Hen laying in an odd spot...what to do?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BANTAMWYANDOTTE, May 8, 2011.



    Mar 2, 2011
    Ok, this is a very hard question for me to figure out on my own so I need the help of BYC's chicken experts to help me.

    I have around 18 years experience with raising, breeding and keeping chickens. I have had all types of chickens and love them dearly. Today I have six Red Sex-Link hens that are in my "laying" flock. Though they are confined all the time (to protect my vegetable garden) they still produce five eggs a day. This is a good sign because unhappy hens do not lay an egg. They are not flighty or aggressive and are somewhat friendly. They are kept with a above-average size Hew Hampshire red rooster (12 lbs). I need fertile eggs for incubation so that my girls (now three years old) can retire next year and the offspring can take there place. My retired girls will then be moved to a new coop until they pass on. (I simply don't have the heart to eat them)

    Here is the problem:

    One of my girls is laying her eggs on the floor of the coop. I noticed it about four days ago and never thought about it twice. I became concerned but not overly. I simply expected it was not done one purpose. After four days of eggs on the floor I am wondering, how to correct this or if there is a problem with the coop or nests that I am not aware of. I know that fake eggs work to encourage them to use the nest but I use golf balls and it works. (all the nests have one)

    Remember these all live together and I have no idea which hen is doing this. They have been in this coop around three months and all appear to be happy. I picked them up one at a time and listened for respiration troubles and none sounded bad. None had mites or any other symptom of disease. I looked on the floor and found no signs of loose stools. They were dusted around two weeks ago but only for maintenance not because any of them had mites. The only resent possible stress they could have had was when I re-homed three hens for retirement but nothing else.

    Simply put....I am very lost. There is some information online but it all pertains to the hens health or the height or quality of the nests. The nest are below the roost and are all well-bedded with pine wood shavings. The nests are around 2 - 2.5 feet off the ground and are lower than the roost. None of them roost on the nests but sometime the lower ranking hens will perch there during the day if is hot out. The nests are twelve by twelve and are VERY clean. The six hens have access to four different nests that are very far apart. I know that hens prefer to lay in place that is dark but these hens have been using these nests (or exact copies in a different coop) for a very long time and I've never had this problem. Each nest gets one egg a day except one that gets too. The nest with two eggs is no different than the others and is set up exactly the same.

    ANY IDEAS? All advice appreciated!

    Pictures of the coop: The hen on the nest simply refused to move until I left. (I have to check if she roosts on the nest and correct her)

    Look what a big pretty rooster:


    The entire flock:


    The coop:


    The tin around the nest prevents a draft and the roof does not leak:

  2. mpguay

    mpguay Songster

    Apr 27, 2011
    He is very handsome. is he also nice to the girls?

    listening for answers... I also have a girl that wont lay in the provided next boxes.


    Mar 2, 2011
    He is quite the Romeo with them. They are older than he is and their feathers are "fuzzing" at times due to his weight, but he is pretty good. He is the only Heavy-Breed rooster I have ever seen fight with a rooster (by accident) and kill the other rooster. The odd part of this is that the other rooster was an American Gamefowl! He is a very gentle guy with people though. I have had some people question his breed thinking he was a Production Red but I assure you he is simply a non-show quality EXTRA LARGE New Hampshire Rooster.

    The breed combination of him and the hens produces a egg-layer type hen that weigh 10 lbs and still lay six eggs a week like there mom's!

  4. jbrown_14105

    jbrown_14105 In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2010
    This answer is no help but it is chicken behavior anyway....

    A neighbor down the road has about 20 or so hens of various breeds & a rooster, all free range and go to a small "hen house" -"barn tool shed" for the evening.
    Here is the jist of the letter....
    One (and only one) of the RIR hens he has will everyday fly over to his large welding shop (20 foot garage door) and fly up into a hanging galvanized "bushel basket" that is hanging up on the wall with many tools (basket is empty now).
    The hen EVERYDAY flies up into the basket, lays her egg and then flies out....this has gotten so regular he has kept the basket "clean" and he has tried to break her of the habit but she always finds the galvanized tub! So now he just has it hung & kept clean.
    The other hens will lay in the hen house, but this one seems to prefer the basket, and he claims he has watched her enough (working in his shop on farming equipment) that he knows it is a regular occurrence with her.
    He is a kind & gentle man so he just lets her do her thing!...and collect the egg!
    Jim Brown
    Lockport NY area
  5. wowmanacat

    wowmanacat Songster

    Apr 1, 2011
    Oak Grove AR
    I have one that I know for sure is laying on the floor and there might be one more if she ever starts to lay. They are battery chicken that I got from the auction., I am not to worried about it for I check for eggs all the time.
    Battery chickens never see the light of day or a next box and breaking them of laying on the floor is not a worry to me.
  6. hennyannie

    hennyannie Songster

    Mar 12, 2011
    North Carolina
    My cousin tells me that her RSL hens will lay an egg on the roost before daylight, she goes out to feed before work and theres an egg on the floor below the roost. My RSL seem to have favorite nest boxes and will lay in the floor verses using one of the other less popular boxes.I have 20 RSL and they will sometimes lay in 2/3 boxes. I have to collect early on they run out of room.
  7. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    The first thing I would suspect is that it's the lowest ranking hen, and she's being bullied out of preferred nest boxes by the higher ranking hens. I would try adding another nestbox (even a portable one, put it right on the floor where the hen is laying), and I'd also put golf balls or fake eggs in two or more nests.

    Sometimes a hen will just have her own ideas about these things, too. Every time our flock is free ranging and Glinda feels the egg laying urge, she tries to fly up on top of the roof of the run and nest there. Silly girl.
  8. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    One of my Welsummer hens lays an egg on the ground if it has lots of white bloom on it. In other words, I find it on the ground and it has white bloom on it.

    I think she must sense that it wouldn't be good enough for a chick to hatch out of for some reason. I have found no problems with these eggs when we eat them. It is just odd that every time I find an egg on the ground it looks funny like that. No problem with the shell thickness or anything.

    Hens are picky about their eggs and what is in their nests, I have found. I am theorizing that maybe the hen thinks her egg isn't good enough?

    Just a thought- this probably isn't the reason. I just wanted to share my experience.
  9. jbrown_14105

    jbrown_14105 In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2010
    Oh and by the way one (or more) of my hens if let out of the chicken coop too early will eventually go over to the Bunny Barn (find the bunny poo manure pile) and then lay an egg in the fresh bale of green hay (baled orchard grass) that we open up a bit and feed the rabbits.
    Usually near the corner by the bale & the building, nice & tite!
    Jim Brown
    Lockport NY (nearby)

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