Hidden nest of eggs! What now?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JodiLynn, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. JodiLynn

    JodiLynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I heard one of my ladies telling me she laid an egg so I went to the nest boxes to grab it and to my surprise no hen and no egg. My heavier breeds free range so I set off to find the missing hen! I found her tucked in under a wood pile that has a tarp over it. I moved her to grab the egg and much to my surprise found 12!! Now she is not broody but was laying her eggs there. We have 3 BO of laying age and only one has been laying in the boxes so I assumed the others were late starters. This was not the case and I assume the other 2 have been laying all their eggs under this wood pile.

    My question:

    I have no idea which eggs are new and which are not I assume I should not feed these eggs back to the ladies? OR can I?
    Also how do I encourage them to lay in the boxes? I can leave them locked up if that will help. I have 4 boxes for 7 ladies.
     
  2. stone_family3

    stone_family3 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Bring the eggs in and set them on the counter to get them to room temp, then place them in a deep dish of water. If they float they're bad, if they stand on end they're going bad and if they sink they're good. Yes you can feed them back to the girls. I like to hard boil and mash them up.

    You can try placing wooden eggs or golf balls in the nesting boxes to encourage them, you can also not let them free range for a few days as long as their is enough light in the coop to get them to lay.
     
  3. Choco Maran

    Choco Maran Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If I understand you right you have three hens laying. You found 12 eggs if my math is right that would mean 6 days worth of eggs They should be just fine. Without washing them they would be good for about three months.

    I would leave the hens locked open for a few days until they get used to laying in the boxes.
     
  4. JodiLynn

    JodiLynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks I did not know you could tell by floating them!
     
  5. JodiLynn

    JodiLynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I actually have 7 laying but 4 of them are EE's and they lay in the boxes, though I did find 1 with the "clutch" of eggs. So yep 3 BOs, sometimes 1 of them lays in the box and then she stopped for a week and I thought that was unusual but now I know she just decided to move. My coop is 10 feet wide by 30 feet long and is completely covered on the top. I do have a light in there as well so for the next few days I will just keep them all locked up (10 total, my coop is big enough right?) for a few days. Thanks for all the help!
     
  6. Coop Deville

    Coop Deville Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had the same issue; I thought my EEs were behind the curve because they hadn't started laying. Then one day I found a nest of about ten mint and blue eggs under my tool shed when I was doing yard work. Stone_family's advice is good. I confined them to a corner of the yard, placed a nesting box in there with a wooden egg. They got the idea and started laying using the box.
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    When I let my hens free range I was always finding hidden nests. During the summer I was a little more hesitant on eating them, but this time of year, cool as it is outside, I'd eat them. Eggs last on the counter at room temp at least a month, so the cooler temps outside just expand that time.

    You can confine them to the coop for a few days, but they are strong creatures of habit and as long as you free range you'll have to hunt for eggs, most likely. When I'd find a nest, I'd leave a marked sacrifice egg in the nest so the hen would continue to lay there. I found if I cleaned the nest out, the hen would find a different place to lay, but if I left one or two eggs (and golf balls or plastic eggs would work as well) the'd keep using the same place.


    Just to illustrate how strong some birds can cling to habit.......I have an ee/leghorn hen who layed in the haybarn when they free ranged. We cooped the birds and she was the one who would find a way out to go lay in the hay barn, then pace back and forth in front of the coop door to be let back in. We finally got the entire run so she couldn't get out, she hasn't been out for about a year. Well, the netting we were using to cover the run didn't do well with our unexpected snow load so our run is currently uncovered. That same hen flew over the 7 foot fence, went to the hay barn, laid her egg, back to the run, flew back in. She's done that pretty consistently for over a week!
     
  8. JodiLynn

    JodiLynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow! They just started laying there so maybe I can catch this issue early. If not next time I will be sure to be a golf ball or leave an egg so I know where the nest is. Silly chickens!
     
  9. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Put a few of the eggs in the nest boxes and leave them for a few days, or just put something egg like in the nest boxes and they will all want to lay their eggs next to the other egg...At least that works with my chickens...
     
  10. Coop Deville

    Coop Deville Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had no idea that eggs last that long at room temperature. I've been throwing out the ones I didn't collect after a day (unless the weather is cool). Are you sure I can eat an egg that's been in the nesting box for 2 or 3 days?
     

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