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How does a chicken move her eggs?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

We just got our first real chicken coop...made of old barnwood with a metal roof, 5 ft. tall with one door to go inside to collect/clean and a little door on the other side for the chickens to come in and out of...we have 3 laying hens and just bought another one this past weekend...and one easter egger rooster who I'm totally in love with!!  The coop has nine nesting boxes...3 x 4 levels.  The other day I saw two eggs in one of the upper level boxes and after the hens going in and out for a while I found those two eggs MOVED from their original box to a box 2 levels lower and it was joined by a 3rd egg.

This has happened twice now before I've had a chance to collect the eggs.  I'm assuming they want the new girl to stay away from their eggs...so they're moving them...how????  It seems so odd because they are certainly not graceful getting from one level to the other so I can't believe they could move eggs without breaking them.

Thanks for your help!!  It's driving me crazy and my family thinks I am!!tongue

post #2 of 6

My hen Esther steals eggs when she is broody by tucking them under her wing and holding it against her body. I don't know if that is a normal thing to do....or if this is something uniquely her but I was just laughing the first time I figured it out.  I was taking the eggs she was setting on, and was trying ot figure out where the other egg was. I noticed her wing looked a little off so i went to check her wing and an egg slid out from under it. Little bugger was determined to keep at least one egg lol

Since then I have seen her do it again, by manuevering the egg with her beak and body under the wing then she will take it to her spot and drop it.  We watched her do it 4 times in a row. Sneaky Sneaky Sneaky!

Lissa
The Official Lady-in-Waiting to the Royals of Cluckingham Palace (or so I have been informed)
**2 EE, 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Black Austalorps, and 1 Plymouth Rock**
Reply
Lissa
The Official Lady-in-Waiting to the Royals of Cluckingham Palace (or so I have been informed)
**2 EE, 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Black Austalorps, and 1 Plymouth Rock**
Reply
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

That sounds about right I bet...I think that's the only way it can be done but that just cracks me up considering how un-graceful they are at moving from one level to the other.  Now that's talent!!  I think it's my buff orps that are doing it or my Plymouth Rock (we must have the same tastes in chicken breeds) and so far none of them seem to be broody but they aren't quite a year old yet either and are still laying throughout the winter...here in Texas which isn't too much of a winter I guess. 

I'm still quite new at all of this but I thought this was rather interesting.  My newest hen is a RIR and is so pretty and sweet and they are just picking on her like crazy:(

The others went through it too so I know it's normal to establish the pecking order but it's so hard to see them pick on her.  Thanks for the info...now I know I'm not crazy (as far as the egg moving around is concerned!).

Another question...do all hens go broody at some point?  How long do they have to lay on the eggs to incubate them and can they do it in cold/winter weather?  My new RIR slept outside alone the first two nights because we couldn't catch her in time to put her in the coop so we've confined her to the coop for a few days now...letting her out for a while in the pen where the coop is located. 

Any idea when it is safe to let her free range around the yard all day like the others do and still have her come back to the coop at night?  I don't want to take the chance that she'll stay out in our "extreme cold" the next few nights and I'm not sure if she'll come back to the coop...any advice?

post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldoggergal 

Another question...do all hens go broody at some point?  How long do they have to lay on the eggs to incubate them and can they do it in cold/winter weather?  My new RIR slept outside alone the first two nights because we couldn't catch her in time to put her in the coop so we've confined her to the coop for a few days now...letting her out for a while in the pen where the coop is located. 

Any idea when it is safe to let her free range around the yard all day like the others do and still have her come back to the coop at night?  I don't want to take the chance that she'll stay out in our "extreme cold" the next few nights and I'm not sure if she'll come back to the coop...any advice?


Not all hens wil go broody...I am really really lucky cos I have had 2 hens go broody, but only 1 was determined to set. Esther is my EE and is a wonderful girl smile Great momma too! I don't know much about the eggs tbh... we don't have roosters here and we slipped day-olds under her so she could be a mom. I know they can do it in cold and bad weather, but it might not be the best time to do that...I am sure someone with more knowledge than I could answer that. I think its 24 days but again, not positive and someone who knows can give you correct info.

My birds, when I moved them outside from the garage brooder, I kept locked up in the coop for 2 weeks so they would know that this was "HOME". They put themselves to bed every night at dusk after they were let out and I have never had any issues...Esther and Mercedes taught the babies to go HOME at night so I didnt have to do anything in that regard. Now, my birds are not free range, they can't be sadly so not sure if that same theory holds for free ranging as well. My girls have a large run and a good sized coop, all enclosed in the back garden. Too many hawks and coons here for me to chance them free ranging...besides my neighbours would kill me lol


Edited by Amethyste - 1/7/10 at 12:50pm
Lissa
The Official Lady-in-Waiting to the Royals of Cluckingham Palace (or so I have been informed)
**2 EE, 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Black Austalorps, and 1 Plymouth Rock**
Reply
Lissa
The Official Lady-in-Waiting to the Royals of Cluckingham Palace (or so I have been informed)
**2 EE, 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Black Austalorps, and 1 Plymouth Rock**
Reply
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the info:D.  We have our EE rooster so I would hope one of my four will go broody at some point...that would be fun to watch.  I know we are chancing it with the free ranging but we have lots of woody areas surrounding our house/yard (several acres total) and the rooster, Star, gives them plenty of warning when he sees a hawk and they run for cover!  Luckily we don't have any stray dogs and I don't see the coons during the days but they do get locked up at night for sure.  We also have a pair of guineas who think they are chickens and act like roosters...I call them my little "henchmen/woman" because they guard the hens like Star does. 

I would love to get an EE hen since Star is such a wonderful, sweet and gentle rooster.  We got rid of our RIR and White Leghorn roosters because they grew up (from 3 day old chicks) to be quite mean and aggressive towards US!  Star is total opposite so he got to stay and have all the hens to himself.  I just hate bringing in a new girl at any point in time because of the "initiation period" they have to go through...such is life, I guess-lol.

post #6 of 6

Wow, I have s setting hen with 13 eggs. Supposed to hatch today. Got back from a week long vacation yesterday. My hen and 11 eggs were missing! I thought they had hatched and she left the nest but there were no egg shells to be found. OK I will wait till dark and catch her going to roost. Time to gather eggs and found her in a different nest along with her eggs. How did this happen? There is no earthly way she could roll the eggs from one nest to another! The 2 eggs she left behind were rotten! I found another rotten egg laying on a board a week ago. The egg could have rolled off either side of the 1 by 4 board and would surely have busted but it seemed to be well placed so it would not roll off. That one had me wondering about how the egg got from point A to point B. I had to Google chickens moving eggs to satisfy my curiosity. Thanks for your explanation. Sure wish I could have caught her moving the eggs.

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