Hen not satisfied with nest boxes and stressing out.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by StephanieC, Jan 1, 2015.

  1. StephanieC

    StephanieC Out Of The Brooder

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    May 8, 2014
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    My 10 month old EE, Spot, is behaving strangely the last couple of weeks.

    She has always gotten pretty anxious when she feels her egg coming, and has a habit of frantically pacing back and forth along our screen porch, sometimes for hours. In the past she has always eventually settled on one of the two nest boxes, one in the coop and one under the kids' play set. She does make it clear that what she wants is to come lay somewhere on the kitchen porch, but this just isn't practical.

    The past week or so, she has ended up dropping her eggs in the middle of the yard. My theory is that she is so stressed from her inability to find anywhere she considers acceptable to lay that she ends up with the egg just coming out on its own wherever she happens to be at the time. Kind of like a kid holding their bladder until it becomes an emergency.

    No one is blocking her from using a nest box, she goes in and out of them during this process, just not being able to get happy with them. And nothing that I can discern has changed about the nest boxes.

    Any thoughts or suggestions? Has anyone experienced this before?
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Maybe she doesn't feel safe in either location?

    Do you have a secure coop for night time safety and with nests in it?

    I prefer my girls to lay in their coop nests, for my convenience and their safety.

    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 2-3 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.
     
  3. StephanieC

    StephanieC Out Of The Brooder

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    May 8, 2014
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    She did lay in the coop nest box today. It seems to make a difference whether or not we are home. If she sees one of us she figures she has a chance for the kitchen porch. Or so I surmise...really have no clue what she is thinking.

    I did let her lay in an extra nest box I had sitting on the porch one day, because her pacing was getting to me and I thought, what the heck? But she seems to have gotten it in her head now that the box she got into that day is The Spot. So probably my fault.
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I hate to have to state the obvious. Either retrain her to lay in the coop boxes or let her have her nest on the porch.

    She's probably a high-strung girl, and is easily stressed when faced with decisions. She would fare much better if she could simply lay in the same place every time. I would try to make that possible for her.
     
  5. StephanieC

    StephanieC Out Of The Brooder

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    May 8, 2014
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    Stating the obvious is fine, I am still new at this, and thanks for the input.

    This is a new problem, and clearly one of my own making. The day I let Spot onto the porch to lay, she hadn't laid in four days and I was pampering her, worried she had stopped laying and might not start again, because she lays the best eggs of my flock. Beautiful 58-62 gram turquoise eggs.

    At any rate, she laid in the coop nest box yesterday, so we'll see what happens with the next egg.

    The porch just isn't practical because there isn't free Ingress and egress, and it often takes her half the day to settle down and lay once she feels the egg coming. Not to mention that if one of the flock has made it to the porch, the rest want in, too!

    Perhaps part of the psychology is that my flock was raised on the kitchen porch, and they have never quite accepted being booted off of it, so to speak.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I take it the porch is where they were brooded and matured. If that's so, then they've imprinted on the porch as being "home".

    When they were moved into the coop, were they closed up for several days until they became comfortable with being in it? Perhaps they need a refresher course, being enclosed in the coop for several days, so it is reinforced that this is where they conduct all their "bidness". Afterwards, keep access to the porch closed off.

    It wouldn't be the first time a chicken keeper found this necessary to do. Sometimes you have to educate them to adopt the habits you want them to have.
     
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  7. StephanieC

    StephanieC Out Of The Brooder

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    Seems I have been asking the wrong question all along. Have a look, if anyone is still interested, in the new thread I am just starting, relating to this thread.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    A link to the new thread would be helpful.
     

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