Ack, laying all over the place...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ChandaH, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. ChandaH

    ChandaH Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 11, 2010
    I just posted the other day about my nest boxes being too small so I reconfigured everything and now have much larger box spaces. A large shelf divided in two (about 18T x 18W x 11D, for 6 chickens lined with shredded paper and a golf ball.

    My chickens are at 19 weeks and JUST started laying but they are really laying all over the place and I have only found 1 out 6 eggs actually IN the next boxes.

    A couple were on the poop boards which I 'think' I fixed by laying a branch on the board so they couldn't really get down there off their roost and scratch around in the sand.

    A couple were in the middle of the coop floor in the sand and one was under the next boxes. I laid another branch under the nest boxes so hopefully that keeps them from scratching around under there but we will see...

    So my question is, will they eventually settle into their next boxes and lay in there or will they always be clueless and lay all over the place?

    Chanda & the girls
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Good question. Not sure I have the perfect answer.

    Two different things could be going on. When they first start to lay, they don't always have good control over what is happening, especially when they start to lay at a very young age. They lay eggs while on the roost at night or just walking around the coop or run during the day. Usually they get control over what they are doing within a few days or maybe a week or two and will look for a good safe place to lay eggs. They especially like to lay eggs where other hens are laying them. Many of these will eventually wind up laying in the nest boxes, especially if you have that fake egg in there.

    The problem comes in that sometimes a chicken decides she wants to lay somewhere else, other than the nest box. She has control over what she is doing and wants to lay there. They are creatures of habit and sometimes it is hard to change these habits. Another problem with this is that other young hens just getting control may think these nests are good places to lay.

    I suspect you have the first going on. That is not a big problem, but I'd suggest picking up the eggs as often as possible to keep others from thinking that is an actual nest. If you are consistently getting eggs in the same place other than the nest boxes and they are in a scratched out nest-like depression, you probably have the second going on. Sounds like that one under the nest box is a candidate for this.

    You can keep trying what you are doing with the branches. It might work. I made my nest boxes so I could lock a hen in there if I wanted to. When I catch a hen getting comfortable in a nest on the floor, I lock them in the nest box until they lay. They usually get the message pretty fast, but some are more stubborn than others. I don't know that there is a sure fired method to handle this without some real work and frustration on your part. Hope this helps.
  3. ChandaH

    ChandaH Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 11, 2010
    Ok, this makes sense. I suspect the two laid in the middle of the floor may have just been accidents. The others were definitely scratched out 'nests'. I will just try and block out the 'bad' locations and keep open the good ones.

    No eggs on the poop boards since I put the branchs there. One egg under the nest boxes after I put the branch there so I might need to modify that.

    I have been checking for eggs every hour or so so they are getting picked up asap.

    By the way, we are eating our first 5 eggs RIGHT NOW! So exciting!!
    Chanda & the girls
  4. kateseidel

    kateseidel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 9, 2010
    My hens decided to ignore the nest boxes, and lay their eggs in the corner of the coopy in a lovely nest they have built on their own - UNDER the nest boxes. They kicked out all of the hay from the actual nest boxes, and they all wait their turn to lay in the corner nest (except for two of them who are still insisting on laying in the hay barn). I'm fine with their laying in the corner nest if that works for them, and find it hysterical to see them literally lined up waiting to get at the nest! And also, I am very impressed with their communal nest building skills!
  5. abercrombie575

    abercrombie575 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 9, 2010
    I am not sure if this really works as I didn't have this problem myself ... but, I have seen pictures on here of nesting boxes that contain golf balls. I think that is so the chickens will see them there and think that they are other eggs. Just a thought. It might be worth a try and if it works it is a cheap fix.
  6. queenbeezz

    queenbeezz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    I bought wooden eggs from JoAnn's and put them in our nest boxes. It's like a sign in "chicken" that says LAY HERE, I've never had any one lay except in the boxes.[​IMG]

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