New chickens, found 11 eggs in the woods, help!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cosmicmama, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. cosmicmama

    cosmicmama Out Of The Brooder

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    My 5 girls are about 5 months old. I've been waiting for them to start laying. They are in their coop at night and free range all day, they like to spend a lot of time in the woods behind my house. Last week a couple of them started not wanting to come in at night, they tried roosting in the trees. A couple of nights I couldn't reach them so I let them stay out all night. They have been getting more and more "wild" acting, by which I mean going farther from the coop, and wanting to roost in places other than their coop at night. At times during the day they're so far from home I can' t even find them, but they always come back. The last three nights I've been successful at chasing them all into the coop, because I want them to be there in the mornings so they'll lay there.

    This morning I let them out of their coop and decided to take a walk into the woods where they were headed. There was a tarp back there draped over some logs, where my boys had tried to make a clubhouse. I had a feeling I should peak under it, and I found a next with 11 eggs in it! I have no idea how long they've been there. I've got two RIR's, one gold comet (who is a week younger than the rest), a barred rock, and an Ameracauna. All the eggs were brown and were similiar in size and color.

    First, how long are eggs good before being refrigerated. Every one of them passed the float test. They all sunk to the bottom and laid on their sides. Is that an accurate test? Also, how do I make the chickens lay in their coop? For all I know, there could be more nests out there!

    Any ideas?
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2011
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    My suggestion is to lock them in the coop or coop and run for at least a week. It may take longer for yours. I once had to do that to a hen twice before she would lay in the coop. Do not let them out during the day. Get them in the habit of sleeping and laying in the coop. It really helps if you can find their nests and remove the eggs too.

    How long are the eggs good? They can last long enough for a hen to lay a clutch of a dozen or more, them incubate them for 21 days. The big danger is if they get bacteria inside of them. Then they can go bad. The warmer they are, the faster they will go bad once they have bacteria inside them. An incubated egg without bacteria inside it will not go "bad" even in those warm conditions.

    Them passing the float test is a good sign but it is no absolute guarantee they are OK. It just means they are not old enough or have been in conditions bad enough for them to lose a lot of moisture. I'd still crack each egg in an individual bowl before I used it. And I would sniff it before I cracked it. If it smells off at all, don't crack it.
     
  3. cosmicmama

    cosmicmama Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 6, 2011
    Thanks, Ridgerunner!
    I have a small coop and it's hot as heck out here, I think I'm going to have to let them do what they want until it gets a little cooler.
     
  4. DTRM30

    DTRM30 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The sooner you can lock them in to get used to the coop and laying in the nest boxes the better ... just my .02 ....
    You can entice them to lay in the nest box with a fake egg - or a few eggs that were left outside that you collected. I know mine all want to use the box that someone is already in - and they will wait in line even though there are empty boxes available. I guess they think that it's better because someonelse used it too. To get them to use a particular nest box - I just placed a couple of plastic eggs in the box, and presto, they were laying in that box. Silly girls.
     
  5. colebarnhart

    colebarnhart Chillin' With My Peeps

    I can't believe you still have all your chickens and all are unharmed much less any eggs. I don't even live very close to the woods at all, but if I tried that I wouldn't be as lucky. Where I live, whatever is left outside gets eaten by something for sure.
     
  6. cosmicmama

    cosmicmama Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:I live in a neighborhood, but at the end of a dead end street so there is only a neighbor on one side. Behind me and the other side are woods. My backyard is fenced, but they fly over the fence and prefer it in the woods right behind the fence (still my property). A couple of hundred yards into the woods is an 8 foot high fence that they can't get over, and an apartment complex behind that in a neighborhood that backs up to mine. On the side there are woods for miles, no other neighborhood. There are a lot of drainage canals surrounding the neighborhood, and in the winter I see more wildfife (deer, beaver, and once a fox), but during the warm months I haven't ever seen any predators here. I know we have a lot of snakes here, so I'm surprised a black snake didn't find the nest and eat their eggs. I was really afraid for them at first, but their coop is inside an existing dog pen that is locked at night, and so far they have been safe.
     
  7. cosmicmama

    cosmicmama Out Of The Brooder

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    BTW, got two more eggs in the rogue nest today. One was smaller and lighter. My SO says he's pretty sure one of the RIR's laid one of them. I wish I knew which ones were laying! Out of those breeds, which ones are prone to laying sooner?

    Also, I fluffed up their nest boxes with some new straw and put a couple of the old eggs (marked) in there. Hopefully they'll take the hint.
     

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