Hen dropping eggs outside nesting box

Amfrolia

Chirping
5 Years
Sep 17, 2015
37
2
79
I have a black Austrolorp that will sometimes leave the nesting box before her egg is out completely. I have caught her a few times hunched over and watched her finish popping the egg out onto the ground. I have even caught it in my hand a couple of times. Lately she does it almost every time and the other chickens see it or see her doing it and immediately break the egg and eat it. Luckily they have not gone after eggs in the nesting box. Any suggestions?
 

Riche Bronson

Songster
Aug 23, 2015
126
244
147
Utah
Is there a reason she’s leaving early? Sometimes mine will leave the nesting box before they lay if they have another hen (or two) breathing down their neck because they want in it. Maybe you need more nesting boxes, or to somehow make it where this one, who is maybe easily pressured, can be left alone while she’s doing her thing? I have several who like the same box, and who also lay close to the same time, so I have to kind of supervise the rotation or the other two will stand there and bully her to get out. You said the others hang around and watch and when she drops the egg they swoop in and eat it- maybe they’ve come to think of her as the snack delivery chicken, and if they pressure her for the egg- they get it. Being as food oriented as chickens are, they learn quickly. Maybe some simple retraining is in order- until they forget that this hen is the bringer of the treats?
 

PouleNoire

Crowing
Sep 13, 2015
1,068
1,080
257
Pennsylvania
I just thought of another thing you could try; nesting box curtains. They will help with privacy inside the boxes if she feeling stressed is the issue, which I believe has at least something to do with it.
 

Riche Bronson

Songster
Aug 23, 2015
126
244
147
Utah
I just thought of another thing you could try; nesting box curtains. They will help with privacy inside the boxes if she feeling stressed is the issue, which I believe has at least something to do with it.
We’re on the same page! I’m home all day and can hear when mine are making a ruckus (and know which ruckus means what), so I can go out, shoo the bullies away, and even close the door to the coop if they’re persistent and won’t leave her alone until she lays, and then go back and let her out as soon as she’s finished. I realize not everyone has the ability to watch that closely, so the curtains idea is a good one!
Amfrolia, you might even separate the austalorp in question away from the others for a couple days until they forget about deeming her “the bringer of treats”- especially if the curtains don’t help. While chickens are quick learners, they’re also quick forgetters so they’re fairly easy to break of bad habits, in my experience. Good luck!
 

RWise

Songster
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
1,270
1,011
216
Oakhurst Oklahoma
I find eggs in the coop floor from time to time, or even in the yard/run. Can be from the nest being busy, or dropped at night, or just a new girl not knowing what to do. But the hens have never went after one of these eggs! They will look it over, and then leave it be! I myself would cull any hen that breaks a good hard shelled egg open! No mater where they found it!!!
 

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