Just being naughty or trying to tell me something?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JNorth, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. JNorth

    JNorth Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2012
    Western New York
    I have 8 RSL that will be 1 year at the end of the month. We started with 4 nest boxes. They only used 2. Now we have 3 nest boxes and they mainly use only one box but occasionally we get an egg in another box (our guess is that is when the other box is occupied). I use hey in our boxes. Everyday I go out and they have pulled all of the hey out of all of the boxes and spread it on the floor of the coop. Even in the box they lay in. I replace the hey and they do it again. This morning I went out and they have a thick layer of hey on the floor and nothing in the nesting boxes.

    Am I doing something wrong or are they just being mischievous?
  2. K-12 Chickens

    K-12 Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 6, 2010
    Before they started laying eggs, my first hens repeatedly scratched the straw out of the nest boxes. There were lots of seeds in the straw that they loved to eat, which attracted them the most, along with the fact that chickens simply love scratching and foraging around. After they started laying, they almost immediately stopped doing it. However, I can see this may not be the case with your chickens, as you say they are laying eggs.
    You could try replacing the nesting material in the nest boxes with wood shavings, which will probably be less inviting to scratch in since there is nothing to eat out of it.
  3. JNorth

    JNorth Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2012
    Western New York
    They do love the hey. As do I because it's free (good friends with a farmer). I was hoping I wasn't going to have to start buying the nesting material!
  4. Courts Clucks

    Courts Clucks Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 29, 2012
    Richards, MO
    My girls just make a mess no matter what you put in the box. I have tried a lot of things and the least messy is the fine shavings. My husband tells me to get over it bc telling the girls gets me nowhere. Those birds just don't care about my woes.
  5. SD Bird Lady

    SD Bird Lady Chillin' With My Peeps

    You could try putting a piece of scrap carpet in the bottom just to cushion the eggs. If they hay is left out they may start using it to nest in. I have a low ranking hen that kept laying her eggs from her roost. So I put hay in the corner she frequents thinking that maybe she was being bullied in the boxes and this way if she were to be picked on she could escape easily......well now all the hens use that nice little corner nest....oh well it is more natural and the kids think it is neat.
  6. aafairchild

    aafairchild Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 24, 2012

    I use pelletized pine pellets in my coop and nest boxes. Enough cushion that even eggs laid from the roost usually survive. Also easy cleanup and very cheap here in TX. Tractor supply sells it as horse bedding for $6 for 40lbs. I even use it for my cats litter boxes. Smells nice too.

    Good luck
  7. blondiebee181

    blondiebee181 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 21, 2012
    Boise, ID
    Do you free-range your birds at all? If not, then they may scratch it out sometimes when they are bored. I used pine shavings for a while and they worked great and smelled great too. The main reason I switched to straw hay was because I use it to bed my ducks' house too. There are plenty of things you can use for nest bedding like dried leaves and I used pine needles for a while because we had a ton of those at my parents' place. Cut, dried lavender is lovely if you have it lying around....the most important thing is that anything you use be DRY so that it doesn't mold. You could also trick the hens and try leaving what they sratch onto the floor there and re-filling the nests with more straw and see if they still scratch it out when there's some already there? IDK, just suggestions...good luck.
  8. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Put a "lip" on the front, 3" or so. That helps a lot. Yes, boredom is a major component. During periods of confinement, the desire to scratch and dig and look for something drives them to these behaviors. They really aren't "thinking" about anything, message-wise. They do what they do. Instinct mostly.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by