One hen not following the rules

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chickensuz, Feb 19, 2019.

  1. chickensuz

    chickensuz In the Brooder

    15
    13
    27
    Jan 11, 2019
    Buxton, NC
    HI All,

    I have 12 laying hens and 3 nest boxes. Our birds are free range during the day with access to the nest boxes all day. We have one hen, a Crested Cream Leg Bar, who is almost daily on the other side of the fence. Today, my husband followed her as she snuck under the fence, crossed the street and went into a "private" space. To our surprise, we found a stash of 16 eggs! All hers.
    My hubby grabbed her and brought her to the coop where he locked her in until she laid in the nest box. So, a few questions:

    1. Do we need to throw out the 16 eggs? We have had cool weather but lots of rain during the last two weeks.

    2. How do I get her to lay in the nest box without locking her in and locking all the other hens out?

    Thanks for any advice.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. ashlierami

    ashlierami Songster

    609
    1,056
    222
    Feb 9, 2017
    Alabama
    I would check the eggs in water to see if the float or what not to determine if they are still good. When one of my new hens wouldn't use the nest box I kept her in her own coop with her rooster to try and train her to stay home. I did so for about 3 weeks . Once I let her out she never left to lay elsewhere and started used the nest the other eggs were in. Your hen probably found that spot as comfortable and private . Do you have hens "waiting in line" to lay? If so I'd add more nests. Also does she get bullied if she's in the nest box and another hen is wanting to lay as well? This could drive her away if another hen comes and wants her out . My girls lay about the same time every day. All 5 of them so I have 6 nests so they aren't waiting for one to come available.
     
  3. Fishkeeper

    Fishkeeper Songster

    1,360
    2,583
    216
    Oct 30, 2017
    Central Texas
    She might have gone broody. How much time did she spend off the nest?
     
  4. chickensuz

    chickensuz In the Brooder

    15
    13
    27
    Jan 11, 2019
    Buxton, NC
    Thanks for the advice. She is one of 4 younger birds that we added later than the originals and she seems to be picked on by the others. I was wondering the same thing and we had discussed adding another nest box. Sometimes it seems everyone wants to lay at the same time.
     
  5. chickensuz

    chickensuz In the Brooder

    15
    13
    27
    Jan 11, 2019
    Buxton, NC
    Not broody. She just lays and then comes running back. I think she may be being bullied out of the nest box.
     
  6. imnukensc

    imnukensc Songster

    993
    2,004
    239
    May 22, 2017
    SC Midlands
    I would toss the eggs or scramble or boil them and feed them back to the chickens. Just not worth it to get sick from people eating them.
     
    aart likes this.
  7. chickensuz

    chickensuz In the Brooder

    15
    13
    27
    Jan 11, 2019
    Buxton, NC
    Thats a good idea too.
     
  8. ashlierami

    ashlierami Songster

    609
    1,056
    222
    Feb 9, 2017
    Alabama
    Sounds like it is a combination of her being bullied as well as a nest not being available when she's ready to lay. I originally thought for 5 hens 2 or 3 nests would be sufficient. Then I had all the girls either bullying one another off the nest or waiting in line. I would keep her up preferably in an area where she has access to a nest and this should become her new zone and she will lay there whenever she is let free range again.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    56,599
    42,897
    1,307
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    This will only tell you if eggs are older (the older they are the more they will float),
    it will not tell you if they are 'bad' or 'good'. Need to open them up one at a time in a dish and use your eyes and nose to tell if they are 'bad' before adding to cooking pan or recipe.

    This^^^
    I would not eat eggs that had been out in the weather for that long.

    I would lock them all in the coop(and run?) ....if it's big enough.
    Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for a week or so can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop and maybe run 24/7 for a few days to a week, provided you have adequate space and ventilation, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    56,599
    42,897
    1,307
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    This will only tell you if eggs are older (the older they are the more they will float),
    it will not tell you if they are 'bad' or 'good'. Need to open them up one at a time in a dish and use your eyes and nose to tell if they are 'bad' before adding to cooking pan or recipe.

    This^^^
    I would not eat eggs that had been out in the weather for that long.

    I would lock them all in the coop(and run?) ....if it's big enough.
    Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for a week or so can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop and maybe run 24/7 for a few days to a week, provided you have adequate space and ventilation, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: