Hidden Stash of 27 Eggs

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sonofagoodman, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. sonofagoodman

    sonofagoodman In the Brooder

    Jul 2, 2016
    Mesa, Arizona
    My son just discovered a hidden stash of 27 eggs in the bushes this morning. We have 4 hens (approximately 7 months in age) but only one of the hens has been laying in the coop. She has only laid a few eggs in the coop this last month and now we know why. It appears that the other hens have also begun to lay, although we have never had any evidence that they had begun to lay. I have read on these forums that I need to lock up my birds in the coop for a few weeks to train them to lay there instead of in the bushes, but my coop is quite small (although it was advertised to accommodate 6 adult birds). I have one rooster and one male duck - would it cause problems if I were to lock the ladies in the coop and keep the boys out of the coop for two weeks? They have been free-range until now[​IMG]
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    That's quite the stash!

    Here's what I would do.....

    If you're cramped for space, in the mornings let the rooster and duck out, leave the hens inside until noon, early afternoon or so. Most birds lay in the am, although this is not absolute. This will keep the hens in the coop until they lay, then still give them free range time.

    I'd mark half a dozen or so of those found eggs with a sharpie and leave them in the nest. Take the rest out. Leaving the marked eggs as bait will let the hens know they can lay there still (if you have someone who isn't laying before you let them out), and you can collect the eggs from that nest, just leave the Sharpie'd eggs and take the fresh ones. I found if I cleared the nest out entirely, the hens would move and find a different place to lay, and the hunt would start all over again. If the nest was at all accessible, I'd just encourage them to lay there, at least then I'd know where to find my eggs [​IMG].

    You can also mark some of those eggs and use them to bait your nest boxes in the coop.

    You can try leaving the hens locked up for a week or two full time, but that's going to depend on your space and your birds. Some might tolerate it just fine, some might start having behavioral issues if they're really crowded. No one size fits all answer, sorry.

    congrats on all the eggs, though! At least you know they're not freeloaders [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Do you have a run attached to your coop? If not, that might help a bit with your space constraints until they learn where to lay.
    1 person likes this.

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