no eggs, hen sleeping in a nesting box, any ideas?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by RichnSteph, Dec 24, 2014.

  1. RichnSteph

    RichnSteph Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mixed flock of birds between 1-3 years old. 1 RIR, 1 GLW,1 BO, 2 RLH, 1SLW, 2 BA and one BO rooster that is the talk of the neighborhood.

    None of the hens are laying. It's been almost 3 weeks and nobody is laying any eggs anywhere that I can see. We did have a few of them molt a while back but even during that time we were getting two eggs a day. Also of concern is that one of the Black Australop hens has decided that the nesting boxes are where she's going to sleep and no matter how many times I run her out she goes right back in. Now the bedding is covered in poop and all matted down.

    Advice on either of these issues? I don't mean to complain but just a few weeks ago I spent $60 on feed for this little zoo and I'd like to get some eggs out of them.

    RichnSteph
     
  2. Free as a Bird

    Free as a Bird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The lack of eggs might be because of winter, but not sure.

    For the Australorp in the nesting box I think I have an idea... Are your nesting boxes higher than your perches? Chickens like to sleep in the highest spot they can find. So if that is the nesting boxes, that is where they will sleep.
     
  3. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree that Winter will naturally reduce egg production due to the decreasing daylight hours. I also agree that sleeping in the nest boxes is a big no-no, and that they should be situated lower than your roosts. You will need to clean those nest boxes out so that when eggs do eventually arrive they land in a nice clean place!

    The other question I would be asking is "Do we have a problem with mites here?"

    Quite often, seemingly well-trained birds will abandon the roost one by one when a red mite infestation occurs. It is simply a matter of being bitten so viciously that the nest box is the more comfortable option. Birds generally want to roost up in the highest place, so for one to deliberately lower herself to the nest box there is usually a reason behind it.

    Wait until dark, and take a large, damp, white paper towel into the coop. Wipe the underside of your roosting bars, including all the nooks and crannies with the paper towel, and then go inside under a good light and examine it. Red mites will leave a red, blood-like smear on the paper towel if they are there. If they are, you then know you need to treat the roosts, nesting boxes, litter and your birds for mites.

    Another thing to consider is broodiness. Quite often the first signal that a hen is going broody is that she starts spending the nights in the nesting boxes. I would keep a close eye on your girls and see if one is starting to spend increasing time during the day in there as well.

    Hens can go broody at any time of year, and it does not matter if you don't have a rooster. It also doesn't matter if she doesn't have any eggs! I have had a few girls brood over an empty nest, waiting for imaginary babies to arrive. A broody buster cage would be recommended in the case that you don't want to raise chicks.

    I guess that's a lot to think about, lol. I wish you all the best. Time to get your investigator's cap on and have a good look around!

    Happy Christmas!

    - Krista
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
  4. RichnSteph

    RichnSteph Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The nesting boxes are the lowest area in the coop that they can roost/sleep in. Tonight when I went to check them one of the RIR hens was in one of them. This just keeps getting more odd.
     
  5. RichnSteph

    RichnSteph Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Merry Christmas Krista and thanks! I'll do the wet paper towel thing and see we have going on in there.

    Thanks!

    RichnSteph
     
  6. RichnSteph

    RichnSteph Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Went and tried the damp towel on the roost and found nothing that indicates red mites. Of note here is that there were a couple of the hens sleeping on the floor of the coop in the shavings and only three up on the roost with the rooster. Our roost is a 2x4 laid wide side up so that they can cover their feet when they sleep.

    RIchnSteph
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Is there at least 1 foot of roost length per bird..... and is it easy for the birds to get up and down without hard landings?
    Were they all sleeping on the roost prior to this? Sometimes pecking orders change and thus roosting problems can occur.

    Is there a strong draft blowing an any part of the roost? Not sure how cold it might be in your part of Texas.

    I'd suggest that you go out well after dark and put the birds on the roost, at least the one in the nest, to break the habit of sleeping elsewhere than the roost.
    Doing that for a few days to a week or so, should get them back in the habit of roosting.
     
  8. RichnSteph

    RichnSteph Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Plenty of room on the roost and they were all sleeping on it until recently. In fact they were all on it when we had 3 more birds in there. No draft at the roost level and it's not gotten below 40 in the last few weeks. I went out tonight and put the bird in question on the roost and the others were fine with her. Of note here is that I found a broken egg on the poop board this morning from someone and the hen that's been sleeping in the nesting box left behind an egg with no shell, it was just a mass of goo, in the nesting box this morning. I'll keep putting her on the roost at night.

    RichnSteph
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Last edited: Dec 26, 2014
  10. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    To me it sounds like the ones sleeping in the nest are going broody. As to the lack of eggs, how many hours of light are they getting at the moment? We're keeping our's laying with added light, they're getting about 14 hours per day at the moment. Of course, that will mean that they will burn out quicker, so you'll need to add fresh blood to the flock earlier, but light is one of the biggest factors when it comes to winter laying.
     

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