Older hen and pullet fighting for nest box


8 Years
Aug 5, 2011
I'd be really grateful for your opinions as I'm very worried about my hens.

I have one older hen and 9 pullets. One of the pullets has started laying. They both go in the same next box although there is a choice of three. They argue over it the larger hen pecked the younger's crest, drawing blood, two days ago. Yesterday, after much noisy consternation by both parties, they both managed to lay without a fight. But today, there is blood all over the nest box where the older has badly pecked the younger's crest.

I don't know why they don't use the other nest boxes - they are all the same and I have changed the bedding so it is nice and fresh.

I don't have another shed for quarantine and I am very worried the violence will escalate.

Any ideas?
honestly, I think they will just work it out. mine will sometimes jam 3 in a box. Why? no idea.
Either the young pullet will get the idea or they will share the box. Not really much you can do about it since it's not a "pecking" issue where someone is being picked on.

The wound was probably not as bad as all the blood would make it appear. It's like getting a little cut on your head - bleeds like crazy but no real damage. It's an area where the blood is really close to the surface and lots of vessels.
I have six hens about 23 weeks old and until very recently they all laid eggs in the same nest (there are three nests all the same). Sometimes there would be two in the same nest and a third waiting for room. When I mentioned this in this forum someone suggested that I put fake eggs in the nests that were not used. I recently did that and for the last several days the other nest boxes are being used to some extent. The most eggs are still in the first nest box but there are also eggs in the others. Try it as it worked somewhat for me.
Yes, I agree with Capvin, I had the same thing over the years with my hens and have had two setting in a nest at once and one standing there clucking for them to get off with an empty nest right below them. I did the same thing with putting golf balls in the other nest and it helps but they lay in the same nest by nature. They get a collection of eggs, anyones eggs and then they go broody and hatch them. That is how they are supposed to work and they go out of they way to do that.
i agree, but if this continues for too long and you get really worried, block off that nestbox for a few weeks, then open it back up, they will be forced to use different nest boxes then. it may be something simple like darkness, tilt, angle, direction, position from pop hole, position from perch etc
Thanks for all your advice. After a couple of bloody encounters they just settled down and now our older hen has integrated beautifully with the young flock who are now all laying. Thanks, I'm so glad I didn't give up on our older bird as she has been a real star layer and member of the flock!

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