Laying everywhere but nesting boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by PickawayCountyFarmer, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. PickawayCountyFarmer

    PickawayCountyFarmer Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 1, 2010
    My chickens are allowed to roam around the farm. They were using the nesting boxes for a while, which have wooden fake eggs in them. There are 4 boxes, about 12wx12dx16t in demensions. They are built in a 2x2 square. The chickens have taken to laying their eggs in different areas of the barn causing me to go on egg hunts. After I locate the area and remove all the eggs that are left as some are broken and eaten. They will sometimes stop laying in that area and find a new place to lay. I would like to get them to start using the nesting boxes again and then work on the egg eating issue. Given that it sometimes takes 2 to 3 days to find their new nesting place, usually by hearing one cackling while laying, I can't combat the egg eating by getting the eggs out early.

    What can I do to help resolve this issue?
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  2. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

    Apr 16, 2007
    Evening Shade, AR
    [​IMG] Hi and Welcome to BYC!

    I'm going through the egg hunt thing myself. I didn't mind it when the hens went to lay in the guinea coop instead of their coop but this past week I've been finding eggs in the woods around piles of bagged up leaves. I have them in lock-down right now (as in cooped up, no free ranging). I hate making all of them pay for the rebellion of 4 of them but don't have any other choice at this time.

    I have several large nest boxes for the girls and the boxes have either golf balls or wooden eggs in them. Never had a problem with our EE's not laying in the boxes until we moved out here and our Silver Spangled Hamburg girls finally started laying. The SSH girls started the rebellion and the EE girls didn't hesitate to join them. [​IMG]

    I need to get our Chick-n-Barn reconstruction project finished and then I'll put the SSH girls in that coop and keep them on an indefinate lock-down until they decide if they're gonna get with the program or not.

    On the positive side, I haven't noticed any of them eating any of the eggs.

  3. ThinkingChickens

    ThinkingChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2011
    They probably need to be locked in the coop or a coop and run for a couple days. I'm sure some more experienced folks will chime in!
  4. sanyijr

    sanyijr Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 20, 2011
    Just a thought here, but are your nesting boxes bright? If they find more private, secluded area, that is most likely going to be their laying spot. I think they like darker places to lay...... Just thinking out loud.....
  5. Sorin

    Sorin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2010
    Glenfield, ny
    Hello, ThinkingChickens and sanyijr both have good points. That being said, I have one that once in a while decides she is not going to lay in the nesting box and what I do is after they go in for the night, assuming there is still enough light left, I pick up the offending hen and show her the nesting boxes making sure there are on or two eggs in each one. This usually helps her for a few weeks then she goes off track again [​IMG] But, like what was mentioned before you may have to lock them in for a few days until they take the hint. Hope this helps, good luck! [​IMG]
  6. BarefootMom

    BarefootMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2010
    Half Way, Missouri
    I have the same problem...

    just discovered a another stash yesterday...of rotten eggs. [​IMG]

    I always hear to lock them up in the coop for a few days, but I don't know about your setup but mine would absolutly DIE if I did that right now. It is 90+ degrees out there! I am thinking about moving my nest boxes out of the coop and putting them in another location. I have the people door and the pop door open to the coop and they will lay some of their eggs in the coop- but not in the nest boxes...they will lay in the the floor.
  7. chickenbottom

    chickenbottom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 30, 2008
    hollister, florida
    need to lock them in the coop/ run for a couple days to establish home as sleep, and lay eggs here. they like darker nests so most of the time they will find a dark spot. as for the egg eating my chickens hated mustard so i blew out and egg and filled it with mustard and when they broke into the rest of it they got mustard in their mouths and they didnt eat another egg ever. but i also would take a couple eggs and mix it in with their food so they dont develope a taste for it because they already have it. just some weird things i do.
  8. okiechick57

    okiechick57 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yup.lock down usually works, but like others , if I did that right now they would die from the working on a bigger run .but I find them in bushes,leaves,under my portable office, I have to be out there watching/listening to know where they are going.and its too hot for me out there now....good luck
  9. Christie Rhae

    Christie Rhae Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2010
    Big Island, Hawaii
    I have the same problem. I have 16 hens that were always locked up and layed 12 to 15 eggs everyday. I decided they needed to free range on my property and they love it. I just love seeing them dust bathing and hanging out in their favorite spots. I now get about 6 eggs in the nest boxes. If I go hunting I can usually find a couple more. Then every now and then I will find a stash of 18 or so eggs! I hard boil all these eggs and feed them back to the chickens. But it has really cut down on my egg collection. And yes, as soon as they realize I am raiding their new spot, they move it and I have to hunt and hunt again. I have no roosters yet so there is just no hope for them to hide eggs, sit on them and hatch babies.

    I guess these girls don't understand our deal. I feed them yummy healthy food, they lay eggs, I collect them. They think they are free agents who can do as they please. lol Guess I am gonna have to remind them that are in deep debt to the company store. [​IMG]
  10. upcdayz

    upcdayz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 20, 2010
    I agree with the other posters in that the hens should be locked in for awhile. Be sure the nesting boxes are in a darker area of the coop, that there is clean material for them, like hay, and make sure it is free of pests. When my hens first started laying, they laid their eggs in the nesting boxes like good little girls. Then suddenly they didn't want to lay there anymore. Upon inspection of the nesting boxes I found that there were ants and a few bugs I couldn't identify crawling everywhere. I cleaned the coop and nesting boxes and sprayed for bugs. After drying, I placed new hay in the coop and nesting boxes. I now clean/spray periodically throughout the year, and the girls have been laying eggs there ever since. Just some thoughts.

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