Leave an egg: yes or no?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Hollyjane, Sep 15, 2010.

  1. Hollyjane

    Hollyjane Hatching

    Sep 7, 2010
    I may have a stupid question, but as an amateur, I'd still like to know the answer. Background: Our coop is now too small for our girls (we intend to upgrade as soon as is financially possible). There's no rooster, and everyone appears to be well, and get along just fine. We built them a side-by-side pair of nest boxes when we saw the first eggs pop-up in the coop. They seem to all be using one of those two nests, and don't seem to produce fewer eggs if we take all of them every day. They did, however, produce fewer eggs today than yesterday, after I left an egg (intentionally) to see whether they'd lay more if I left them something to build on. On the other hand, I was sick and laid-up in bed all day, and my husband failed to feed them and freshen their water in my stead. I don't know what, if any, effect this had on my girls; these are just the facts I see at hand. Still, my mom insists that her grandma always left an egg in the nest, supposedly to stimulate (or maintain) egg production.

    What is your opinion on this matter? Do your hens seem to lay more eggs when an egg (or egg stand-in) is left in the nest? Or is it just an "old wives' tale" that was loosely based on the practice of leaving an egg behind in order to condition the hen to lay in that nest habitually? And, do your hens ever reject a nest if they catch you in the act of stealing their eggs?


  2. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    I love chickens but hens really aren't very smart. [​IMG] They can't count and don't care if you leave an egg or not. It is handy to either leave an egg in the nest box or put in a wooden egg to teach them where to lay until they learn to use the nest box, but it will not affect the amount of eggs they lay.
    I've always heard that story too, so I tried it both ways to see for myself. No difference that I could tell with mature hens.
    Don't leave too many in the nest though, you might wind up with a broody hen, then she will not give you any eggs until she gets over being broody.

    and [​IMG] from Mississippi
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2010
  3. bigspringshatchery

    bigspringshatchery Songster

    Jun 26, 2010
    Roanoke Alabama
    I have roll away boxes in one of my pens and I get 6/6 from them. So when they enter the nest they don't see anything and they haven't slowed down one bit. And I'm not sure if the water not being changed affected them. You might had one to take the day off. I get one or two that do every now and then.
  4. Tropical Chook

    Tropical Chook Songster

    Jul 5, 2010
    I've been told the same story and I too can say the hens don't lay any more or any less. If it bothered the hens, the battery farms would really have a problem on their hands [​IMG]

    I can also agree with others that most hens take a day off every now and then. Mine seem to lay for about 6 or 7 days, and then they have a day off. After the day of, they lay early morning, with the egg arriving a little later each day until their next day off. For example, if I see one of the hens lay an egg at 4pm, I know she won't be giving an egg the next day.

    Hope this helps and BTW, welcome
  5. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Songster

    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    When they are getting started, they may lay intermittently anyway. My girls see me steal eggs all the time and yet they continue to lay in the nest box. I guess they figure giving up an egg is a small price to pay for dried mealworms and yogurt [​IMG]
  6. Dora'smom

    Dora'smom Songster

    Dec 14, 2009
    I don't think it makes any difference in productivity. I keep golf balls in my nest boxes because it helps the girls know that the boxes are a good place to lay, as someone already has laid an egg there. [​IMG]
    Sometimes I see one or two of my girls watching me take the eggs, and sometimes they speak in a rather perturbed voice when that happens, but it doesn't change their laying habits.
    I don't leave eggs in the nest box as I would be concerned about one of the girls pecking on an egg in an experimental manner and becoming an egg-eater.

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