Is There Such a Thing as "Sanctity of the Nest" Among Chickens?

Susan Dye

Crowing
Jul 25, 2017
506
1,783
497
Staunton, Va
I have 6 mixed breed hens between 2 & 3 yrs old and 3 EE's about 5 months old. I thought one of my EE's had started laying almost a month ago b/c her comb had turned red and she was squatting when approached. But, there have been no green or blue eggs. Thought maybe she was laying off white ones, but never have I caught her on the nest. So, yesterday she was spending an unusually long time in the coop, going in and out, but not staying long enough to lay. I would find her perched on the roost or just standing on the floor of the coop, but not on the nest. Her 2 companions would either go in with her or stand guard outside the coop door. However, they are still terrified of the older girls, for good reason, and the guards will quickly abandon their post if one of the hens approach. They're such chickens! So, my question is, if a pullet has committed to nesting and laying an egg, will the older hens leave her alone as a matter of protocol? BTW, found my first green egg on the floor of the coop this morning! So, she's definitely laid her first egg, just not in the nest. The nest was pretty torn up though. Might she be afraid to commit to the nest?
 

ShannonR

Free Ranging
5 Years
Sep 17, 2015
2,535
16,846
552
I have 6 mixed breed hens between 2 & 3 yrs old and 3 EE's about 5 months old. I thought one of my EE's had started laying almost a month ago b/c her comb had turned red and she was squatting when approached. But, there have been no green or blue eggs. Thought maybe she was laying off white ones, but never have I caught her on the nest. So, yesterday she was spending an unusually long time in the coop, going in and out, but not staying long enough to lay. I would find her perched on the roost or just standing on the floor of the coop, but not on the nest. Her 2 companions would either go in with her or stand guard outside the coop door. However, they are still terrified of the older girls, for good reason, and the guards will quickly abandon their post if one of the hens approach. They're such chickens! So, my question is, if a pullet has committed to nesting and laying an egg, will the older hens leave her alone as a matter of protocol? BTW, found my first green egg on the floor of the coop this morning! So, she's definitely laid her first egg, just not in the nest. The nest was pretty torn up though. Might she be afraid to commit to the nest?
In my experience, the older hens would just get in the nest box with her and shove her out if they wanted in the box. As the young ones get older, they will learn to wait their turn, or to squabble over the nest box with the rest of the hens. It isn't uncommon to see 2-3 hens squeezed into a nest box at once.
 

Susan Dye

Crowing
Jul 25, 2017
506
1,783
497
Staunton, Va
In my experience, the older hens would just get in the nest box with her and shove her out if they wanted in the box. As the young ones get older, they will learn to wait their turn, or to squabble over the nest box with the rest of the hens. It isn't uncommon to see 2-3 hens squeezed into a nest box at once.
There are 3 nest boxes and I have seen them wait in line for the only one occupied. Of course, I've also seen all three boxes occupied at the same time. Haven't seen a pile up in one box, but have no doubt that it occurs. They are such funny creatures.
 

ShannonR

Free Ranging
5 Years
Sep 17, 2015
2,535
16,846
552
There are 3 nest boxes and I have seen them wait in line for the only one occupied. Of course, I've also seen all three boxes occupied at the same time. Haven't seen a pile up in one box, but have no doubt that it occurs. They are such funny creatures.
Funny how they always all choose the same nest box as their favorite, isn't it?!
 

slordaz

hatchaholic
5 Years
Apr 15, 2015
3,456
6,394
602
Idaho
nope lol, I am actually sending off 3 hens and a rooster Friday , see if that helps as one of them is the persistent broody that don't want no one laying as she's not lol
 
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aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
99,216
138,744
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
The nest was pretty torn up though. Might she be afraid to commit to the nest?
Newly laying pullets almost always tear up the nests at first.
She could still be leery of the older birds, but new layers are also rather 'flighty'.
Both of those will fade as she moves into her new status as a layer,
can take up to a month or so for things to smooth out.
Having a fake egg in all the nests can help 'spread the love'.
 

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