Eggs not in nest box

tweetzone86

Songster
Jul 23, 2018
322
379
161
Kootenai County, ID
Hello all!

I have 12 RIR and two days ago I got 12 eggs so I now know 100% that all are laying. We gather eggs multiple times a day.

I had one "accident" a while back where we found an egg in the run. Thankfully it was not freezing yet and my (human) girls go into the run all the time so it was definitely new. But since then, no accidents, until...

The 12 egg day we found an egg in the run again. Thankfully still warm (it is freezing now) so must have just been laid. Ok, a hiccup no biggie, right? Except...

Today I found a very dirty egg on the floor of the run near the roost bar. Nice shell, just dirty. And I picked it up and went to turn around and CRUNCH! There was another egg completely buried in the hay bedding that I didn't see and I stepped on it :hitTo be fair, it was completely hidden under the straw and I couldn't have seen it. I also wasn't sure if it was from yesterday or today or how long it had been there (changed the bedding a week ago so at least between now and then but still).

I have 3 nest boxes (rubbermaid totes big enough to hold two, or at least I've seen two in one before, with the front cut out, plenty of straw inside, and in a darker corner of the coop). Two of them have ceramic eggs in them, the third doesn't (yet).

Do I need more nest boxes? Or has one of them not figured out where to drop the eggs? Those two eggs were near the roost bars (prob why one was so dirty) so I don't know if they laid while asleep or what...thankfully the others haven't disturbed any eggs, and I got the stepped on one picked up, along with surrounding straw, immediately and tossed it so no one could sample the contents.

But everything I've read states that 3 nest boxes for 12 birds is fine, so why are eggs not showing up where they should be? Light turns on at 2 am and off at 4 pm (to give 14 hours of light- it's fairly dark in the coop without it on darker days which we've had). I can't get up at 2 am and sit in there and monitor who is laying where for hours. All 12 are nearly identical so it's impossible to tell which egg is from who unless you catch them in the act (and even then they're usually sitting on several eggs because they rotate out as soon as one is done the next goes in. At least they keep the eggs warm until we can collect them).

Do I need another nest box? Or put a ceramic egg in the third one? Or is my 12th layer new and not sure what to do yet? I would really like to not step on anymore eggs :hit Or have frozen eggs in the run...
 

Barry42001

Songster
Jan 14, 2016
313
254
137
Venus, Florida. 33960
Might i suggest you leave a egg in one or more of the nesting boxes. That serves as visual que as to where eggs should be. Some hens simply want to secret away their eggs to perhaps get enough eggs to brood. Other hens will lay their eggs with the the original hens eggs. Once a routine is established as to where eggs should go That s pretty much where most hens will lat. You will always get social misfits that lay in other places hence the crunch or pop lol
 
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Chicken.Goddess

Hatching
May 9, 2018
1
1
8
This may cause a hen/pullet to go broody, but if you are worried about the eggs not making it into the nesting boxes, I suggest leaving some (fake) eggs in the nesting boxes. Whenever they realize the eggs are in there, the chickens will normally start laying in there. I wish you the best of luck, and let me know if it worked out for you.
 

tweetzone86

Songster
Jul 23, 2018
322
379
161
Kootenai County, ID
This may cause a hen/pullet to go broody, but if you are worried about the eggs not making it into the nesting boxes, I suggest leaving some (fake) eggs in the nesting boxes. Whenever they realize the eggs are in there, the chickens will normally start laying in there. I wish you the best of luck, and let me know if it worked out for you.

I do have ceramic eggs in two of them, but not the third. I will pick up another set this afternoon and put one in the third nest box. Hopefully whoever isn't using the nest boxes will figure it out soon.

Is it also possible that the offender may not be using the nest boxes because some of my chickens like to camp in there for an hour or two after laying?
 

Barry42001

Songster
Jan 14, 2016
313
254
137
Venus, Florida. 33960
More nesting boxes is better than the last so if you have 3 try 5 the hens actually like to be in the boxes for a considerable periods of time this might discourage other hens that might be looking to use the nesting boxes but aren't dominant enough the chase the hen sitting in there out. I've watched two hens sitting in the same nesting box kind of funny kind of crowded two birds of equal dominance
 

tweetzone86

Songster
Jul 23, 2018
322
379
161
Kootenai County, ID
More nesting boxes is better than the last so if you have 3 try 5 the hens actually like to be in the boxes for a considerable periods of time this might discourage other hens that might be looking to use the nesting boxes but aren't dominant enough the chase the hen sitting in there out. I've watched two hens sitting in the same nesting box kind of funny kind of crowded two birds of equal dominance

So it may be a pecking order thing? I need more nest boxes because a couple of ladies like to camp?

Anyway, found another one. That makes 14 today (counting the one I stepped on) so the stepped on one and the dirty one next to the roost bar must have been from yesterday then. That makes 4 eggs in the past couple days that haven't been laid in the nest box. Sigh...

I was really hoping to not have to do that because I'm pressed for space as far as the nesting boxes go. The coop is the back half of a 10x20 shed and the chicken area is about 7 feet long and 10' wide. However, I also have their feed and water in there because it freezes and I'm pretty sure there's mice outside and I don't want to give them a free meal, and I've got the human-sized door and the chicken-sized door. I also have the issue of the nest boxes are set up this way so there's a platform in front of the top one. I could stack a fourth one and just put them straight on top, but there's no way for the chickens to get in them then (arrows on nest boxes pointing toward the exits). This is how it's set up right now:

upload_2018-11-11_12-51-17.png


Note- the water is where it is because the stinkers kept roosting on it and pooping in it. One night I caught one IN the water roosting (moved her to the roost). So I had to put the water on the other side. I also want feed and water in the coop so that they can eat and drink and otherwise occupy themselves before I wake up to let them out. The cabinets and the door were put in before we bought the house and they're full cabinets so taking them out would be very difficult, hence the location of the wall separating the two spaces. Also couldn't put nest boxes on the outside but facing inward because the shed is already built and finished inside (save the floor).

So I'm kind of at a loss as to how to do more nest boxes. The chickens can't fly into them, and if I turned the top one and put a fourth next to it there would be no platform for them to jump up on to walk into it.
 
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Barry42001

Songster
Jan 14, 2016
313
254
137
Venus, Florida. 33960
I actually use milk crates from the supermarket. I get wire ties to link them together. Each milk crates in individual nest box. Stand on end link 4 together 4 more on top link to bottom crates and together. A 1 x 3 across the bottom of opening of each set of nest boxes serve as a cleat to keep straw and eggs in and a place for chickens to land and get in somewhat gracefully if graceful can ever apply to chickens lol.
 

Barry42001

Songster
Jan 14, 2016
313
254
137
Venus, Florida. 33960
I actually use milk crates from the supermarket. I get wire ties to link them together. Each milk crates in individual nest box. Stand on end link 4 together 4 more on top link to bottom crates and together. A 1 x 3 across the bottom of opening of each set of nest boxes serve as a cleat to keep straw and eggs in and a place for chickens to land and get in somewhat gracefully if graceful can ever apply to chickens lol.
 

tweetzone86

Songster
Jul 23, 2018
322
379
161
Kootenai County, ID
I actually use milk crates from the supermarket. I get wire ties to link them together. Each milk crates in individual nest box. Stand on end link 4 together 4 more on top link to bottom crates and together. A 1 x 3 across the bottom of opening of each set of nest boxes serve as a cleat to keep straw and eggs in and a place for chickens to land and get in somewhat gracefully if graceful can ever apply to chickens lol.

Our supermarket doesn't have crates available to the general public :(

So could I apply the same principle to the rubbermaid totes? Stack 2 on top of 2 (to make 4 total) and just put a 1x3 on there? The hole is cut so that there's a 2.5" lip at the bottom to prevent eggs from falling in, and the birds have stepped on it without issue, but can they hop up and get in it without a "landing pad"? If so, I can easily make another nest box in about ten minutes...

Can you show me a pic of your setup? I'm not 100% sure I'm understanding what you mean regarding the 1x3 :)
 

Barry42001

Songster
Jan 14, 2016
313
254
137
Venus, Florida. 33960
1 inch thick x 3 inch wide ( actually 3/4 inch x 2 3/4inch wide attach 2 3/4 wide side to open end of your Tupperware box so the 2 3/4 wide forms a 2 3/4 lip all the way across the boards come long enough go easily across 3 boxes no need to cut hole in bottom.. use whole open end the "lip " will provide atleast a 2 in layer of straw or hay for the chickens to get comfy and not kick all the bedding out.
 
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MANNA-PRO

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