Help please!! Advice on my hens hidden nest


Jul 30, 2015
I have ten free ranging hens and have wondered for quite some tie why we are only getting 3 - 4 eggs a day. today I followed one of them that leaves the group a lot. She led me to a nest behind my neighbors house that has about 30 eggs in it !! I was shocked. So now what???? What do I do with all those eggs? Are my other hens laying somewhere else?? How do I get her to lay in the coop?? I am a first time chicken owner so I don't know about any of this. Any advice will be greatly appreciated!!

Pork Pie

Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Jan 30, 2015
Personally I'd trash the eggs. If you only have layers, I'd keep them in the coop until around lunchtime and the let them out. They normally lay during morning time, so keeping them in the coop should encourage them to use the nests. If you do happen to find a hen preparing to lay, gently pick them up and place them in a nest and close the coop door.

I'm sure other members have other suggestions, but it's what I have done with success.

Good luck



Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop

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 3-4 days can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests.

They can be confined to coop 24/7 for a few days to a week, 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.


In the Brooder
Mar 18, 2016
We are new to chicken keeping as well and we have 5 hens and a rooster - who has really been doing his job to the best of his abilities! (I saw him tag 3 hens in an hour one evening). While we were letting our brooder chicks run around outside this morning my daughter and I saw one of our hens dart out of the hedge doing the "laid and egg" cackle. We've heard this cackle a lot lately but haven't always found an egg in the coop. (They choose to lay underneath the nest boxes instead of in them so I've got plans to modify the boxes so hopefully they'll lay in them instead.) We checked and there were 19 eggs hidden in the giant rosemary bush on the other side of the hedge. I'm guessing they're only about 2 weeks old because that's when our numbers began dropping. We got 33 eggs from the girls in February but in March there's been several days with no eggs at all. I brought the eggs in and I had the kids help me candle and float test them. We saw no signs of veining and they all passed the float test.

Now I'm wondering what to do about the hidden nest. I do occasionally re-train them to the coop when they begin wandering across the road (we're quite rural but still on a main road with light traffic). Do I just regularly check the hidden nest and mark the laid date? I'd remove any non-viable eggs beyond about the 2 week mark after candling. The dog loves eggs when he gets them. This also makes me wonder if our rooster is fertile which would be a disappointment if he's not because we saved him from the stew pot and he's a beautiful Croad Langshan.

Any help would be appreciated.

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