Eggs for Brains?


Anachronistic Anomaly
11 Years
May 11, 2011
West Virginia
My Coop
My Coop
Our flock of five is 26 weeks old. Our BA started laying on December 24th and has given us 9 eggs now (never expected that in the middle of winter with a new layer, but darn!) and the others haven't laid anything yet. However, last night, I think their brains dropped out...or something.

I don't get home from work until after dark, but my DH gets home just before and usually sees all of the chickens just before they go into the coop. Last night, he texted me at dusk to tell me that all the chickens went in alright, but that our welsumer went into a nest box and was still there. I said to leave her be and we could check when I got home, which was a little over an hour later.

When I got home, my DH met me at the door with a lantern and we went out to check on the chickens. Opened the lid to the nest boxes and there sat our wellie, just as fluffed up and comfy looking as could be. She looked up at us, I scratched her back, she got up and went to the feeder to have a bite and then our BR and EE hopped down from the roost to join her (keep in mind that it's still very dim since it's a shaded lantern and we only open it enough to see where we're going). I got an egg out of the nest box where the wellie was sitting, but it was cold and appeared identical to all of our other BA eggs.

After a few nibbles of food, the wellie came right back and plopped down into the same next box. The EE came over and crawled in the same box with her and the BR snuggled down into the nest box furthest away from those two. The dom and BA stayed on the roost and did nothing. So we left them where they were for the night. This morning, everyone was up and milling around in the coop before dawn and when we opened the door everyone came running out except for the BR (who stayed in the nest box she was in the previous evening). No eggs anywhere.

So is it usual/unusual for hens to stay in nest boxes overnight? I always thought they did their egg business during normal business hours and would hit the roost for the overnight. I could be wrong, we never did this before.
They're probably just preferring the nestboxes to the roost. We had an issue with that same thing with our BRs--they would stay in or roost on the nestboxes all night and in the morning, yuuuck in the nestboxes. Their roost was a little too close to the wall to suit them (they were mashing their tailfeathers--oh the shame of it! lol) so we moved their roost out a little and covered the nestboxes. That did the trick. I don't think the behaviour is related to egg laying at all since our roo was the instigator in the roost-in-the-nextboxes escapade!
I don't think so because they've never slept in the nest boxes before (except for the first two nights in the coop when we first moved them out) and the nest boxes are always yuck-free.

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