Hen laying from her perch...

momo08

Hatching
11 Years
Oct 13, 2008
7
0
7
Maine
Hi All!
I'm new to chickens and this site, and I need some help. I've been reading the forum for a bit, so I know you all know so much!! I have 9 hens, 6 Rhode Island Reds and 3 Bantams of some sort. The RIR's are about 4 1/2 mos., and the bantams 5 1/2 mos. One of my girls started laying 2 days ago, which is wonderful. However, she is laying from her perch, which is 8 ft. up in the rafter of the chicken shed, rather than using a nesting box. Somehow one egg managed not to break, but the 2 others have been broken when we get to them. (They do look broken from a fall, not from pecking).

Any suggestions as to how I could get her to stop laying from up on her perch and use a nesting box? I had thought of covering the rafters so they would have to use the wall perch (shorter distance for the egg to fall), however they do seem to like sleeping way up there. It could be more than one hen laying, but I've only been finding 1 egg per day so far. The hens do free range on our 2 1/2 acres, so it is possible that they are hiding eggs somewhere, but none that I have found other than the cracked ones on the floor of the hen house.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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redoak

Songster
11 Years
Feb 27, 2008
3,267
40
211
Russia, NY
One of my buff orpingtons layed her first 2 eggs from the roost. The third egg she layed in the nest boxes. Do you have any golf balls, ping-pong balls or fake eggs in the nest boxes?
 

Enchanted Sunrise Farms

Crowing
12 Years
Apr 26, 2007
4,255
48
274
Fair Oaks, California
A couple of my hens dropped eggs from their perch when they first started laying. But finally figured out the nest box. i agree with redoak, put some wooden eggs, or even real eggs in the nest boxes so she gets the idea.
 

momo08

Hatching
11 Years
Oct 13, 2008
7
0
7
Maine
Thanks! I don't have any golf balls or fake eggs, so I'll try a couple of real eggs tonight and see what I find in the morning.

 

suept

Hatching
11 Years
Oct 14, 2008
2
0
6
If I could add a question to this thread..
I have 4 RIR. 2 are now laying over night either off the perch or right on the coop floor. This week they have taken to eating one of the eggs before I get to them in the morning. I have tried to leave the coop door open incase they were "bored" and wanted out. Last night I put plastic bags on the coop floor and only succeeded in freaking them out. This morning same thing. Advice?
 

suept

Hatching
11 Years
Oct 14, 2008
2
0
6
I do not have any pictures right now. The coop sits 2 feet above the ground, is 4x8 and has a wire floor. I have one long perch across the 8' wide side and just added two lower diagnol placed perches ( to try to give them less room on the floor.
The nesting box if anything is too wide.. maybe 18" across. I have 2 fake eggs in the nesting box. I just added oyster shell to their feed to make their shells harder(?).
Do you think it makes a difference if the rooster is in with them?
Thanks.
 

momo08

Hatching
11 Years
Oct 13, 2008
7
0
7
Maine
New question:
When I go to work I have to let the hens out of their coop about an hour and a half earlier than when I stay home. This must be before my girl was laying, because today there were no eggs, not even broken ones. The decoy eggs had been moved around a bit, so I know someone noticed them. How are you supposed to find eggs from your free ranged birds??? I want to build a run, but we are building our own house right now and have very little time. Any ideas? We have nine birds living in a recently build, unfinished (no windows yet) 6 x 8 coop that I simply open the door and let the girls run free.
 

12 Acres

Songster
11 Years
Mar 23, 2008
409
5
141
Oak Harbor, OH
This is a behavior they will outgrow. It happens when they are inexperienced and still learning where the eggs are supposed to go. Golf balls are very helpful with new layers still learning the ropes.
 

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