New layers are confused.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Growin' Natural, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. Growin' Natural

    Growin' Natural New Egg

    Aug 12, 2011
    Howdy y'all!

    First let me say that I had to start a new account, I couldn't remember which email addy I would have used but I'm fairly sure I had an account here at one point. Oh well!


    Our ladies have just started laying this week (3 eggs Wednesday, 1 egg Thursday and so far nothing today). We're very egg-cited, especially our 5 year-old son! However, these girls have decided to lay on the ground inside the coop and not in their nest boxes.

    We have a beautiful 6x12 coop that has 6 nicely built nest boxes with front porches (perches). The occupants are 5 buff orpington hens, 4 black australorp hens and a black australorp 'roo. I suspect it's the buff's that are laying, only because they are about a week or two older than the australorps (but I could be wrong).

    I put straw in the nestboxes about a month ago and then placed one golf ball in each box about 2 or 3 weeks ago.

    Anyone have suggestions on how I can get these girls to deposit my breakfast in the appropriate place? I have been raking out their little ground "nests" to try and discourage them but it seems they just dig another out.

  2. CarolynF

    CarolynF Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2011
    Puget Sound
    My Coop
    Hi Pat and welcome! [​IMG]

    I'm not an expert by any means, but and idea came to me, maybe it will work.
    If your girls are laying early in the morning, can you keep their pop door closed until after they lay? They might seek out the nest box in desperation?

    Good luck.
  3. Growin' Natural

    Growin' Natural New Egg

    Aug 12, 2011
    Hi there Carolyn, thanks for the welcome!

    We had kind of the same thought. We have been letting the birds stay out in their completely enclosed run at night for the last couple weeks because of the insane heat here in the Midwest. They would all be up on the roosts by sunset and it was still in the high 90's. Perhaps that wasn't a wise choice but we felt bad locking them up, since it was so hot!

    It's been really nice this week, so we closed them in last night. However, it seems they aren't laying in the mornin' but rather in the late afternoon. The egg we found yesterday was around this time (4:30pm) and it was still a bit warm.

  4. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    My EE laid a few outside the laying box, including one in the run before figuring it out. I think that at the beginning, their instincts and process are a little confused. That's why early on you'll see them go in and out of the laying box a bunch of times before actually laying. I would suggest putting an extra golf ball in each one, maybe 2. I had 3 in each of mine until enough started laying in the box I felt it wasn't necessary, and then I removed one from each, so even months later, I still have 2 in each box. Not sure if that helped or not. But eventually, they seem to get the hang of it. I wouldn't be surprised if mine sat in the box, got up, repeated that over and over again, and that at some point after getting frustrated and having the egg suddenly have to come out, regardless of where the hen was. I think if you give it some time, they'll be fine.
  5. GracieMarie

    GracieMarie Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 21, 2011
    We have 1 laying out of our four and it was finally egg number 5 that ended up in the nest box and today egg number 6 did too! My son and I watched her for about 1/2 an hour this morning rolling the golf ball around and turning this way and that before we finally had to go in. My daughter went out 5 minutes later and came in with a beautiful warm egg from the nest box! They seem to need time to learn. I hope my other 3 are watching our first!
  6. NanaLantana

    NanaLantana Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 7, 2011
    Lantana, Florida
    Start training them! When you hear the 'egg complaint' baaaawk, go out and find the hen, place her in the nest, push her gently down. Keep your hand with some pressure on her back for a minute or so, then let her go. She may get up and leave, but at least you told her where to sit! Do this several times, and with various hens - it takes some time, but they do learn, then all your eggs will be in the right place! Once my hens learned this, I could even open the coop door in the morning, and they'd go back in to lay when they needed to. Chicken training works for me! Hope it works for you - [​IMG]
  7. pinkwindsong

    pinkwindsong Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2011
    Laurens SC
    My girls are chicken cursing me at this moment.[​IMG]. I too, have not kept them up at night due to the heat,, but they are supposed to be laying by now, so tonight was lock down [​IMG] . I'm going to keep them up till they get used to laying in the coop and not outside where-ever. My 2 EE girls are the most upset but oh well. tough love.. and I WANT EGGS.[​IMG]... ahhhhhh


    don't forget tonight is the meteor shower night from midnight -5am.. and we are suposed to have a thurnderstormn roll in when midnight... ahhhhhhh [​IMG]
  8. Juiced10

    Juiced10 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 26, 2010
    Syracse, NY
    Mine have been laying for about a month now. The first couple of eggs were everywhere. One out in the run, one on the outside of the nesting box (think she must have gone in head first), others were close but not quite in the box. Now they seem to have it down! I let them out in the morning and sometimes they've already laid the eggs and sometimes not....depends on when I get out there to let them out. They will go back in to lay the eggs now. It just took them a few trials and errors but they figured it out on their own. I did put golf balls in and still have one in each nesting box.

    I'm sure your breakfast will be in the right spot before you know it!

  9. Kathleen1115

    Kathleen1115 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 21, 2011
    I was having a similar problem with two Red Star pullets that we rescued a while back. They're horribly socially awkward - they were used in a college prank when they were about 8 weeks old and who knows how they were kept before that - but just crazy attached to each other and can't stand to be separated. I was worried that they wouldn't figure it out and also that since they get picked on by the original "Gang of Five" hens that they wouldn't like being in the boxes where the others could get to them easily. Well, the first couple of eggs did end up on the coop floor or in the yard. But they figured it out pretty quickly. What I love is how they solved the problem of getting picked on - they always lay their eggs together in the same box and when I finally saw what they were doing I was just amazed - they stand guard for each other. One goes in the nesting box to lay while the other stands on the roost right outside the boxes and chases away anyone who comes near and then they switch. It's adorable.
  10. Growin' Natural

    Growin' Natural New Egg

    Aug 12, 2011
    Thanks for all the ideas. I probably had a good shot at "training" one this afternoon, after my son caught one of the buff orpington's squatting on the ground nest. I decided to let her be and about 10 minutes later we had a warm egg. I did move her egg into one of the nest boxes, don't know if that will help or not but I'm willing to try. (That egg can stay in there for a day or two without any adverse effect, right? Or should this be a sacrificial egg, in hopes it might help guide a young lady? Hard to give up an egg when you only have 5 in the fridge!)

    No eggs Friday. One Saturday and so far just the one today. They are still laying in the afternoons, today was right at 3pm. I'm guessing it's only one or maybe two of the girls laying just yet.

    So tell me about this "egg complaint". I'm assuming this is the same as many folks describe as the "egg song"? Does this happen before, during or after she has laid? I've not heard anything unusual but I'm not often out in the yard in the high afternoon sun. Today we happened to be out while one was laying but nothing out of the norm was heard.


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