Found a hidden nest with an accumulated stash of eggs

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Maggies Farm, Jan 25, 2015.

  1. Maggies Farm

    Maggies Farm Hatching

    Jan 25, 2015
    Northern California
    I have 7 chickens, three of which are only recently of egg-laying age. On average I get about 4 eggs daily. I have a two-part problem- First, they have been using only one out of the four nesting boxes. They refuse to use the other three, choosing to wait it out until one of the other girls vacates the favored box. They lay their eggs right on top of each other's. Today I literally found them waiting in line like they were placing a fast food order! Then shortly after, I discovered a hidden nest in the yard (my birds are free range) behind a wood pile under my deck. There were 8 eggs there! So, two questions- how do I fix this issue? And how long do uncollected eggs stay good? Since I have no idea how long these 8 eggs were laying there, do I need to throw them all away? Do cold temps work in my favor? Although it's cold at night, temps during the day are still getting up to 50s and even 60s some days. Should I just toss them?

    Any feedback greatly appreciated!

    - Maggie
  2. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Songster

    Nov 30, 2007
    emmet MI
    Waiting in line and using the same nest box is totally normal. To fix the outside laying, you could try keeping your chickens in the coop until noon or so. That will make/teach them to lay inside. They should have the idea after about a week.
  3. WthrLady

    WthrLady Songster

    Jul 24, 2014
    WestOak, Nebraska
    And toss the mystery eggs.
  4. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. .....

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop

    X 2 on both counts.
  5. Maggies Farm

    Maggies Farm Hatching

    Jan 25, 2015
    Northern California
    Thank you for your reply :) Your advice makes perfect sense and happy to try it out, except I have one problem... when I don't let them out at first light they make a VERY loud fuss until I let them out. While I have a rather large backyard, I am surrounded by neighbors on all sides and they will want to string me up by weeks end. Any other solutions?
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Do you have a fenced run attached to the coop? Let them into the run with a little scratch in the morning, and let them out in the yard later in the afternoon. Better yet, keep them in the coop and run for several days, hopefully to discourage the surprise nests. You might only have one bird laying eggs out there. If that extra nest remains, at least you can find the eggs daily and use them. "When in doubt, throw it out" are words to live by when it comes to food items! Mary
    aart likes this.
  7. SunkenRoadFarms

    SunkenRoadFarms Chirping

    Sep 11, 2014
    I would toss the eggs from the hidden nest. Also, golf balls in all the boxes taught my hens to use all the boxes. Like yours they would wait and fight over the one favorite box.
  8. Rayraye

    Rayraye In the Brooder

    Oct 7, 2016
    Eggs float in water if they are no good...or crack each one into a dish first before using to make sure theyre okay. A hidden stash means theyve laid an egg each day there. My wee Frizzle Banty does just that. When I finally find her nest...she finds another hidey place lol. Found 10 eggs...all hers! Took me 10 days to find where she was going & that was the longest. I usually find her nest about the 4th day each time. All eggs have been fine. She just wants to Brood.
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Floaters are older, not necessarily 'bad'.....breaking each, one at time, into a dish before adding to pan or recipe definitely a good're nose will tell you if it's ok or not.


    Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for a week or so can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop and maybe run 24/7 for a few days to a week, provided you have adequate space and ventilation, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: