Chickens laying on ground

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by calientepocket, Oct 31, 2014.

  1. calientepocket

    calientepocket Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Happy Friday everyone. I currently have four hens that are laying, however only one of them using the nesting boxes! I built two nesting boxes that are about four feet off the ground, with a ramp leading up to them. Everyone else lays their eggs on the ground under the ramp. I want to get them to lay in the boxes because I just got some Silkies, and I would like the Silkies to be able to sleep under that ramp and not have eggs there. I spent a lot of time building so that I could collect the eggs from outside the coop, but obviously these ladies have different plans for me. Any tips? I have tried ping pong balls in the boxes. I will try to snap a picture of the setup tonight or tomorrow.

    Thank you!!
     
  2. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would suggest locking them into the coop with the nesting boxes until late morning at least. Failing that, block off the area under the boxes that you don't want them to use. Let us know if that works!
     
  3. calientepocket

    calientepocket Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I blocked off the area where my ladies were laying their eggs, and they just laid as close as they could get to that spot. Any tips for actually getting them to lay in their boxes?! Now even the one who had been laying in the box is laying on the ground. The place where they are laying is where I am going to be setting up an area for my silkies inside the coop, and I really want my ladies to use their boxes- especially after all the time I spent building them!!
     
  4. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You might try putting a day or two worth of their eggs in the boxes and see if that works. They like to lay where the others are laying, and if they think that the others are using the boxes, it may trick them into laying there as well. Mine will shift around - they'll lay in the hay in the coop and in the nesting boxes. That doesn't bother me because I can still get the eggs out of the coop. If they lay in the run, though, I have to crawl in and collect the eggs, so I don't want them to do that. They did for a little while, but shifted up to the nesting boxes after I locked them in the coop until they laid.
     
  5. calientepocket

    calientepocket Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you think this would work with an egg from the store? I want the fresh ones for myself and I'm only getting one a day!

    [​IMG]
     
  6. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Is there any bedding in your boxes? I can't see any in your picture, and that may be why they don't particularly like to lay there. You'll also have to add a lip to the boxes to keep the bedding in there, or they'll just end up kicking it all out.
    Anyway, you could use an egg from the store as a "bait egg", but eventually that egg will succumb to the elements (heat, cold, ect) and need to be replaced. Really, anything egg shaped will do. I use golf balls, others get fancy with wooden or ceramic eggs, and plastic Easter eggs also seem to be a popular choice. My neighbor uses river rocks in his boxes.
    Good luck.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Ditto Dat^^^^^

    That 'ramp' looks kind of steep and they might not like the holes.....have you seen them go up the ramp and spend any time in the nest area?
     
  8. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    How about just set them up with a nest box of some sort down on the floor where they want to lay? Once they decide they want to lay in a certain place it can be hard to get them to change. Sometimes it's easier to just go with the flow!
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Thanks for the photo, that helps. Doesn’t mean it will be easy, just that it helps to visualize the problem. Is your nest that plastic bin or is it the opening off to the right? How many hens and how many nests do you have?

    What breeds do you have? You mention Silkies but are the ones laying a breed that can’t fly or have problems seeing due to head-dresses? I think most breeds should be able to use that ramp if they want to. Most hens should be able to fly/jump up there without the ramp. I don’t think the ramp is your problem.

    Personally I like to go into the coop to gather eggs. I’ve found a possum, several snakes, and once a dead hen in there that I would not have been likely to see without going inside. The makes Cafarmgirl’s idea pretty high on my list. But you expressed a desire to be able to gather the eggs from the outside. I’ll think along those lines.

    I’ve had the same results as you when I try to block off where they are laying. They just lay close by.

    I don’t think your coop is set up for this trick to work, but maybe you can see a way to make it work. Put a nest down there where they are laying, a portable nest like maybe that plastic bin on the shelf or a milk crate. A cardboard box can work. Put bedding in it and let them get used to laying in that nest. Once they have established it as the nest, gradually move it toward where you want them to lay, maybe 6” or a foot every three or four days. If you can wind up with it in your nest that’s great. If not get as close as you can. Once they are used to laying in that area, remove the temporary nest. Hopefully they will start to use your real nest.

    Those fake eggs really do help. They don’t work miracles but they can show hens where to lay. Are they scratching the ping pong balls out of the nest? You might need a higher lip or a heavier fake egg to stop them doing that.

    This one will require some more work from you. I made some of my nests so I could lock a hen in there if I wanted to. So can you modify a couple of nests so you can lock a hen in there? When I catch a hen on her nest on the floor, I lock her in one of those nests until she lays her egg. That normally takes about a half hour but I have had a hen take three hours. Usually I only have to do that once before she switches, though a couple of times I’ve had to do that two days in a row. That has been really effective for me but there are potential problems.

    You have to be around enough to catch a hen on that nest on the floor laying an egg. That’s not always easy if you have a day job. Also, what do you do if a hen is in the nest laying when you see another on the floor? That’s why you need a couple of nests that you can lock them in.

    That pretty much wipes me out of ideas. Good luck!
     

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