Chickens are laying eggs in hidden spots in the barn???


In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 2, 2013
I've searched and can't find an answer to my problem, but here goes... I had 8 hens and 3 roosters, about a month ago I got rid of one of my roosters and added 5 hens. This seemed to take care of my rooster problem that I was having. About a week ago my egg production drastically dropped from about 7-8 eggs a day to 2-4 eggs a day. I thought the problem was that they were molting, but today I found 45 hidden eggs in different locations in the barn outside of their coop. Their coop is in this barn, but they are not laying in the nesting boxes. I had a problem with not enough hens to roosters ratio, but adding the 5 hens appeared to fix the problem. One of the roosters was abusing the hens, but that is no longer a problem. They have grouped into two different flocks. The head rooster is with the original 8 hens, and my other rooster is with the 5 new hens. Has anyone experienced this type of problem, or know how I can get them to start laying in their nesting boxes again? My chickens are free ranged daily. I thought maybe I should keep them in the coop for a few days, but don't know if this is a good idea? Any input would be greatly appreciated!!

Locking them in the coop for several days and providing nest eggs in the nest boxes may change their laying habits. Their instinct is to lay eggs to build a clutch for setting. When we remove the eggs daily some hens may regard the nest box as an 'unsafe' place. - to them something is always stealing their eggs.
Thanks Sourland, that makes perfect sense. I thought maybe the dogs or the cat was the problem. Turns out it's me?!?!? :( I have been removing the eggs after 4 pm daily. Should I check for eggs less often?
Of the 45 eggs only 6 had gone bad. I don't think I should put them back in the nest boxes since I washed and refrigerated them. I don't normally wash them, but they were dirty from being in the dirt. I am going to let them free range the rest of today. Hunt down any eggs they have layed today and put them in the nesting boxes, then coop them up the rest of the week. Hope this works. Man you should have heard the fits that were being thrown when I found the clutches!!!! They finally calmed down after about an hour.
I just love these chickens. There's so much to learn about these little jewels.

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