Chickens with bizzare laying behavior

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Phoenixsw, Feb 23, 2016.

  1. Phoenixsw

    Phoenixsw Chirping

    Mar 1, 2015
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Ok, I have an odd situation that I wonder if anyone has ever experienced. Here is the odd tale.

    I have 5 girls. 3 that are 11 months, a BO, SF, and SS and 2 that are 10 months, and EE and a WS.

    In Aug and Sept of last yr, the BO, SS and EE started laying. Then they had a mini molt in Nov-Dec (only lost some neck and chest feathers), during which time they stopped laying, as expected. Now, during this time, the SF and WS decided to start laying. They layed an egg every couple of days (it's winter after all). I was very excited to have all 5 laying.
    My excitment was premature.

    Apparently once the 3 molters began laying again, the other 2 stopped! Now, they never layed the eggs in the nest, but on the coop floor next to it under the poop tray. (Which, on a side note, made the others stop laying in the nest and start laying on the floor once they started again.) I have since been able to get the 3 original layers back to laying in the nest, but still nothing from the other 2.

    Since they free range in my backyard (fenced), I have searched high and low and in every nook and cranny and under and in everything I can find in the yard, run, and coop, and nothing, no eggs. They are both squatting and their combs are both bright red, they eat the same diet as the others, and so should still be laying, so I am at a loss.

    Has anyone heard of this odd behavior before?

  2. countrygirl345

    countrygirl345 Chirping

    Apr 17, 2014
    Maybe you don't have enough nesting boxes, which can cause a hen to lay elsewhere. You should have at least 2 or 3 for five chickens if this is an issue.
  3. Phoenixsw

    Phoenixsw Chirping

    Mar 1, 2015
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I have 2 nesting boxes, and the 3 laying all use the same one, and have all, at one time or another, tried to get in the same one at the same time.
  4. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    I believe the suggested nest box to layer ratio is 4:1 but my hens always prefer just one next box and either pile in together or wait their turn - bonkers!

  5. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Crowing

    Apr 11, 2011
    OP, if I were in your situation, I'd cut out free range time until those two start putting eggs in the nest boxes. If nothing else, just to be sure. Even though you've looked through your yard, theres still a great possibility that thats where your eggs are. Some chickens are masters at hiding, themselves or their eggs. I've nearly stepped on a hen hunkered down in the bushes, and still wouldn't have seen her if she hadn't bolted away from me. I had to follow my turkey for a week to figure out where she'd built her nest when she went started laying. She'd made her nest about 5 feet from my front door, for what its worth, and once she was in it, she was practically invisible (as were her white eggs with brown speckles). Not too mention, lots of critters that routinely scurry, fly or dig their way through our yards each day will eat eggs if they come across them.
    You might have to have a stake out and watch them for a day while they range, just to check for anyone being sneaky....from your description, they sound very healthy. So, I'm guessing they're either about to start laying very soon OR they're laying them elsewhere.
    Good luck!

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