Just Found: Dozen Eggs Outside...not using box!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MrMyke, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. MrMyke

    MrMyke New Egg

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    Jan 20, 2009
    Hi, I see this issue has come up before and I have read those posts...looks like we will have to confine our little scamp of a RIR to quarters for awhile, but I have a couple other questions too. Here's the story:

    For a couple weeks I have noticed one of our RIRs racing -- and I mean sprinting -- out of the coop when released in the mid a.m. and heading toward a forested area of our yard. I finally figured out this is something I should check (slow, I know, but this is all new to us...the coop has only been in use for 3 weeks).

    So, followed her and found a nest at the base of a fir tree with 12 eggs! I have collected the eggs and dismantled the nest. We are going to try and keep the girl in the coop now. The other 6 hens all use the nesting boxes...been getting about 3 a day, so didn't notice the missing eggs.

    Follow up questions: How long should I confine the poor girl? She is not going to like being alone...I guess I should confine a pal too? Doesn't seem fair to the pal though. Should I "bait" the boxes with eggs or golf balls right away? Should I use some of "her" eggs -- would she recognize them as hers?

    Also, the weather has been cool here and I tested all the eggs in water -- none floated. So...you know what I am asking here: Can we keep and use the eggs?! Hope so -- it was kinda fun to fill an egg carton in one fell swoop!

    I am sort of embarrassed this took so long for me to figure out...thanks for helping me put it right. I want to keep free ranging the girls for at least part of every day, but there is too much space in our yard to allow this sort of egg-laying lawlessness!
     
  2. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    [​IMG]

    You should be able to use those eggs, just crack them first in a saucer to make sure you're not adding any surprises to your meals. That's a good thing to do anyway with any egg, especially home grown ones.

    It could be that your hen is feeling broody & has been beginning her clutch. Or she could just be exceptionally devoted to that nest spot.

    You could try keeping all your hens in until mid-afternoon before releasing them for their free-range recess. Most hens are done laying by around 2 or 3 PM. There could be more hens with hidden nest spots. Perhaps you should keep all of them confined to their pen for about 3 days so they all will get oriented to laying their eggs in it.

    Chickens usually follow the fashion others set, if they see others laying somewhere they'll lay there too. It hurts their tiny heads to think too much. You can put some fake eggs in the nest boxes to get the trend started.

    Don't berate yourself, hindsight is always 20/20.
     
  3. MrMyke

    MrMyke New Egg

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    Jan 20, 2009
    Thanks for the kind and prompt response, Sunny Side.

    We have never had a hen lay after about 2 pm, so we let the RIR out then today, and she did not go back to that nest. Nor had she laid, but she should tomorrow and we will leave her in til late in the p.m. again.

    Meanwhile, the broody possibility is of interest. Does the fact that she didn't head back to her nest show she is not brooding them? Also, I didn't mention the first time that all this time, she has come out of the forest at some point in the day, usually staying out with the flock the whole time after she "reappeared". And, she always came willingly back to the coop at the end of the afternoon.

    Does a broody hen behave that way?

    By the way, this hen (the whole flock) is very young...hatched in early March is all. Can a hen go broody so fast?!

    If so, and all things considered there is a serious chance she has gone broody, I will stop asking you questions as I know this site has lots of info on broody issues that I can glean from other posts.

    Thanks again for the help, and the kind words too.
     
  4. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    4,726
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    281
    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    She could be building up a clutch of eggs to set upon eventually, or she could just be convinced that this is the best place on earth to lay her eggs.

    Before a hen sets on a clutch to incubate the eggs she'll spend a week or two laying her eggs in it, one every day or so. Then, when she completes her "magic number" (which varies depending on the hen & the voices only she hears in her head) she'll then set on the eggs continually for 21 days. At that point she's "gone broody". She will have a bare patch of skin on her breast (to provide moist heat for the eggs) and a sort of glazed far-away look on her face. She'll sit all spread out over the eggs & puff up her feathers & screech at you when you disturb her.

    But each hen seems to have her own component of broody skills, some do the job more completely and effectively than others. Sometimes young hens will go broody, sometimes RIR hens will. Sometimes hens will begin to lay a clutch, will begin to brood, then quit. It depends on the signals they receive from the Mother Ship orbiting the earth.

    Broody hens can have their spells broken, and again, some are more easily rerouted than others. If your RIR is on her way to going broody, perhaps just being shut in with her flockmates until the afternoon may change her mindset. But if she persists, she may need to be put in a Broody Buster cage for a few days.

    It may just be that she's decided this corner is the optimal place for laying, and have just gotten into the habit. If so, then keeping her penned until later and removing/blocking access to that nest may be all she needs to change her mind.
     
  5. mmtillman

    mmtillman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dont feel too bad...same thing happening to us right now ...gettin' the girls used to the ''proper'' way to lay eggs...LOL...
    Sounds like you are doing everything fine and you are a good chcken mamma...LOL! Have fun....them little chuckleheads love to fool me, too!! [​IMG]
     

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