2 hens, 2 nests, 1 brood?

Trent & Sue Stubblefield

In the Brooder
May 17, 2017
23
6
26
Venus, TX
My set up is as follows:
1 long-term coop
2 cat litter nests with ample extra roost space for the Roo and non-broody, non-laying hen
3 hens, 1 Roo.
So far that I can tell, I have 2 hens laying.
Both would lay their eggs in 1 of the boxes, then 1 of them would brood.
When we took some eggs from them, there are now eggs in the second nest being ignored, and in the first nest being brooded.
When we'd go outside to check on them, the 2 hens seemed to interchange who was brooding. Do I need to remove the 2nd nest so they'll lay all back in 1 again, or is the 2nd nest for infertile eggs? I don't know why they'd be separating them.
 

azygous

Enabler
12 Years
Dec 11, 2009
25,889
39,758
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Colorado Rockies
In order to protect the integrity of the incubating eggs, you would be wise to segregate that nest so only the brooding hen has access. This will also insure the safety and well being of the newly hatched chicks.

As you're discovering, hens are indiscriminate when it comes to laying eggs. They would usually rather lay their egg where they see other eggs. This runs the risk of breaking the incubating eggs as well as creating the undesirable element of a staggered hatch as other hens add to the clutch over the weeks.

A nest on the floor in a protected area is the safest way to go. I partition off a section of one of my coops and I fashioned a special broody nest in a corner on the floor. When the chicks hatched four weeks ago, the babies had no trouble getting in and out of their nest, and it is roomy enough to accommodate the broody and chicks that keep getting larger.
 

Trent & Sue Stubblefield

In the Brooder
May 17, 2017
23
6
26
Venus, TX
Not clear on what you mean by "eggs not being brooded". Wouldn't you be collecting these, not leaving them to accumulate?

We're away from home every weekend. They always have sufficient food and water, but no one to pick up the eggs. The last weekend we weren't home Thursday - Monday. Came home Tuesday to 3 eggs in the 2nd nest and the other 7 she was sitting on. Prior to this, the two hens would seem to switch off who was sitting on the eggs when we got out there.
 

azygous

Enabler
12 Years
Dec 11, 2009
25,889
39,758
1,182
Colorado Rockies
Here's what you need.

It's a nesting box with a slight angle to the floor so the egg rolls into a trap at the front after it's laid, protecting the eggs until you can get around to collecting them. It's a very simple construction with zero engineering and no extra space required. Even existing nest boxes could be easily altered to achieve this feature. Problem solved!
 

Trent & Sue Stubblefield

In the Brooder
May 17, 2017
23
6
26
Venus, TX
Here's what you need.

It's a nesting box with a slight angle to the floor so the egg rolls into a trap at the front after it's laid, protecting the eggs until you can get around to collecting them. It's a very simple construction with zero engineering and no extra space required. Even existing nest boxes could be easily altered to achieve this feature. Problem solved!

That's frigging amazing! How did I not think of that!!!
 

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