Please help a novice!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ClaireCI, Feb 16, 2015.

  1. ClaireCI

    ClaireCI Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 30, 2014
    Jersey, Channel Islands
    Hi,

    I previously posted asking for advice as one of my 3 hens had just started laying and wasn't using the nesting box but was unsing a planter outside, we suspected the cat was using the coop.

    We have for over two weeks now kept the cats in during the day and put fake eggs in the nesting boxes, the result? Now all 3 are laying and all outside!

    2 are laying in the planter and one in the middle of a hedge making it really hard to get at her eggs.

    My main concern now is that they are sat in their chosen nesting spots outside in the winter and even in torrents of rain and I can seem to disuade them. One even spend the night in the hedge rather than the coop. It was only when we went looking for her in the morning we even realised she had started laying, she was sat on 6 eggs!

    Sorry for the marathon post but I am getting desperate.

    Claire
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    You may have some challenges ahead of you. Hens have been hiding nests outside and hatching chicks in those nests for thousands of years, even ones out in the weather. They are a lot tougher than many people give them credit for. But you want them to lay in the coop. I would too.

    Can you lock them in the coop or coop and run for a couple of weeks or at least until each has laid her daily egg? They are creatures of habit. They are now in the habit of laying in their current nests. You need to break them of that habit. Remove all eggs in the other nests and try to mess it up so those spots don’t look as much like nests, but that is really hard to do. It doesn’t take much for them to rebuild a nest. This may require some construction on your part if your coop or run are not suitable to lock them up. I’ve had to do this a couple of times, lock the entire flock in the coop and run for over a week to break one hen from laying outside.

    One trick I’ve used when a hen is laying on the floor in the coop is to lock her in a nest when I catch her on her nest. I made a couple of my nests so I could lock a hen in there if I wanted to and it has come in handy several times for various things. When I find her on the floor laying her egg, I lock her in a nest until she lays her egg. That usually takes about a half hour but I’ve had some go three hours. Usually it only takes once for her to switch but I’ve had a few that I had to do that two days in a row. If you can’t get those two days in a row, they can get pretty stubborn about it. At least, most of them take only once.

    Other than either just accepting it or building nests where they want to lay, I can’t come up with anything else in your situation. Good luck.
     
  3. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Oregon
    My Coop
    Is there any enclosure around the coop or is it just out in the open? If you have a run, it's time for a little "tough love" coop training via confining your flock for a week or two to re-set their habits.
     
  4. ClaireCI

    ClaireCI Out Of The Brooder

    30
    3
    24
    Aug 30, 2014
    Jersey, Channel Islands
    Thank you both for the replies that's certainly given me things to try.

    They have a small coop and a closed in run area but I have let them have the run of my garden during the winter months as the sun doesn't doesn't get high enough in the shortest days to give them sun where the run is.

    The planter two of them are laying in is in the run but I can (an now will) stop them getting to it. I will try confining them for a few days. I had been reluctant as the protest VERY lily when I do and I have a non chicken friendly neighbour behind me who complains louder that the chickens cluck!

    Thanks again

    Claire
     

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