Established hens now laying outside of nest boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by EgginaNest, Feb 26, 2014.

  1. EgginaNest

    EgginaNest Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 8, 2013
    Weatherford, Tx
    I have 12 hens and 1 roo. I just introduced 6 "new" laying hens to my 6 old girls a week ago. The integration has been okay so far as night time but when they free range during the day they still segregate into two groups with my bantam SLW roo running his little legs off trying to keep up. (He was thought to be a full size hen when purchased). I'm not really worried about the integration because they stay in two group of 6 while ranging.

    Yesterday, to my surprise, I had 4 of my "old" lay their eggs in a nest of leaves behind some shrubs by my house instead of their normal nest boxes in their coop. Is this "normal"? I know, I know, nothing is really normal!
     
  2. KayTee

    KayTee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 21, 2012
    South West France
    You're right, Egginanest, nothing (or everything, depending on your point of view) is normal for chickens! How many nest boxes have you got? If one of your old girls needed to lay and couldn't find an empty nest, maybe she improvised by making a nest in the bushes, and then others naturally followed her example.
     
  3. EgginaNest

    EgginaNest Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 8, 2013
    Weatherford, Tx
    There are 4 nest boxes, KayTee. I have noticed that when more than one is ready to lay they sometimes will wait until a certain box is unoccupied instead of going to an empty one. I didn't think about the others seeing an egg in the leaves and then following example. I guess as long as I can find the eggs, I won't worry about it. Thanks!
     
  4. KayTee

    KayTee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 21, 2012
    South West France
    I have 5 girls and 7 nest boxes (a long story involving rescue hens, a new layer who is looking for the most bizarre place possible to lay, and a donated additional coop!) When I only had 3 girls and 2 nest boxes they would all wait to lay in the same 'favourite' box, and would wait until it was free - totally ignoring the empty nest box next to it [​IMG]

    If all your girls are laying then maybe only 4 boxes for 12 girls could be pushing it a bit at 'rush hour' - is it possible for you to add another box or two somewhere in the coop or run? It really doesn't have to be anything more than a large cardboard box with a bit of straw in. My 7th box (added on top of the main nesting area for my new layer who has to be a low as possible to roost and as high as possible to lay [​IMG]) is actually just the box my new hoover came in!

    The other solution is leaving a fake (or real) egg in a nesting box that is rarely used, as that can also help to persuade your girls to use it - if they see that one hen has laid there then they assume it's a good place (hence your new nest behind the shrubs.)
     
  5. EgginaNest

    EgginaNest Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 8, 2013
    Weatherford, Tx
    I do have room for a couple more boxes. Two of the boxes are not even being used by the girls :/ I am going to try the fake egg trick for a couple days to see if that works. When I got home this afternoon, there were four eggs in the one box, three empty boxes and two eggs in the shrubs.
     
  6. gary1234

    gary1234 New Egg

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    Oct 22, 2013
    No changes to flock, however, found eggs in flowerbed away fron hen house.
     

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