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Can Hens Hold Egg In Like We Can with BMs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Barry Natchitoches, Dec 11, 2010.

  1. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Songster

    Sep 4, 2008
    I was wondering if any of you know for sure the answer to this question:

    Can a hen hold an egg in -- at least for a while -- the way we can with our BMs?

    The reason I'm asking is that it rained heavily ALL DAY here in Memphis, so I left 13 hens and their rooster locked up in their 13 foot by 7 1/2 foot by 6 foot tall hen house all day.

    There are four laying nests inside the main henhouse, but the birds really prefer to use a 4 foot by 4 foot by 3 foot high auxilliary housing unit that I built this spring. It was my intention to use that extra housing unit for a sick or injured bird that needed isolation, or a broody who needed a safe place to hatch babies, but the minute that I the hens entered that little housing unit for the first time, THEY decided it would be the official Egg Laying Barn. After awhile, I quit fighting them on the issue, and moved a second nest box into the place so that more than one hen could lay at one time.

    Well, to get to the Egg Laying Barn today with all the rain we've had, they would just about have had to swim to it.

    So I just left them locked up in the henhouse all day, and expected them to use one of the four secluded nest boxes inside the henhouse.

    But that is NOT what happened.

    Only one of the hens laid in a henhouse nesting box. One out of 13 hens.

    But when I went in to feed and water them and to collect eggs, one little girl forced her way out as I was coming in. I tried to stop her from leaving, but she was darn and determined to get out of that henhouse.

    When she got out, she ran to that Egg Barn.

    So I figured she'd be safe and dry in there, and I just left her there while I tended to the other birds. She wasn't finished when I finished feeding and watering, so I made a mental note to go back in 15 minutes to see if she was through laying her egg.

    Well, it was more like 20 minutes before I went back out, but when I got out there, she was pacing at the doorway to the henhouse, just as eager to go back in as she was to go out. So I let her in.

    Then I went to the Egg Barn, and sure enough, there was a warm little green egg there.

    She usually lays around noon time, but this was 3 pm.

    It seems to me like she held that egg in until she could get to HER CHOSEN laying place to lay that egg.

    And meantime, only one of the other hens was willing to lay in one of the henhouse nest boxes.

    Of course, they didn't manage to squirm their way out when I came in to tend to the flock.

    I'm wondering if they were all holding their egg back till they can get to the Egg Barn?

    I wonder what kind of run there will be on the Egg Laying Barn tomorrow morning, if they are all holding their eggs overnight?

  2. SparksNV

    SparksNV Songster

    Jun 13, 2010
    Spanish Springs, NV
    I've wondered the same thing - hope someone answers!
  3. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    I am curious about this as well.

    One morning I had to clean the coop, so I locked the birds in the run. When I finished cleaning the house there were several ladies waiting at the door. One hen ran (waddled is probably more accurate) into the house jumped into the nesting box and in about 2 seconds laid an egg. I have never seen a hen spend less than 10 minutes fiddling around in the boxes before laying, so it was obvious to me that this girl had been holding the egg in until I re-opened the coop for them.

    I am curious how long they can actually put off laying, or if they can at all.
  4. sheaviance1

    sheaviance1 Songster

    Apr 7, 2010
    I believe they can, but I don't think they can for long. I have one who takes FOREVER to lay, and she occupies the favorite nest box for about 2 hours. I have seen the 2 of the other ladies pace until this nest box was free. One paced the entire 2 hours. In my flock, there are only three who refuse to lay unless they can use their nest box. All of the others will lay in any available one. I have two coops, one has 3 nest boxes, the other has 6, there is more than enough room for 13 chickens, but there is only one favorite box! I don't see anything special about it.....
  5. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

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