Advice on how to get these ladies to quit laying eggs in the run

doughouse

Songster
Apr 14, 2020
124
226
126
Boston, MA
So we have four pullets who just started laying after Thanksgiving. Two of them use the nesting boxes (we think), and two (we think) are laying eggs in the run. And it's not like they've found some secluded corner of a large space: we built a Garden Coop, so the whole run in maybe 10'x5'.
PXL_20201122_140435686.jpg


PXL_20201209_211217965~2.jpg


PXL_20201214_164732284~2.jpg


Look at that little punk, just laying an egg next to the waterer, where everyone walks!

They seem to be digging out a divot in the dirt and bedding to make a little hole for them to lay in. When we first noticed it there were already three eggs in it! Obviously we want to discourage this behavior and encourage the run-layers to emulate the nesting box-layers. We had a big snowstorm last week and none of them left the henhouse for an entire day (I was panicking a bit that they'd dehydrate or starve, since their food and water is down in the run!) and I thought that might get the run layers to discover the convenience and privacy of the nesting boxes, but the very next day they were back at it, laying run eggs.

Any suggestions on how to get them to encourage them to lay in the nesting boxes? I'm inclined to cover that whole run nesting area with snow to discourage them, but temps will be up in the 50s for the next few days and I don't want to get the run all muddy and gross: I want my girls as dry as possible, especially since temps will drop back below freezing those nights. My wife thinks we should just cede to the run-layers and put another nesting box down in that spot.

Any thoughts and advice would be very welcome and appreciated.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
34,636
282,336
1,642
NY Southern Tier
My Coop
My Coop
So we have four pullets who just started laying after Thanksgiving. Two of them use the nesting boxes (we think), and two (we think) are laying eggs in the run. And it's not like they've found some secluded corner of a large space: we built a Garden Coop, so the whole run in maybe 10'x5'.
View attachment 2458802

View attachment 2458801

View attachment 2458803

Look at that little punk, just laying an egg next to the waterer, where everyone walks!

They seem to be digging out a divot in the dirt and bedding to make a little hole for them to lay in. When we first noticed it there were already three eggs in it! Obviously we want to discourage this behavior and encourage the run-layers to emulate the nesting box-layers. We had a big snowstorm last week and none of them left the henhouse for an entire day (I was panicking a bit that they'd dehydrate or starve, since their food and water is down in the run!) and I thought that might get the run layers to discover the convenience and privacy of the nesting boxes, but the very next day they were back at it, laying run eggs.

Any suggestions on how to get them to encourage them to lay in the nesting boxes? I'm inclined to cover that whole run nesting area with snow to discourage them, but temps will be up in the 50s for the next few days and I don't want to get the run all muddy and gross: I want my girls as dry as possible, especially since temps will drop back below freezing those nights. My wife thinks we should just cede to the run-layers and put another nesting box down in that spot.

Any thoughts and advice would be very welcome and appreciated.
Please post pictures of the nesting boxes.
What I see is a very cozy nest on the ground that cradles the pullets body. This is quite a natural looking nest. You need to try to offer something similar inside the nest boxes in order to entice them to lay where you want them to lay. Make them deep and cushy.
 

doughouse

Songster
Apr 14, 2020
124
226
126
Boston, MA
Please post pictures of the nesting boxes.
What I see is a very cozy nest on the ground that cradles the pullets body. This is quite a natural looking nest. You need to try to offer something similar inside the nest boxes in order to entice them to lay where you want them to lay. Make them deep and cushy.

Oh, that's an excellent point. The nesting boxes are nowhere near as cozy and body-cradling. We fill them with soft chopped hay, but they scratch the hay out into the henhouse almost immediately.

PXL_20201221_214510373.jpg


So it sounds like we need to make the nesting boxes a bit deeper so they can't scratch hay out and can get comfy cozy in there.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
34,636
282,336
1,642
NY Southern Tier
My Coop
My Coop
Oh, that's an excellent point. The nesting boxes are nowhere near as cozy and body-cradling. We fill them with soft chopped hay, but they scratch the hay out into the henhouse almost immediately.

View attachment 2458834

So it sounds like we need to make the nesting boxes a bit deeper so they can't scratch hay out and can get comfy cozy in there.
You need to put some boards in the back that wedge between the plywood to retain the bedding. Maybe about 5" high. Same in the front. That way you can make a thicker bed for nesting. They will hollow it out to make a pullet shaped bowl to lay their eggs in.
 

doughouse

Songster
Apr 14, 2020
124
226
126
Boston, MA
Okay, so the nesting box issue has been fixed. They have a deep and comfy bed of hay to best in. But how do we break the run-layers of their bad habit?
PXL_20201224_150823251.jpg
 

cluckingheck

i wanna be a cowboy, baby ( HELL YEAH )
Jun 15, 2020
1,459
3,013
261
TyCo, West Virginia
Okay, so the nesting box issue has been fixed. They have a deep and comfy bed of hay to best in. But how do we break the run-layers of their bad habit?
View attachment 2462208
Is it possible to keep them in the coop? Keeping them in there for a week or so should get them back to laying in the nesting boxes. Though, it’s possible they’ll go right back to laying on the run once you let them back out....it depends, chickens can be stubborn.
 

doughouse

Songster
Apr 14, 2020
124
226
126
Boston, MA
Can you show the side the birds enter into the nests?
PXL_20201227_160729918.jpg


I've been holding off on updating this thread, since in the last week our four ladies have only laid a total of two eggs. I'm guessing it's a winter solstice slowdown, since we don't give them any supplemental light or anything. Still, the two eggs were laid in the nesting boxes, and they were both from one of our pullets who previously only ever laid eggs in the run, so that's good! Hopefully this doesn't mean they have a new spot we haven't discovered yet, though...
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom