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No longer laying in nest box

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 3chickchicks, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. 3chickchicks

    3chickchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 4 pullets who, for months, had been using the nest box religiously. Suddenly they stopped using it. I went out and had only one egg for the day. The next day, no eggs. I searched the yard and haven't found a nest yet. I locked them in the run to see if they're taking a hiatus or if I need to search the yard better. Yesterday I got two eggs. This morning, I found one near the nest box under the roost. The roost is high enough that the egg would break if someone had laid it from up there. Plus the nesting material inside the nest box was tossed about much more than usual. Everyone is acting healthy and it would be weird for all or most of them to suddenly become egg bound.

    They seemed very happy with the nest box at first. Do pullets take a hiatus? Has anyone had their flock suddenly not like a nest box they've been using? Our temps have been fluctuating wildly. In one week we'll have a day with a high in the 70's, go down to a high of 28, back up to a high of 68, back down to 12..all within one week. Would that do it?
     
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    My Coop
    Cold snaps will clamp off the egg laying for a spell. It can be a bit of a shock to the hen. However if they all of a sudden stop using a particular nest box or all of them for that matter, you probably need to clean the boxes out. If they get too dirty, full of poop, full of mites or bugs, or even mice or snakes wandering in and out of them, the hens will not use them. They are very sensitive to a dirt nest box. Every time a hen goes to lay an egg, to her, she is picking out a place she might hatch that egg. So if it is not good enough to lay it in, it is certainly not good enough for her babies.

    So you might do some cleaning and use fake eggs in the boxes to re-entice the birds back in, telling them it is safe to go back to laying there. [​IMG]
     
  3. MyPetNugget

    MyPetNugget Enjoying the cold!!!

    [​IMG]I will have to clean mine out soon.
     
  4. YlwBrchHobbyFrm

    YlwBrchHobbyFrm Out Of The Brooder

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    Since the nesting material was pushed out of the box probably means they decided to bathe in the nest boxes and then due to the fact that there wasn't much litter left, they felt better about laying on the floor.

    I've had problems with this in the past and what I did was nailed up a board along the lower 1/3 of the nest box (to keep the nesting material IN the box, rather than kicked out on the floor) and make sure to keep a nice amount of clean litter in the boxes. They have not laid an egg on the floor since :) Hope this helps!
     
  5. 3chickchicks

    3chickchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's the weird thing, the material was in the box. It was shoved up against the sides. I use shredded paper for material.
    I cleaned it out and have them new material. Still only got two eggs and another cold front is coming through tonight.
    We'll see. Thanks for the advice!
     
  6. YlwBrchHobbyFrm

    YlwBrchHobbyFrm Out Of The Brooder

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    Being that it was shoved up against the sides definitely makes me think they bathed in there. My hens were doing the same thing- so just put a nice healthy amount of nesting material in there so if they do bathe, there's still some depth on the bottom of the box and not just the sides :) It seems they know how fragile their eggs are :)

    We've got the horrible cold too. Although it seems it's ALWAYS cold- we get this "extra cold" cold every handful of days; close to -30 air temp with windchills double that. Ugh...

    Stay warm :)
     
  7. 3chickchicks

    3chickchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My weather hasn't been nearly as cold as yours but the swings have been annoying. It doesn't stay cold long enough to get acclimated but it doesn't stay warm long enough to enjoy it. IMO this winter has been really weird and quite frankly has been pissing me off since I'm usually stuck at work on the warm days, lol!

    Today was their first day with new nesting material. I got two eggs. I usually get three or four. I'm going to wait for the winds to calm down from their 45 mph ([​IMG]) to check the yard again.
     
  8. 3chickchicks

    3chickchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just remembered that I've got a mild case of fowl pox going through the flock. Just a few black dots on waddles and combs. They had been vaccinated when they were little so I guess it's made the case mild. I assume that could be a reason for a drop in egg production though.
     

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