Hens pushing eggs out of nesting box.... maybe.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by LauraP, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. LauraP

    LauraP Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 29, 2009
    High Rock Lake, NC
    Hello all [​IMG]

    Background info:
    I have three black australorp hens. We use plastic cat litter containers with the lid cut to be smaller, then glued on for nesting boxes. They are positioned under the poop board, which is under the roost, of course. When the first girl (Charlotte) started laying a couple months ago, she did it routinely on the floor in front of the one nesting box. I tried to encourage her to use the box, using a golf ball, to no avail. Finally I moved the nesting box over to cover up the spot where she was laying, and it worked. She started laying in the box. Then the second girl (Ethel) started laying, and she laid all the way over on the other side of the hen house, over in a corner near the feeders. I had meant to add a second nesting box all along, and thought maybe there was competition for the one box, so I added another one, beside the first, and they are turned to face each other (I have also tried facing them the same direction- out into the henhouse, but they didn't seem to care either way). Eventually the eggs started being laid on the right side of the hen house. Sometimes they were in the boxes, sometimes on the floor in front of the boxes, in between the boxes. Then the third girl (Lucy) started laying, right before the weather turned cold. She also seemed to be laying randomly in the boxes or on the floor outside the boxes. Since the weather turned cold there have been less eggs. I can't tell the difference between who lays or who doesn't. Some days we get one egg and sometimes 2, but never 3 in one day so far.

    So here's the problem:
    Lately we keep finding cracked eggs on the hen house floor. They are in the same places as usual, just outside the nesting boxes. I have seen a chicken push a golf ball out of the nesting box before, and I think that's what is happening to the eggs. I don't know if the same chicken lays the egg, then pushes it out, or if a different chicken comes along and pushes her sister's egg out of the nest.

    Here's what the setup looks like, except, we have a second nesting box in there facing the other one now.

    Has anyone had similar problems? Any ideas or suggestions?


  2. LauraP

    LauraP Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 29, 2009
    High Rock Lake, NC
  3. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Sounds like they are pretty determined, if they are pushing them out over the lip of the cut lid. That would be enough of a drop to crack an egg. The only time I've seen mine push eggs out of the nests was when she was broody, otherwise they ignore everything else.
    You could try the orangy ping/pong balls similar in color to the brown eggs. Also several in the nests, if you are using just 1. Of course collect more frequently or earlier. You could experiment by moving the nests around. Perhaps that would suit them bettter, or at least shake them up. Good luck.

    Imp- Eat more scrambled eggs? [​IMG]
  4. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    It looks to me that the nestbox would be fairly unstable. I can imagine the pullet stepping on the lip and tipping the box nearly over on top of her.

    Stabilizing the box by putting a heavy piece of 2 by 12 (or something) inside may help the birds feel more comfortable using it. You may want to replace it.

    You don't want to have eggs laid on the floor. The nest is somewhat of a "sacred place." An egg kicking around on the floor may be seen as an object that should be investigated to learn if it can be eaten.


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