Laying eggs on the coop floor

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by LadyCluckington, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. LadyCluckington

    LadyCluckington Out Of The Brooder

    27
    2
    26
    Nov 12, 2013
    Pennsylvania
    About a week ago my hens created a nest in the straw on the floor of the coop to lay their eggs in and have started pooping in the nesting boxes.
    Anyone have any idea why they would do this and how I can get them to stop?

    Thanks!
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    63,303
    7,813
    726
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    It sounds as if they may be sleeping in the nest boxes. Are the nest boxes lower than their roosts? Chickens generally like to sleep at the highest possible point in the coop. If that is the nest boxes, that's where they will sleep.
     
  3. LadyCluckington

    LadyCluckington Out Of The Brooder

    27
    2
    26
    Nov 12, 2013
    Pennsylvania
    I also think they are sleeping in the nesting boxes but I don't know how to get them to stop. The nesting boxes are only 3-4 inches off the floor and both of the roosting bars are higher than the tops of the nesting boxes. I can't see any reason they shouldn't be using the roosts for sleeping and the nests for laying...but I'm fairly new to this so who knows.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    32,817
    5,567
    556
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Put some fake eggs or golf balls in the nests.
    Take them out of the nests at night after dark and put them on the roosts...or block the nests off just before dusk then uncover early morning.

    I had to go out just at dusk when they go to roost and push them out of the nests, took awhile but they got the message. I still go out at dusk to close the pop door and make sure everyone's where they belong. Every once in a while one thinks she's going to roost in a nest, just my going in reminds her to get on the roost or she'll get a poke in the butt....lol.

    Make sure the roosts are big enough to be comfortable, 2x4 wide side up works very well., and that they can reach them easily.

    Might take a week or two to get them to form new habits, be calm and consistent.
     
  5. davemonkey

    davemonkey Chillin' With My Peeps

    394
    14
    108
    Nov 25, 2012
    Liberty, TX
    Same here. I finally got the hens trained and then hatched chicks. Now I have to do the same thing over again with the 8 week-old chicks who think the nests are more cushy than the roosts. The past few nights they have all roosted though, so I think I've got them trained now.
     
  6. LadyCluckington

    LadyCluckington Out Of The Brooder

    27
    2
    26
    Nov 12, 2013
    Pennsylvania
    I'll have to try this..thanks.
     
  7. chicksnpoodles

    chicksnpoodles Out Of The Brooder

    17
    2
    24
    Sep 1, 2013
    Princeton, TX
    We are having this problem as well. Our hens have been laying for a couple weeks now, and not one egg in the laying boxes...all have been on the floor of the coop, and even a couple in the run. We changed their laying box form 3 smaller boxes to 2 larger ones about 13x13 or so and have had fake eggs in them for nearly two weeks. No clue yet... They still roost and poop in the laying boxes even though ALL the roosts in the coop are higher than the boxes. The boxes are maybe 2 ft off the floor. So today we made another laying box, and put that at about half the height of the built in boxes...we'll see what happens. Tonight there were hens roosting in all 3 nesting boxes. grrrrr.
    I have hear that if you don't get this solved early on, they will never lay in the boxes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2013
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    32,817
    5,567
    556
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    ....and did you move them to the roost? Can they easily get to the roosts? My older hens came with clipped wings and needed a ramp.

    I think you have to be very vigilant, calm and consistent to get a chicken to change their behavior.
    Keep them locked in the coop for a few days.
    Every time you find a hen sleeping in a nest, move her to the roost.
    Every time you find an egg on the floor, put something there so they can't lay there again.

    It can take a few weeks of consistent monitoring....and if they've only been laying a couple weeks, they are still figuring it all out.
     
  9. chicksnpoodles

    chicksnpoodles Out Of The Brooder

    17
    2
    24
    Sep 1, 2013
    Princeton, TX
    We went out last night and kicked them all out of the laying boxes...but still found an egg on the floor this morning. Patience as you say is probably the key to this dilemma.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    32,817
    5,567
    556
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Yep, it does take time...some fake eggs or golf balls in the nests might help too. I keep two in each golf balls in the nest even now.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by