Eggs Everywhere...except in the nest boxes

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Briyon, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. Briyon

    Briyon Out Of The Brooder

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    My Girls (I am not sure which one or ones) have started laying. It is like an easter egg hunt everyday when I go to the coop to see if there are any eggs [​IMG]. The first four were laid in the poop trays below the roosts. The one I found this morning was on the floor. I use wood chips in the coop and I used them in the brooder when they were chicks. I did put straw in the 3 nest boxes and a couple of golf balls in each. I was wondering if the fact that they have lived all of their lives on woodchips has prevented them from using the straw covered next boxes? Also, are two golf balls per nest box too much? Maybe they won't lay if they already think there are eggs in the nest box. This morning I flattened down the straw a little more and added wood chips over the top. If anyone has any suggestions I would appreciate it.

    BTW-is there an issue with the eggs laying in poop? I get the eggs the same day but was just wondering. I clean the shells with a slightly damp paper towel.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks,

    Brian
     
  2. Sooner

    Sooner My kids Mom!

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    Since they just started laying that is most likely the problem, they should find the nest boxes soon.
     
  3. GBov

    GBov Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My girls took a few days to figure out the nest box but you might try making them a bit darker and go with just deep shavings in the boxes. And your eggs will be fine with a bit of poo on em.
     
  4. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Try the shavings for a couple of days to see how that works. I'm learning hens can be very particular about where they lay. Miine didn't like aspen shavings but are content with pine shavings. Some days a particular hen will insist on laying in the nestbox I keep in the tractor (even though it is identical to the one I keep in the winter coop). Go figure.
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    It would certainly be worth removing the straw and replacing with clean shavings, for now anyhow, see if that helps.

    If it were me I would probably drop down to just maybe one golfball in two nests, or two golfballs in only one nest. Another thing worth trying is, whenever you see one of their eggs laid improperly, instead of collecting it, put it in a nestbox. (Don't do this if you have any suspicion theyr'e contemplating egg-eating, but in normal circumstances it is quite ok and I have seen it seem to help)

    To discourage them from laying in the containers you are using as a poop tray, you could try either putting a piece of plywood there (at least for now) instead of the black plastic bins; or covering the bins with a chickenwire cover; or at least removing all shavings from the bins. I realize this will make cleaning the poop bins a little more inconvenient but you probably do want to break them of laying there, quick before it becomes more of a habit!

    It is definitely worth putting some energy into this now, before habits become more ingrained, but chances are they WILL figure it out and your life will become easier again once they are more established in laying [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  6. lalaland

    lalaland Overrun With Chickens

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    wow, that is one gorgeous coop you've got there!

    I'ld agree, give it time - I've never seen hens laying on wood chips myself, and I would stick with straw, hay, or shavings as a last resort. And if it has been a couple of days and they haven't moved to the nests, put real eggs in (you can use storebought if you don't want to "waste" your hens eggs).

    congrats on the eggs!
     
  7. Briyon

    Briyon Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for all the great advice. I was wondering if it would be best to use hard boiled eggs in the nest boxes. I know there is a fear of them breaking the eggs and eating them. It would be much harder to break a hardboiled egg.

    Thanks,

    Brian
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Hardboiled isn't going to be meaningfully harder for a hen to break than a raw egg. I'd just use your golfballs, possibly also relocating mislaid eggs for half a day or so.

    Pat
     
  9. GBov

    GBov Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I only used shavings du to reading about mold spores in straw and hay giving health problems to birds.

    My girls laid just fine in them, I just made sure to have them deep enough for them to shuffle them into a nest shape before laying. It took a bit of tweaking with my nest boxes to get the edge high enough for them not to shuffle all the shavings out of the box but the eggs were nice and clean and didnt break very often so they work quite well really.
     
  10. GBov

    GBov Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you want unbreakable dummy eggs you could blow out a couple of real eggs and then fill with plaster.
     

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