Chickens laying in the field

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BirdBarnPam, Sep 5, 2017.

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  1. BirdBarnPam

    BirdBarnPam In the Brooder

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    Sep 5, 2017
    Warner, NH
    I have 9 chickens... 1 EE, 6 NH Reds, 1 Leghorn, and 1 black (I really don't know what she is, but she's the smartest one!!). There's a 17' by 48' enclosed area, an 8' by 8' Coop, and 3 acres of fenced area to roam 10 hours a day. I am renting an apartment on the property. My upstairs neighbor has added 5 ducks to the mix. I am new to chickens, and these are my first girls. A couple weeks ago the older girls started laying. I was an idiot, got excited, and took all the eggs. (dumb, I know). Now the girls are refusing to lay anywhere except far out in the field. (NOTE: about the same time we acquired a rat in the enclosed area. I am fighting tooth and nail to get rid of him without poison!!) I need all manner of help!!!!!
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender

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    What do your nestboxes look like? You need to keep some fake eggs in them. I would also put something on their outside nests like a log or brick.

    As far as rats we always use poison as they are too smart for traps around here. Hopefully you can catch him.
     
  3. Lock them up a week, pit fake eggs in the boxes. That should teach them.

    Gary
     
    BirdBarnPam likes this.
  4. cutiepie960

    cutiepie960 Chirping

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    Feb 24, 2014
    Hello,
    I too am fighting tooth & nail for my girl trying to get her to lay in the nestboxes i have just 1 golf ball in there but to no AVAIL!! She has been laying in 2 areas in the yard & i was fine with that & since I DO NOT WANT ANY CHICKS i have been removing her eggs on a daily basis & now she is laying in my neighbors yard & brooding!!!! I just want her laying back in my yard!!! I don't care where in my yard BUT IN MY YARD!!!! So FUSTRATING!!!! Thanks everyone!!
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Welcome to BYC!
    Best to keep birds confined to coop and run with fake eggs in the coop nests to habituate them to laying there.

    Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for 3-4 days (or longer) can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop 24/7 for a few days to a week, or confine them at least until late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.



    I'll give the same advice to you as I did the thread starter above about where they lay.

    If she's broody you ought to break her broodiness pronto if you don't want her to hatch out. https://www.backyardchickens.com/search/5987286/?q=breaking+broody&t=post&o=date&c[title_only]=1
     
  6. BirdBarnPam

    BirdBarnPam In the Brooder

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    Sep 5, 2017
    Warner, NH
    I have 6 boxes on the ground floor, and then 5 boxes in the "pop out" area above, with a perch rod in front of the boxes. I have a ceramic egg in every other box (white ones). I have wood shavings and hay in the boxes, as well as some "bird herbs". Since all the chickens share the coop with the ducks, could the ducks be the problem? The first few times the chickens laid eggs, the ducks were circling the hens....

    Is it true that the chickens will not go near the poison bait for the rats?
     
  7. BirdBarnPam

    BirdBarnPam In the Brooder

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    Sep 5, 2017
    Warner, NH

    Thanks! is there a "best" type of nesting box material?
     
  8. BirdBarnPam

    BirdBarnPam In the Brooder

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    Sep 5, 2017
    Warner, NH
    I have two layers of boxes, 14" x 14" by 14" high. I have ceramic eggs. and use shavings and hay. what do you think?

    what poison do you use?
     
  9. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender

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    I would try grouping the eggs so there's at least 3 in a box. I might remove the herbs to see if that helps too.

    Unfortunately chickens will eat poison. Ours is in a bait box away from the chickens. There's always risks with using poisons, for us the rats get bad enough to risk it, but we do all we can to minimize any animals getting it besides the rats.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    What ever you like best....I like straw....I do think it's best to have different bedding in nests than is on coop floor, especially if nests are on floor.

    Would you post some pics of nests?
     

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