2 Hens - 1 starting to lay her eggs on the coop floor instead of the nest box

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jcpawlak, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. jcpawlak

    jcpawlak Hatching

    Oct 3, 2013
    Northern Michigan
    Minor background....we got a coop and 2 hens (about 1 1/2 years old) from a couple who was moving and couldn't bring their chickens with them. So we transported everything to our property and set it up about 2 weeks ago. The transition went very smoothly and didn't even interrupt their egg-laying at all.

    2 of the last 3 days, one of the hens laid her egg on the floor immediately below the nesting box (while the other laid hers in the typical spot). There are 2 nesting boxes in the coop, but both hens generally have always used one of them (as was told to us by the previous owners and verified by us during the initial 10 days). We haven't changed any of the feeding habits, or bedding materials, or other key details from their prior life other than the physical location of the coop/run from their property to ours. The spot on the floor where she has laid the egg is basically just plywood, and doesn't even have a large amount of pine shavings (none gathered up from the rest of the floor to form any sort of nest either). The nesting boxes are in good shape, clean and nice amount of straw which they have formed into a nice nest.

    Has anyone else seen this occur, where a hen changes where she lays her egg out of the blue? Any ideas on how to get her back in the proper location? Put an obstacle on the floor, put a golf ball/fake egg in the nesting box? Thanks in advance for any stories/thoughts on this!
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging

    Feb 18, 2011
    Assuming the hen is OK, hasn't hurt a leg or something that would keep her from getting into the nesting box, I would guess that since both the hens still want to use the same nesting box, that probably they are now on the same laying schedule and the one that is laying in the nesting box is the dominant hen, or at least meaner when she is in the box. The second hen can't "hold it" long enough for the first hen to get out of the box so just lays the egg on the floor, even if there is another nesting box empty. I would try putting fake eggs / golf balls either in both nests, or put them in the one neither is using right now.
  3. chfite

    chfite Songster

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    Some of my hens lay in the pine shavings across the coop from the nesting boxes. I don't know why. Some lay in the nesting boxes. I just collect eggs there, too.

  4. sumi

    sumi Égalité

    Jun 28, 2011
    Tipperary, Ireland
    X2 Try the fake egg/golf ball in the box that's not in use and see if that helps?
  5. jcpawlak

    jcpawlak Hatching

    Oct 3, 2013
    Northern Michigan
    They are both moving around the outside run without issue, and jumping up on their roosts without problem, so I think physically they are both OK.

    Thank to all for the feedback. Just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something obvious! I'll try to "encourage" them, and maybe it is just a timing thing with the preferred space being "occupied" at the critical moment.
  6. hennygirls

    hennygirls Hatching

    Oct 30, 2013

    hello,I have 6 hens and started with 2 nesting boxes .
    I always seem to find one or two eggs on the floor too, usually always in the same spot sometimes cracked and sometimes ate out ,now there is a cat in the barn,and I'm starting to wonder if he goes in the boxes ,gets them out and eats them the shells are always there,I added an extra nesting box closer to the floor ,but they dont seem to want to use it,I also put golf balls in the boxes to get them started using them,it does work,and some days I only get 4-5 eggs (thats counting the ones on the floor) so someones not laying eggs everyday which I heard happens, so I have no solution just the same question ,how to get them all to use the boxes.I told my husband that maybe they are roosting yet and are too lazy to get off the roost to lay in the boxes so just drop them where they are sitting..lol
    .I'm going to have my Grandson put his deer camera in there to catch what is going on,that mite help solve the problem if its the cat,otherwise if its just the chickens and I cant make her go in the box, she'll just have to learn sooner or later.So thats all i can come up with at the moment for not using the nest boxes.
    Have a good day

    Ps. I did start with the boxes outside when it was warm out and they first started laying and then one of them was laying them underneath ,so maybe that chicken or chickens will never use the boxes I just dont know.
  7. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Maybe the one hen doesn't like the height of the nesting boxes. Mine start at just off the floor, and a second tier over top of them. I have always left a single golf ball in nests. Occasionally a new pullet will lay on the floor, but they get into the nest boxes eventually.

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