Eggs Getting Stuck to Vent Feathers But Bigger Questions Too


Apr 30, 2019
West Palm Beach FL
For those not familiar with my other thread on this hen Marti - I was pretty confident she had been laying but then she apparently stopped about the time I had to close off the nest she’d been using. Due to sick hens and vacation and stuff, she fell off my radar as she always acted 100% fine. When things settled down I recently focused back on Marti. Her vent seemed small and on the dry side. Maybe I was wrong and she never started laying. Except review of my egg tracker shows she had to have laid on July 10. Had to or the total egg count couldn’t have been what it was. Every hen laid that day except for 2 white egg layers and Marti is a brown egg layer. A small darker brown speckled egg.

Anyway, I was unable to verify Marti continued to lay after I closed off the only nest box she ever used (had put sick hen in there).

Then a few weeks ago a small light brown egg started showing up in weird places around the coop and run. Sometimes under the roost boards, once broken there too, by the outside water pan, on the pavers outside a main door, etc. Egg usually looked like it had been rolled quite a bit as the brown color was faded, rubbed off or uneven.

I thought these eggs were maybe from a different new layer as I did have a video of Ginger popping out an egg during a jump down from the nest box. But I also know for a fact that Ginger does usually lay in the nest boxes.

So..... Marti. I just basically decided to not worry about her as long as she was doing fine otherwise. Her health checks were great although her vent did seem small and rather dry as noted. Except this last check a few days ago - her vent definitely was moister. But I still
Never ever caught her in the regular nest boxes. I have cameras. I’ve only seen her once eying up the nest box she used to use (still closed off even though the sick hen was culled on 7/27). And yesterday I did see her eye up the main nest boxes - first time ever for that.

Then this happened this morning:





Ok! She’s laying! Not small dark brown speckled newbie eggs like before. Excellent!

While I can trim her butt feathers so the egg doesn’t stick on the way out, more importantly she doesn’t seem to know that she’s laying!

How can I get her to understand she’s laying and to go into the nest boxes? I could open up her preferred nest box - although I really don’t want to do that as the next time I need that area for a hospital or jail it’ll just get closed off again.

I could make a nest box that is the same as the main nest boxes and lock her in the coop with that and see if she’ll start laying in the box and then move the box slowly toward the other boxes...? Except I leave in less 2 weeks for a 3 week vacation. Do you think she’ll transition in that time frame? Or is there some other way to get her to realize she’s laying and use a nest box?

Sorry for the super long post but thought having the full story would better spark ideas to address this issue. Has anyone else had this happen??
I have a bird that's somewhat similar (though I like her super extra butt floof, so I admit I can't bring myself to trim it). What I did was watch her for signs she was close to laying for the day (timing it also works, if you can kind of guesstimate when she last laid plus her average amount of time between eggs), then as she walked around trying to figure out where to lay, I picked her up and put her in a nestbox and used my arms to block her in. There was some momentary panic but within 30 sec or so she began exploring the box, and once it seemed she was interested in it I moved my arms away and she stayed put.

Might take a couple of days of this so they start associating any feeling of laying with "go to box." That said, with these birds with fluffy butts and sticky bloom eggs, that doesn't mean the egg will end up in the nest. My problem bird has been very sporadic about laying (on for a few weeks, off for a few, on, off, mini molt, and back on again) but only now has she been reliably leaving eggs in the nest. Before that, even though she was going to the nest boxes, it was about a 50/50 rate of the egg landing in the nest.
Thanks for that! I’ll have to observe to get her timing as I wasn’t even sure she was laying right now. I figure if I can get her to at least go to the box I can then decide on whether to trim the feathers or not. I love the super fluffy butt too :love

She was laying about 5 times a week in the first box as a brand new layer. Since then I don’t know how often she’s laid since I haven’t had a every hen laid day or know exactly who didn’t since July 10.

I’m frankly happy to have 2 mysteries solved and a hen that’s ok. Now I can focus more on Angel who definitely isn’t laying and hasn’t for sure laid since July 24. She may have laid after that but I don’t know for sure. :confused:

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