Chickens Pushing Straw out of nesting boxes, cracked eggs, eating eggs

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Arrowheadfarm, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. Arrowheadfarm

    Arrowheadfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2010
    Any suggestions for this problem? Two or three of my 10 chickens keep pushing the straw out of their nesting boxes. If I don't replace the material back into the box within the day, the eggs break. If they egg cracks, the problem gets worse...they destroy the egg. Now, daily I'm finding nesting boxes with bare wood and destroyed eggs.

    I have tried to put wood chips in the box. They push this material out too. So I'm back to straw.

    I have placed cardboard on the bottom of the boxes to try and cushion the dropped egg knowing they are pushing the soft material out resulting in the plywood base being exposed. This has helped a little but the problem still exists.

    I have 4 nesting boxes total. They only started this odd behavior since we added 4 new chickens to the coop.

    The hens are about 16 months old. All 10 hens started out together. They were separated into two coops at about 3 months and then reunited at 14 months because the chicks were split between two families and family moved away and returned their 4 chickens to me.

    Has the dynamic of adding 4 hens back into the mix caused these bad behaviors? I'm not sure if the chickens doing this are from my original 6 of some of the recently added 4 (same breeds).

    So frustrated. Please give me some ideas on how to remedy this problem.
  2. geepy

    geepy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2009
    central FL
    I had the same problem, I moved the nest boxes to the opposite side of the coup, problem solved. I don't know why it just worked.
    Chickens can be silly sometimes. [​IMG]
  3. Arrowheadfarm

    Arrowheadfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2010
    Funny you should say this. I did rearrange my coop - moving the nesting boxes to the front of the coop to make collecting eggs easier. This is when this behavior started. I will try moving the boxes back to their original location and see if this helps.

    Thanks for this tip. Do you think the egg eating behavior will stop too? I've heard that once they start his behavior it is close to impossible to reverse.
  4. flowerchild59

    flowerchild59 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2010
    Southern IL
    They tend to train us well.
  5. southerndesert

    southerndesert B & M Chicken Ranch

    Jun 17, 2011
    Morristown, AZ
    A square of old carpet in the bottom can also help with breaking on the wood bottom. Keep an eye on it though and replace when it gets soiled....
  6. saddina

    saddina Internally Deranged

    May 2, 2009
    Desert, CA
    You may need to rig up a roll away box for them (it's got a slightly slanted floor so the eggs roll to a back space, and they can't reach them for snacking.

    A common solutuion is to take an empty eggshell, rinse it out, fill it with mustard and place it in the coop, the egg eaters will try this egg, and the taste should break them of the habit pretty quick. as a bonus the eater will litterly have egg on it's face, making detection easier.

    As for the nesting material, put a 1-2 inch piece of wood across the bottom front of the box, so they can't push out the chips.
  7. Arrowheadfarm

    Arrowheadfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2010
    Thanks for the mustard idea. The box already has a 2" piece of wood across the front. I added a 4" piece and they still managed to kick out the bedding.

    I'm going to try and move the nesting box back to where it started, in the back of the coop, and see if that makes the difference.
  8. Arrowheadfarm

    Arrowheadfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2010
    Two weeks with nesting boxes to the back of the coop rather than at the front door and problem is almost completely solved. Thanks for the tip. Not sure why, but my birds didn't seem to like the way I rearranged their living room! Go figure!
  9. Honeysucklefeathers

    Honeysucklefeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2011
    western KY
    I put shelf liner in mine, the puffy kind. Works great.

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