Problem with egg laying

MaeM

Songster
Dec 9, 2020
172
319
136
So... I have a 7 months old Rhode Island hen who laid her first egg a few days ago and then nothing, until today... I saw her walking strangely and then she laid an egg right there, in front of everyone.

My guess is that she had her egg stuck.

After that she was inactive for a while (didn't want a treat, didn't move too much) but now she seems to be recovered.

Anyway, here's the thing. My chickens are used to free range, but I don't let them out without any kind of supervision. Nobody was home in the morning, so they didn't get out until mid-day.

They don't seem to like their nesting box so my guess is that my hen "held back" the egg until she was out? Last time she laid her egg in the bushes.

The other Rhode Island hen does the same thing. She usually lays eggs around 10 in the morning, but she waited to free range to lay in the bushes. Which sounds problematic.

What should I do? They should get used to the nesting box, shouldn't they? But they seem to prefer "waiting" and maybe that caused the stuck egg problem in the other hen? I don't know...
 

MaeM

Songster
Dec 9, 2020
172
319
136
What does the nesting box look like? How high is it? Is there straw or shavings in it? A ramp to access if needed? Post a pic if you can!

The nesting box is inside the coop the same way we have bedrooms in our houses (it's like a "room" but without a door). Yes, there is bedding and even fake eggs.

I think they don't use it because they chose that bush given that they're always free ranging... Now that I think about it, they don't like the coop itself, they try to sleep outside it and I have to carry them back to the coop when it's getting dark.

I read I should keep them locked in the coop but all they do when they're there is standing in front of the door waiting for it to open :/
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
6 Years
Jul 3, 2016
20,585
43,166
1,142
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
The nesting box is inside the coop the same way we have bedrooms in our houses (it's like a "room" but without a door). Yes, there is bedding and even fake eggs.

I think they don't use it because they chose that bush given that they're always free ranging... Now that I think about it, they don't like the coop itself, they try to sleep outside it and I have to carry them back to the coop when it's getting dark.

I read I should keep them locked in the coop but all they do when they're there is standing in front of the door waiting for it to open :/
A photo of the nest areas would help. It's not a bedroom, so that comparison doesn't help me imagine it. Actually the coop too, since you mentioned they don't like it.

You CAN lock them in the coop for several days to help home them to it, but only if there's adequate space inside (4+ sq ft floor space per bird) and ventilation (at least 1 sq ft per bird). Otherwise, especially if you're somewhere with hot or humid summers, the heat can be deadly.

Alternatively, do you have a run? A photo of that would be good too. Since the birds are used to laying out in free range, the best compromise would be to lock them into the coop until they're reliably using the nest boxes.
 

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