Eggs not in nesting box


Jul 11, 2022
Brand new chicken owner here. I have 4 red sex link hens. I just got them about a month ago and they started laying within the last 3 weeks. I built nesting boxes on my coop and only 1 of the 4 uses them. The other 3 all go in the corner under their roost bar. I think one may be going on the roost bar and dropping the egg, ugh.

I added ceramic eggs first to the next boxes. I think that taught the one. The others are stubborn. I added straw this past weekend to see if that would make it seem more inviting to them. That doesn't seem to help. Since this is a coop I built and also my first time with chickens, I'm wondering if I did something wrong. Right now I have a hanging basket holder blocking the area where they like to go. They just went to side of it anyways.


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It is a habit you want to break. But it seems like you’re doing everything right. You can experiment with different nesting material and see if that makes a difference. I’ve had chickens for a few years and sometimes, for a period of days or weeks, I will find nests made on the floor of the coop with one or several eggs in them. With them being new to laying, they may just be trying things out. Give them some time and keep the ceramic eggs in the nesting boxes to encourage them. But try pine shavings or something in one of the nesting boxes.
As far as dropping eggs off the roost, this usually happens with mine when they first start laying, particularly if they're laying soft shelled eggs.(something that often happens when they first start laying) However one they've settled down this will often resolve by itself.
Probably inconvenient, but try removing the sand/PDZ in the poop catch area for a few days and see if that discourages them from using the spot. They may be liking the substrate there and preferring it over the straw.
I don’t see any reason to break the habit or even be worried you’ve done something wrong. If they want to lay their eggs elsewhere let them but leave the nest box available.

I had a hen that never laid in the box, but eventually most of the others did. It’s their natural behavior.

In my experience a large and airy box is preferred over a small box more often than not. Chickens raise themselves into a squat when they push out the egg and they like to build nests in the spot they choose. It could simply be the nest boxes aren’t deep enough or large enough. Or it could be they just don’t want to use the box and like the ground more. You’ve done nothing wrong but did learn that chickens have their own ideas about where they want to lay their eggs.

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