New layers; egg found in run this evening

tweetzone86

Songster
Jul 23, 2018
322
383
161
Kootenai County, ID
Hello all!

So I have identified 4 layers, until a 5th egg popped up yesterday. So now 5 layers (will be doing butt check again tomorrow morning) and when I put them to bed I found a small 1.3 oz egg in the run.

I have two nest boxes (will add a 3rd soon, as I have 12 RIR pullets, as more being to lay), and they're inside the coop (back half of a 10x20 shed with a chicken wire and framed wall with human size door being the divider). I have an attached run that we are working on, but I did a temporary wire around things (aka I have to crawl to get in almost because I need to build a proper door (currently a pallet is in the doorway held in place by a couple cinder blocks-only predators in town here have been cats and hawks so far) and we need to extend it another 8 feet still and put a hard roof on half, but for now I've at least secured the wire fencing across all sides and top.

Anyway, mine are laying throughout the day, as far as I can tell (there's at least one that seems to lay late afternoon). And I've got ceramic fake eggs in the nest boxes (brown, just like RIR eggs). They are made from rubbermaid totes (about 18" across and 24" deep and about 15" tall) with the front cut out for a door, and the chopped straw in there is clean and there's plenty of it.

All of them have used the nest boxes so far- til I found a little 1.3 oz egg in the run. I had just put the chickens in their coop with cracked scratch grains as incentive (cheaper than mealworms and they seem to get more excited over that), and I have a cover on the inside (as they figured out if they peck hard enough they can open the door and it's freezing temps overnight- this morning was down to 29 when I went out there at 7:30 am), and went around to close the outside half of the door, and nearly stepped on it by my "pallet" door.

Funny thing is, I hadn't expected one in the run because there's nowhere secluded in there. No bushes in it, no dark corners, etc. And yet, someone laid it out there anyway.

Any ideas on how to encourage them to lay IN the nest boxes that I haven't yet tried? Or is it possible that was a brand new layer who didn't recognize her "labor" and ended up dropping it where she stood? It was pretty cold (it's about 40 outside right now) so for all I know maybe there were layers in both boxes at the same time she laid? They seem to all be laying in the same nest box, except for the massive 2.4 oz likely double yolker I got this morning.

Help please- I don't want any frozen eggs :(
 

tweetzone86

Songster
Jul 23, 2018
322
383
161
Kootenai County, ID
It seems you are doing all you can. Try and figure out who is the one laying and put her in the nest box with someone else who is laying and see if she gets it.
My problem is I am not sure. The eggs come in at various times throughout the day so I have no idea which pullet is laying which egg :( Plus, their combs and wattles on some are still growing so outside of one with slightly lighter body feathers, I haven't really been able to tell who is who...I'm sure it will come with practice but they all look very, very similar to each other.

The only ladies I've caught in the act were when I was checking for eggs and one is in there. So the only ladies I've seen laying are doing it where they're supposed to...
 

aart

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My problem is I am not sure. The eggs come in at various times throughout the day so I have no idea which pullet is laying which egg :( Plus, their combs and wattles on some are still growing so outside of one with slightly lighter body feathers, I haven't really been able to tell who is who...I'm sure it will come with practice but they all look very, very similar to each other.

The only ladies I've caught in the act were when I was checking for eggs and one is in there. So the only ladies I've seen laying are doing it where they're supposed to...
I think it would be nearly impossible to keep track of who is laying what and when with your 12 near identical birds...don't drive yourself nuts! :D
New layers can lay at any time during the day or night.
It can take awhile for things to smooth out to the more predictable ~25 hour laying cycle.
It will also take awhile for them to find the nests and consistently lay there.

When I have pullets due to start laying, I keep an eagle eye out all over coop and run as there is no telling where you might find those first few eggs. Even older birds will sometimes lay eggs somewhere other than in a nest.
 

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