Nesting Behavior


13 Years
Jul 28, 2010
Ripley, WV
I figure this is the right place to ask this since I'm looking at changing behavior. Presently I have 5 laying hens and 1 laying Pekin duck. The duck naturally lays her egg in a nest on the floor. The chickens all lay where ever the duck lays. The ducks is the queen. Now I have 8 juvenile hens and another juvenile Pekin. The duck is already with the adult birds and soon she will be laying. Sometime the next 2 weeks I'll be adding the 8 hens with the 5. That's the scenario.

We built the coop with nest areas on the floor under the poop board. Since duck laid on the floor and the chickens follow suite.... But getting down and finding those eggs is just getting too hard on the old back. And now the chickens are eating the duck egg. Not chicken eggs - duck egg. If I don't go out early to get it, they devour it. Don't know what that's all about. The ducks egg shell is thin and sometimes it cracks just hitting the floor. Chickens finish it off from there.

Question - so I don't want the new birds learning this behavior and I want the nests off the floor. What if I block off those floor nesting areas and install a row of nests on the wall? How can I train the birds to lay up high and leave the duck alone? Any idea??

Thanks in advance!
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The addition of the nest should in itself get hens to lay in them. They are constructed to have dimensions that are like what a hen is looking for in and ideal nest sight. The chickens have also be selectively bred for some time to nest in such boxes. With respect to hens presently laying in duck's nest, that is a form of nest parasitism. The hens are unable to find a suitable nest of their own so they lay their in eggs in somebody else's nest. Chickens do that a lot.
nest parasitism - interesting....
I've not heard that. I have only read on the forum that it was quite common for hens to lay in the same nest - even line up to take their turn (which mine do). Thank you for the insight. I'm thinking a little differently about this behavior now.

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