Help! My 7 month old hen has been laying without my knowledge.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by SilentHallow, Oct 2, 2014.

  1. SilentHallow

    SilentHallow New Egg

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    We have two hens, our first chickens. They have free range of our backyard morning through evening until they cooperatively go into their coop at 7 p.m every night, though, I've noticed one of my hens Nina, a Red New Hampshire had been hopping into the tall grass for the past 3 days, mind you they adventure everywhere they think they can fit into, dog house, under the bench, rabbit hutch, garden, anywhere. So I thought this was just her normal roaming behavior. It was not until tonight, at 6 p.m that my mom had noticed she disappeared into it for a seemingly long time, not to mention the cooing sounds she was hearing, she called me out and I decided to take a look, I gently lifted Nina up and revealed she had been hiding 5 eggs!! But I haven't seen her doing this for more than three days? Not to mention we tested the eggs to see if they were no good and they all were very much still fresh. Which could hardly be possible as they've been out there for so long, in high 90 degree California weather, My questions are, Why did she not lay in the coop? Is it possible for her to lay 5 eggs in 3 days when this is her first week laying? How long do they stay fresh if they are left outside? If she is comfortable with laying there should I let her continue to? I'm sorry I am just very inexperienced but I am eager to learn and do what is best for her. Thank you :)
     
  2. evemfoster

    evemfoster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The eggs should be good outside for quite some time. In other countries eggs are usually stored on the kitchen counter. So a few days outside isn't that big a deal. Your chicken may have laid some of the eggs in the grass a couple days earlier than you thought.

    Chickens lay wherever they think is a good spot. I have a hen that lays in a box in the corner by the back door. So i just make sure i check there when i am checking for eggs. But you can try moving the nesting spot a little bit at a them until you get her to the nest boxes.
     
  3. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Congratulations on those first eggs! :ya You did good finding that hidden nest so early! She has probably been hiding those eggs for longer than you think, hens very very rarely will lay more than one egg day, so the first egg was probably a week or so ago. X2, unwashed eggs are good for quite a while, in Europe they don't wash or refrigerate them and they consider them fine for 30 days, 90* is warmer than you want to store them at for best quality, but as long as the shell isn't cracked they should still be fine to eat. (You probably want to do the float test on them and crack them in a bowl individually just to be sure, in case some are older than you think.)
    Why she didn't lay in the coop... you can try locking them in the coop for a few days to get them in the habit of laying eggs in the nests, be sure your nests are attractive to a chicken, dark, secluded, plenty of nesting material etc, have fake eggs or golf balls in the nests to tempt them (hens like to lay eggs where other hens have laid eggs). With free range birds, if they have access to a lot of places outside that they would consider a good place to hide egg you may have problems anyhow... I wind up putting "hidden" nests outside for them and just collecting eggs out of them like normal (old dog houses, buckets etc) it seems to keep the girls that want to hide eggs happy and I still get the eggs.
    And, Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC!
     
  4. nayeli

    nayeli Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Was she sitting on them? You say hiding eggs which makes me think she might be broody. If you don't have a roo (reading your post I don't think you do) I would take them away now! You know how to do an egg check so no issue. You do NOT want eggs exploding so collect them! I'd leave one where you want her to lay!
     
  5. chad05gsa

    chad05gsa Out Of The Brooder

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    I just recently went through this as well. Only exception was I had three laying in all different locations. also let mine free range all day as well. I ended up just keeping them in the coop/pen. I did this for a week and still leave them locked in until all have layed.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

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    Good advice.
     
  7. 7 Biddies

    7 Biddies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    I had one hiding hers under the porch. She wouldn't come in at night either. So, when I finally caught her, I kept them all in the pen for a week. When I let them out after that, she came in every night and continued to lay in the nest box. No further problems! It was like "rebooting" her. Apparently, their long-term memories aren't great.

    BTW All 5 eggs were still good.
     

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