Laying in odd place.....HELP!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bluetrain, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. bluetrain

    bluetrain Out Of The Brooder

    51
    0
    39
    Mar 23, 2009
    Western NC
    This is sort of an update to an earlier post of mine about 5 of 6 Golden Comet hens laying. Well, I discovered 1) that apparently all 6 are laying and 2) at least one of them had a secret laying spot and there in lies my problem.
    These hens are 22 weeks old and it seems that 4-5 of the hens are all laying in the same nest, not unusual as I have come to learn. One day last week I found one egg somewhat in the middle of the coop floor, one of those soft-not-fully-developed-shell eggs. I first thought that maybe this particular hen was on the floor and thought it was pooping and out pops this egg. Did not think too much about it at the time.
    Let me stop and explain some of the details of the coop. I have 3 nest boxes, that are on a "table" (for the lack of a better term) that are about 2 feet off the floor. These nests have a roof over them and I sit my feed buckets and other things on this roof. There is a roost (a 2x4 turned on edge so the 1 3/4" width is what they roost on) above the nest boxes, about 6 feet in the air. These hens took to the roost not many days after they arrived in their new home. Well since they do roost and POOP a ton up there, I decided to cover my buckets and others supplies with a piece of black plastic, just to keep the buckets a bit cleaner. I can sort of sweep the plastic off the get the poop off and move along.
    So yesterday evening, I decide I will clean the plastic off. I pop my hand under the plastic and push it up and I hear several things hitting the floor that to me was more than poop. Sure enough there were 5-6 eggs and they were all cracked from the fall. It seems that at least one of the hens is layer her eggs while on the roost and they had been collecting there on the plastic. The distance from the roost to the plastic might be 5-6 inches.
    I am at first relieved that it seems that all of the hens are laying. Now what do I do?? Well I clean up the cracked eggs, I clean up the poop and recover my buckets with the plastic. I am thinking if she is laying there, I at least want to catch the egg and not let them all fall the 12+ inches to the top of the nest boxes.
    This morning, doing my usual rounds of feeding the dog and checking on the hens, I see an egg in the middle of the floor of the coop, cracked open. It seems that the guilty party must have laid and egg between 7:30 last night and 6 this morning. And apparently it rolled off the plastic to its demise on the floor.
    So, now what do I do?? It seems that at least one is laying eggs, 6 feet in the air, from the roost. I have no way of know which one or when this is happening. My wife suggested making something the catch the egg (my mind immediately went to the old Little Rascals episodes where they concocted all of those contraptions to do things), and I guess I could do that, but I would rather not have any of them laying and pooping in the same area, if you know what I mean.

    Suggestions, ideas? I was close to tears this morning when I saw the cracked egg this morning. It has been a trying 2 weeks and this is not helping me any!

    I apologize for the length of the post but I thought it necessary to explain.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

    4,745
    1,387
    356
    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    When they first start laying, sometimes they get confused. And sometimes even yet, I will find an egg in the middle of the floor, and mine are a year+ old.

    What do you have in your nest boxes? You need to make them inviting. I put a circle of hay in mine, and then add some golf balls or small roundish rocks (that is what I use) Hens like to all lay in the same place. I have 4 boxes, and ususally they pick two to lay in. Sometimes when I clean in there and stir things up, then they pick a different two for a while.

    Once in a while I will get an egg below the roost, but seldom, it is a glitch. I think with a bit more patience you will be getting them where you want.

    I would cover the floor with a bedding, protects eggs if you drop them, also easier to clean out.

    mk
     
  3. bluetrain

    bluetrain Out Of The Brooder

    51
    0
    39
    Mar 23, 2009
    Western NC
    Mrs. K :

    When they first start laying, sometimes they get confused. And sometimes even yet, I will find an egg in the middle of the floor, and mine are a year+ old.

    What do you have in your nest boxes? You need to make them inviting. I put a circle of hay in mine, and then add some golf balls or small roundish rocks (that is what I use) Hens like to all lay in the same place. I have 4 boxes, and ususally they pick two to lay in. Sometimes when I clean in there and stir things up, then they pick a different two for a while.

    Once in a while I will get an egg below the roost, but seldom, it is a glitch. I think with a bit more patience you will be getting them where you want.

    I would cover the floor with a bedding, protects eggs if you drop them, also easier to clean out.

    mk

    Thanks for the reply. Yes each of the 3 boxes is well supplied with pine shavings and each has a golf ball. Like I said, most of them are laying in the boxes, but apparently the one is laying from the roost. Each time I collect eggs from the nest, I re-fluff the shavings and make sure the golf ball is there.
    I had some chickens last year, a LONG LONG story, but anyway, because they were meat chickens and were so danged big and fat, they all laid their eggs on the floor of the coop and many times they were covered in shavings. So each day was like an Easter Egg hunt looking for the eggs, but they developed a pattern and I soon figured out all of their hiding places, LOL.

    Anyhow, my concern is the layer that has been doing it from the roost, 6 feet in the air.​
     
  4. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

    7,738
    97
    321
    Aug 17, 2008
    Larry, KS
    My Coop
    It would be a very odd choice for someone to lay from the roost- that only happens on occasion. Is it possible she's flying up to sit on the plastic and laying there?
     
  5. bluetrain

    bluetrain Out Of The Brooder

    51
    0
    39
    Mar 23, 2009
    Western NC
    Quote:Could be, but there in the middle of all that poop....lol.....I suppose. I had thought about removing the buckets and plastic, but know that at least one of them is laying up there, I would hate to loose those eggs because there was nothing there to catch them.
     
  6. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

    7,738
    97
    321
    Aug 17, 2008
    Larry, KS
    My Coop
    My guess is that if you move them, the bird will choose the nest boxes. They don't get so attached to a spot and will take the next best thing. The idea is seclusion, and she's found a spot away from the other girls. You might try putting a drape halfway down your boxes to make them feel more secluded.
     
  7. bluetrain

    bluetrain Out Of The Brooder

    51
    0
    39
    Mar 23, 2009
    Western NC
    Quote:Hmm, a shy bird....lol. Ok, I will keep that in mind. Thanks CC.
     
  8. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

    7,738
    97
    321
    Aug 17, 2008
    Larry, KS
    My Coop
    It's funny- mine often have a look when I stumble on one in the nest like when you open a stall door on someone by accident- they are generally looking for isolation during laying because they are 'vulnerable'- or at least hard-wired to think they are.
     
  9. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Quote:That's the expression EXACTLY!! Thank you so much for expressing it so aptly.
     
  10. bluetrain

    bluetrain Out Of The Brooder

    51
    0
    39
    Mar 23, 2009
    Western NC
    Well an update...........Saturday I created a "nest" of sorts under the roost, just in case the guilty party continued laying up there. Well Sunday I checked, nothing up there. BUT there were all 6 eggs were laying together in the one nest. LOL.
    I was off yesterday, so I went out mid-morning to check on things. And what do I see, 2 hens sitting side by side in the one nest..........I about hurt myself laughing so hard!!!!![​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by