Hens stopped laying in nest boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by eieiolife, Dec 16, 2015.

  1. eieiolife

    eieiolife Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 20, 2015
    I have three laying hens. Two of them have been laying in the nest boxes for about two months. The third just started laying about two weeks ago and she lays them everywhere but the nest boxes. Today I found one on the ramp from the coop to run! The worst part is the last few days the other two stopped laying in the boxes and are laying on the floor. The boxes are exactly the same as they were when they were using them. What should I do?
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
  2. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Hey there eieiolife

    This may be a strange question but do they have very fluffy butts? Two of my gals actually do lay in the nest box but if they linger, the egg dries attached to their feathers; they jump out of the nest box and take the egg with them; it then drops off wherever.

    I have found their eggs on the coop floor, in the run and a couple of months ago, bailed up Blondie in the garden, she still had the egg attached to her skirts [​IMG]

    There are other reasons, especially with newbies to laying, but I have no experience with them and will leave that to others who may have ideas.
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Some birds take a while to make it to the nesting boxes. Do you have fake egg/golf balls in the nest to encourage her to lay there? Laying on the ramp sounds like she didn't make it back to the nest box in time. Birds new to laying pace a lot, and sometimes they don't make it back before the egg comes.

    Is anyone sleeping in the nest boxes? Sometimes, when birds sleep in the boxes and they get poopy, other birds won't go there to lay.

    Like Teila said, super fluffy birds, like English Orps, can lay and the egg will stick to their feathers. I've had this happen with my Orp.

    When they lay in a "nest" on the floor, make sure you mess up the "nest" when collecting the eggs.
  4. MI Buckeye

    MI Buckeye Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 5, 2015
    I have a similar problem. They don't lay in the nesting boxes. I have different material in the boxes than the floor. I have fake eggs in the boxes which they knock out of the boxes and group together on the floor with the new eggs. And they tear up the material in the nesting boxes and throw that on the floor. I fixed this by wrapping some twine around the straw, but they still have some success. I reduced the amount of material (pine shavings) that I put on the floor to reduce the easy of making a nest down there. I was thinking of removing all the pine shavings from the coop floor for a few days. But I am afraid they will just lay the eggs in the run.

    Any suggestions?
  5. RickyDean

    RickyDean Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 5, 2015
    Before my 15 girls started laying, I put 2-3 golf balls in each of the four nesting boxes
    attached to the coop. I put plenty straw in each one and made a deep circular nest and then added the golf balls. Sure as Sally when they started laying, every egg was layed in the nesting boxes. My girls free range all day and return to the coop to lay their eggs.

    Needless to say, I'm a firm believe in the golf ball method. As a matter of fact, I still keep two
    golf balls in each box as it hasn't hindered any laying and I also get a pretty even distribution
    of eggs in each of the four boxes. I think the golf balls make them comfortable with laying their eggs where they have been tricked into thinking someone else is laying them there too. It
    might be worth a try.
  6. GodofPecking

    GodofPecking Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2015
    Make a few extra boxes of different kinds, or even place items around the floor so there are private places. Over time, they sometimes go back and forth. There is nothing like making a few really good nestboxes out of wood and then getting the chickens' stamp of approval by them laying inside. This is something they do almost straight away, so it's instant satisfaction for you. Plus, you can never have too many chicken nesting boxes or chickens, or coops. Never happens.

    Let them.

    And build more boxes and quiet places as above. Some boxes they like and some they don't. Some really good ones it's hard to pry them away from.

    +1 to fake eggs work. getting plastic eggs from hong kong is cheap and cheerful, order lots because they don't always last forever due to stray cats chewing them for example.

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