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Egg problems need help.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BettyR, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. BettyR

    BettyR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 29 standard size hens and one bantam hen. The bantam is about 3 or 4 weeks older than the standards and she has been laying for 2 or 3 weeks now. She’s one egg laying little trooper…we usually get about 5 eggs a week from her…nothing from the standards.

    Yesterday I was working in my garden and I kept hearing multiple hens singing the “I just laid an egg song” but when I checked the nests the only egg there was my little banty egg.

    This morning when I went to let the chickens out I found a banty egg and a small EE egg in the nests. I have searched around thinking that they might be hiding the eggs somewhere but I was thinking that it was highly unlikely that all 29 hens got together and decided to hide their eggs.

    The chicken house is somewhere between 2 and 3 feet off the ground and there is a wood working shop in the chicken yard that is also well up off the ground. The chickens spend a lot of time up under these two buildings digging into the cool dirt during the heat of the day. I have gotten down and looked up under the two buildings as well as I can and I haven’t seen a stash of eggs.

    Is it very likely that the hens would leave their eggs in a place like that?

    Would hens who are about to start laying sing the egg song even though they haven’t actually laid an egg yet?

    I don’t keep food or water in the chicken house because all they do in there is sleep. I let them outside shortly after daybreak and shut the door and lock it just after dark so their food and water stay outside. I have thought of putting food and water inside the coop and leaving them locked up until noon to see if I get eggs but I’m afraid that the stress of cooping them up when they are used to being outside all the time might set them back on their laying if by chance the reason I’m not finding eggs is they haven’t started laying yet.

    Any advice would be appreciated!!!!!!!!
     
  2. illinichick

    illinichick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Time. Give them time. I'm just the opposite. I have a large coop-barn and keep their food and water in there. There is a dog bowl out in the run also. I have 20 almost 6 month olds and they are just starting to lay, sporatic at best. Just be patient and dont be suprised to find eggs in the middle of your run or coop until they get the hang of it.
     
  3. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    They could easily be laying them under the coop, if I'm understanding correctly, that it's 2-3' off the ground. Have you checked under there?

    Chickens need (most of them, anyway) 14 hours of daylight to be in "laying mode" - so, it's likely that there's just not enough sun during the day where you are. Probably nothing to worry about!
     
  4. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Most of mine started laying around 4 months. My BO was 9 months old before she started. They all sang the song for a while before they started laying, and sometimes sat in the nest for a while without laying. Anything is possible. I leave the door open, a fan running, and the food inside, and water in and out.
     
  5. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh, I forgot to mention the egg-laying song. I've got one pullet that has not yet begun to lay; she sings the egg-laying song ANY time anything is remotely upsetting to her. She's 20 weeks old, and she's been doing this for 2 months now. I've given up thinking she's getting ready to lay. [​IMG] When she does this, some of the others begin doing it, too - even my cockerel starts singing the egg-laying song! Sheesh!
     
  6. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    If your chickens are roaming around your yard and under buildings you can be sure they are (or will be) hiding eggs from you. Hens like closed in, out of the way, hidden places to lay.

    If you want to know if they are laying, lock them in the hen house for 2 - 3 days. Check through the day for eggs. you might be VERY surprised what you find.

    If they are laying you might want to monitor them and only let them out for small time periods AFTER most eggs have been laid. I would also suggest locking them in for at least a week and teaching them to lay in the nests. Then, once you let them out, they should come back to lay in the hen house and not in the yard. However, with free ranging hens you may never get all the eggs they lay.
     
  7. BettyR

    BettyR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 1, 2008
    Texas Gulf Coast
    Thank you MissPrissy and everyone else for your help....I guess I'll give it a little more time and see if maybe they just haven't quite started laying yet. I may end up keeping them in their coop for a day or two very soon....if hurricane Ike stays on it's projected path we are going to be in for a big blow.

    When we built this coop we put the roof on with hurricane clips and cemented 6 anchor polls into the ground around the outside so the chickens should be safe during a hurricane but still I really don't want that monster coming here.

    Thanks again....
    Betty
     

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