Hens laying eggs somewhere other than nest box...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by AMA Chick, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. AMA Chick

    AMA Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2012
    Glasgow KY
    I have 7 EE's in my coop, with an attached enclosed run. There are 2 external nest boxes on the coop. I left a couple of eggs in the nest boxes to show the girls where to lay, and the first one to start laying did lay her eggs there. The problem came when the next hen started laying. She is laying in the farthest corner, which make me have to crawl up into the coop to get the eggs. And, she's a bad influence! Not only has the first layer started laying there too, but the next 2 have followed suit. I have kept the eggs in the nest box, but they push them out, and still don't lay their eggs there.
    I've tried blocking the spot they are using, but they push stuff out of the way and lay there anyway.
    Any advice on getting them to lay in the nest boxes? I'm getting tired of climbing in the coop!

    Thanks for any advice you have. I am really enjoying my chickens, a big surprise since I'm scared of birds!!!
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012
  2. patrickj

    patrickj Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 18, 2011
    I don't have an answer, but will join the thread in hopes of some help like you. I have 8 7 month old girls and they lay plenty of eggs, even though it's cold here in Texas the past few weeks, but not in the next boxes. My neighbor said my original boxes were too open with too much light. I put tarps around the coop and tops on the nest boxes, (they were open before at the top), nice little nest of staw...but everywhere but the boxes is where they lay :)

    I have been placing the eggs I find in the nest boxes to give them the idea but nothing yet. Lately I've found two or three in the corner of the coop in the bedding...so, that's easy.

    Let's see if someone has other ideas.
  3. AMA Chick

    AMA Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2012
    Glasgow KY
    I'm surprised, I really thought I would get lots of good advice from the experienced chicken keepers here. :(
  4. 20736

    20736 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 6, 2012
    I have had this problem with young pullets laying their first eggs, and with old gals in the Winter (like now) short days. I can get into my coop easily, so I pick them up. Sometimes they go under the coop and I don't see them for a couple days. It is all a part of the chicken experience in my book. I am going to close off under the coop this spring, so that will be that.
    I have dummy eggs I keep in the nests, and most of my eggs get laid there. But there is always one.
  5. kreagerm

    kreagerm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 11, 2012
    They often like to lay in the darker areas.

    I know my birds started laying in the nest boxes but then all of a sudden started going into the corners where it's darker. Maybe this is the issue.
  6. RedheadErin

    RedheadErin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 30, 2011
    How do you get them to go to the nest boxes in the first place?
  7. Adorkable

    Adorkable Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 23, 2010
    lol someone just messaged me about this. I have trained a few of my free range pullets and hens to lay in nestboxes before so I will copy/past my response on here in hopes that it might help someone else.

    My girls free range and when I notice that one of them goes off on their own for at least an hour several days in a row and I can't find them for the life of me it's usually because their laying their eggs somewhere and hiding them.

    The process usually takes about a week or two and requires a bit of patience on your part. What I do is keep them locked up in their run for a week or two with a cat litter box in the run.The larger covered kind. I put pine shavings in it and put in the corner of their run. They will usually start laying in that or lay inside the coop in a corner somewhere. If the pullet/hen in question lays in the litter box after a couple of eggs from her I will move the litter box inside the coop and they will usually start laying in there. Then I just move it closer to the nest boxes and eventually after a couple of days or so remove it and most of the time they will start laying in the nestboxes.

    Usually when the chicken in question lays in the litter box I will let them all out to free range for the rest of the day. No egg in the litter box then no free range time for them.

    When they start laying in a corner of the coop I stalk them till I see one nesting in the corner then I walk into the coop and gently usher them toward the nest boxes and they either freak out and leave the coop or happily go in the box... I keep doing this til they eventually lay in the boxes. If they are one of your friendlier chickens that allows you to pick her up the I pick her up and gently place her in the nestbox til she stays!

    It requires a bit of time, chicken stalking and patience but it has worked very well for me. I have managed to train 5 out of 6 pullets to lay in the nestboxes.

    Hope this helps someone. Let me know if you try it [​IMG]

    Edited because I wanted to be a little bit more thorough.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    There is no fast and hard rules on this but here is my experience with laying hens of every kind and description, raised, kept, or walked in every conceivable manner.

    Hens don't give a cluck about which nest that we humans want them to use. Hens will usually lay on the ground especially when they start laying in preparation to sitting. Everything being equal, eggs pipped on the ground hatch better than eggs set in a raised nest box because of the moisture or humidity rising from the Earth. That is the reason that the humidity is raised or the wet bub temp is lowered the last couple of days in a mechanical incubator or hatcher. Hens know this instinctively and chose a nest location to head off trouble. They aren't trying to make things harder on you.

    The exception to the soil is best rule is when the hen lays white eggs. Then they will more likely choose a covered nest box because of the protection from the Sun's rays this type of nest provides the eggs.
  9. arcy liger

    arcy liger Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2012
    i only place things on the place where they lay (heavy things) if they go on another spot place things on the other without removing from the first place
    as Adorkable said gently place them in the box i think it will work
  10. arcy liger

    arcy liger Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2012
    good luck[​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012

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