Please help - why do hens all want to use the same nesting box?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by KarenAnda, Sep 1, 2014.

  1. KarenAnda

    KarenAnda New Egg

    Apr 7, 2014
    We have 3 hens and 3 nesting boxes and yet they all insist on using the same box. At first is was the box closest to the coopr door and now it's the one furthest away. Now I have two problems.

    1) I have a broody wyandotte and she won't let anyone else into THE nesting box. The barred rock manages to somehow make her scoot over enough that they are both in the same box and she lays and then gets out.

    2) the buff orpington cannot get into lay her eggs. She hasn't laid in weeks. Now their is a bigger problem and her feathers are all over the place in the run and the coop, scattered everywhere. I was at first thinking she was getting picked on (and she may be) but I'm wondering if she is losing her feathers due to stress from not being able to lay.

    Please let me know your thoughts and any suggestions you might have.

    I usually get the broody hen out of the coop and close the coop door and let them all free range but we are having a new fence installed (could also be adding to stress) and therefore I cannot let them out right now...
  2. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

    Jan 10, 2013
    I'm still new to raising chickens, mine are 18 months old. But, I think if a chicken needs to lay an egg, she cannot stop it and will lay it in the coop, run or other if needed. My 6 share 2 nests an experts advise 1 box for every 3-4 chickens is acceptable. I have had 2 broodies monopolize both nests, and the other 4 find a way to use the nests to lay anyway.

    Your chicken losing feathers may be molting. Most texts report they stop laying when this happens, but I have 2 BO's molting and laying nearly daily.

    It seems to me on the forum, if someone answers a post, others jump in. Hope someone with lots of experience will. Otherwise, I would let the chickens work it out, mine have solved most of my concerns without my intervention for the past 1.5 years.
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    I don't have lots of experience. But, I think the orp is not laying b/c she is molting. You might try putting some fake, or even real eggs in the other boxes. Good luck. They can be very opinionated regarding nest boxes!!!
  4. ShockValue

    ShockValue Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 10, 2010
    West Sound, Washington
    Move the broody at night to another box.

    The Orp may be laying elsewhere hidden.

    The excess feathers might be from the broody plucking her breast feathers. This is normal if that's what is going on.

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