Hens suddenly not laying in nesting box anymore

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chickychicka, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. chickychicka

    chickychicka Out Of The Brooder

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    May 16, 2012
    Italy, Europe
    Hello!
    I hope someone can give me tips as to what to do or why my 3 hens all of a sudden went from laying their eggs in the nesting box to laying eggs exclusively NOT in there anymore? They now find random spots in the yard (on the garage shelves, on my kids' toy table, on the concrete floor - some break from falling/rolling away)
    Once the first hen laid an egg there the other 2 usually follow her.
    Their coop and nesting boxes are clean and I have not changed anything about them (they've been laying in their nesting box on straw since day one, the hens are now 2yrs, 1 1/2 yrs, and 1 year old)
    Also, my 1 1/2 year old hen started the habit of not sleeping on the roost anymore but uses the nesting box then. I pick her up and put her back on the roost every night and she'll stay there. My hens "go to sleep" really late, it's usually way past sundown when they retreat into their coop and it's dark in there, so maybe it's a light issue (she can't "find" the roost in the darkness, maybe?)
    Is there a way to make them go into their coop a bit sooner?
    I greatly appreciate any tips, opinions, and your own experiences!!
     
  2. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    By your hens abandoning their former laying locations, roost locations, or delaying going to roost, makes me wonder if the red or common chicken mites are pestering them.
     
  3. chickychicka

    chickychicka Out Of The Brooder

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    May 16, 2012
    Italy, Europe
    That was worth a look and a possible answer to the issue! I did not see any signs of bugs on the hens (I looked by their vents, all I can see is some dirt - earth - from dust baths)
    My hens have always been going to their coop late in the evening. That has not changed but the egg laying has.
    I locked them in the coop this morning (not really locked, I just put a wooden board in front of the exit) and they got out and were restlessly looking in the carport for a place to lay their eggs, jumping up and flying up and down to find a spot that I had missed to make too uncomfortable for them. I could tell as they were quite antsy and persistent about it. So I locked them back up in the coop and put yesterday's eggs in the nesting boxes. 15 minutes later and all 3 had laid. Right where they are supposed to.
    I am still clueless about why they are trying so hard to find a spot outside their coop. Any other ideas why this could be? They've been doing this since end of December.
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    CENTRAL MAINE
    Go out and check them after they have gone to roost. Do you hear them stamping their feet on the roosts? Take a flash light with you and inspect their vents, back of necks and under their wings. any little tiny round red bugs? any bugs on the walls of the coop, roost or in the nest boxes? these bugs can be incredibly small, with the newly hatched ones not much bigger than a speck of dust. Wrap a piece of white cloth around the roost where it meets the wall. In the morning, take it off and inspect it for any signs of blood stains or tiny bugs. Use a magnifying glass if your vision is not very acute.
     

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