BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying › Things are getting curiouser and curiouser.....
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Things are getting curiouser and curiouser.....

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'm still a newbie (less than 1 year) and struggling with a lot of this chicken-keeping stuff.  My father paid for the materials and built the coop for us (we otherwise wouldn't have gotten chickens), and he wasn't really open to input from us about how he was going to build it, so he found plans he felt were at his skill level and just built it.

 

It's not a walk-in coop, it is up 3 feet on posts.  Their food and water are hanging underneath the coop so as to keep them dry, and that's where they dust bathe as well.  The back panel of the coop comes down so I can access the inside of the coop for cleanup, etc., and there are 2 egg boxes attached to one end.

 

I know (after consulting on BYC because they don't roost, but all huddle in the open door for sleeping) that we need 2 more ventilation holes up top, and a ladder up to the roost.  We are working on that in the next week or two, but I have to wait for my father (because he has the tools), and for all this rain to stop :-(

 

We lost a chicken 2 weeks ago, I think in hindsight she was egg-bound and I didn't know what to look for (I remember finding weird-shaped eggs for a week or two leading up to it, and there were no signs of trauma when we found her).

 

The thing I'm now befuddled by is this:

 

Last week, they suddenly stopped laying eggs in the egg boxes.  They have been laying them in the middle of the coop, against the far wall, of course, so I have to open the back panel and basically lay down across the pine chips to reach them.  So, this morning, I took the first egg and put it back into the egg box.  Well, whaddya know???  Those stinkers somehow got the egg OUT of the egg box and into the coop, as well as 2 more eggs across that far wall.

 

I have decided to sacrifice those 3 eggs and have placed them BACK in the egg boxes (2 in one, 1 in the other) for the night, as I don't have any fake eggs to put in there.  Does anyone have any ideas for me?  I am finding chicken keeping very difficult, I'm sure not in small part to not having a proper set-up for them inside the coop, but that was out of my control :-(  

 

I just don't get them.  I need an intervention :-(

post #2 of 8
Some times hens are just insane! Adding golf balls to the nest may help.

Hens like to lay in places they feel safe in, are the nest boxes dark, with soft bedding? Are the nests higher than the floor? Any drafts in the boxes or signs of predators? rats? snakes etc... Generally if there is already a egg there they think it's safe.

Homesteading on a 6 acre hobby farm in Southern Wisconsin. Raising a gifted child, A barnyard mix of chickens, Icelandic sheep, A sweet elderly pitty bull, a few barn cats, and a large garden.  

 

 

History Geek- Medieval reenactment, fiber arts and cooking, and natural architectural nut.

Reply

Homesteading on a 6 acre hobby farm in Southern Wisconsin. Raising a gifted child, A barnyard mix of chickens, Icelandic sheep, A sweet elderly pitty bull, a few barn cats, and a large garden.  

 

 

History Geek- Medieval reenactment, fiber arts and cooking, and natural architectural nut.

Reply
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

The whole coop is pretty dark (which was one of the things they told me to fix here on BYC), and I have a nice fluffy pile of pine chips in the boxes.  They sometimes sleep in there to my dismay, because they won't roost (hopefully a ladder and some ventilation will remedy that), and then I have to scoop poop out in the morning.  But that's been going on for a long time, and they never had a problem laying eggs in there before.

 

The only thing I can think of is that a few days last week, when it was really cold, we let them out in the backyard all day because the sun only hits their coop area for an hour or so, so we let them out so they could be in the sunshine on the other side of the yard.  But it was only a few days, and we don't really let them in the yard otherwise, since they have a decent sized run and we have small children who won't be able play in the backyard if there is poop everywhere.

 

Could this be some form of protest because they had the run of the backyard for a few days and now I won't let them out of the run?

post #4 of 8

I've never heard of a hen moving her egg out of an egg box... Are you sure you don't have egg predators in there? A snake will swallow the eggs whole, but raccoons, opossum, skunks, rats, etc will often try to carry or roll them off.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

I really can't imagine how a predator could get in there.  We have a 7-foot high run with landscape wire buried out under.  there are no holes dug out.  There is only a small lip (about 2-3 inches) between the egg box and the coop.  I'm about to put a baby monitor out there, but I don't have a spare.....so weird

post #6 of 8

Whatever is moving those eggs, that's a nanny cam I'd love to see! :)

post #7 of 8
My (silkie) hens always lay in their nesting boxes, but there was a month there where I kept finding the eggs in the middle of the coop. Sometimes they laid in the middle of the coop and sometimes they laid in the box and then pushed the eggs into the coop. Once I found an egg downstairs in the run and because they had already all laid that day (and I collect the eggs daily), they obviously hadn't laid the egg there, but somehow pushed it out of the nesting box, down the ladder and onto the run floor. How they did that without breaking it, I'll never know!

The only things I can suggest are (a) have you thoroughly checked the nesting box for cleanliness because hens won't lay in a box that has poop in it, and (b) have you checked for mites? They will not want to be in the box if there's mites biting them.

My hens had mites. Their coop and run was completely cleaned out and scrubbed and sprayed, and they all had a dusting. I put wood ash and diatomaceous earth in and they went back to laying in the boxes again.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Three Silkies View Post

My (silkie) hens always lay in their nesting boxes, but there was a month there where I kept finding the eggs in the middle of the coop. Sometimes they laid in the middle of the coop and sometimes they laid in the box and then pushed the eggs into the coop. Once I found an egg downstairs in the run and because they had already all laid that day (and I collect the eggs daily), they obviously hadn't laid the egg there, but somehow pushed it out of the nesting box, down the ladder and onto the run floor. How they did that without breaking it, I'll never know!

The only things I can suggest are (a) have you thoroughly checked the nesting box for cleanliness because hens won't lay in a box that has poop in it, and (b) have you checked for mites? They will not want to be in the box if there's mites biting them.

My hens had mites. Their coop and run was completely cleaned out and scrubbed and sprayed, and they all had a dusting. I put wood ash and diatomaceous earth in and they went back to laying in the boxes again.

I put DE in the whole coop a few weeks ago, but it's worth a try.  I check the egg boxes every morning for poop and scoop it out.  They don't always sleep in there, but sometimes.  Maybe I will try the DE and see if it helps.  Thanks!  And glad to know there were other chickens who performed this egg-moving feat! :-)

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying
BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying › Things are getting curiouser and curiouser.....