refusing to use the nest box

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mirandamommy, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. mirandamommy

    mirandamommy Out Of The Brooder

    67
    0
    39
    Feb 29, 2008
    Central California
    One of my girls is laying an egg in the run instead of in the nice clean nest. She's been doing this for about a week now. Any ideas to entice her back upstairs?
     
  2. RooManRed

    RooManRed Chillin' With My Peeps

    175
    0
    109
    Jun 7, 2008
    Albany Ga.
    People use golf balls to show the hens where to lay their eggs. Try putting one or two in the nest. It may take her a little bit to figure it out.
     
  3. I have tried golf ball, plastic easter eggs, but they still lay UNDER the nests, now I just tell them what pretty girls they are and collect my eggs from under the nests. marrie
     
  4. mirandamommy

    mirandamommy Out Of The Brooder

    67
    0
    39
    Feb 29, 2008
    Central California
    I do have golf balls in the nests?
     
  5. RooManRed

    RooManRed Chillin' With My Peeps

    175
    0
    109
    Jun 7, 2008
    Albany Ga.
    Maybe try putting her in the nest box once or twice a day till she gets it. Not sure, I haven't had that problem. Just trying to help.
     
  6. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    6,583
    14
    261
    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    Where is she on the pecking order? It's possible that the other birds haven't been letting her near the box, or that it's taken when she needs to go.
     
  7. Jenski

    Jenski Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    What do the nest boxes look like? I had some issues with some of my banties not wanting to use the nest boxes, and as it turned out they thought it was too bright in there (too many windows!). I put up a small valance (curtain) partway across the boxes and voila! From that day on everyone used the nest boxes.
     
  8. gckiddhouse

    gckiddhouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 9, 2008
    Desert Hills, AZ
    In my very limited experience, instinct is very strong. If the hen laid her first egg there in the run, that is where she will go over and over. Or if she laid there for some random reason, she may continue because that is what she remembers doing.

    I had one hen who laid her first egg in a garbage can on my patio. For the next 7 days, we had to put her in the pen several times and she would fuss and go in and out of nesting boxes until she would finally settle in a box and lay. We got her to lay her next 7 eggs in the coop, but every time we let her out she would head straight for that garbage can.

    It was so funny when we finally found the lid and put it on. She came over and jumped up and landed on the lid. She looked around and you could see her thinking, "This doesn't look right". She scratched and looked a minute, then jumped down and went back to the edge of the patio. She turned around and started toward the garbage can as if she was thinking, "Let's try this again." and tried it all over again--- Hilarious!! [​IMG]

    Another hen laid her first in the yard during a rain storm. She never could find that spot again, so she still wanders around the yard squawking for at least 2 hours before she will finally go to the coop. The other day I found her in a dark spot behind a wall that had inadvertently been created by some equipment. I found her and an egg that she had laid the previous day. So I put her in the coop and she laid there again.

    What we found was that you have to change her habit by forcing her to lay where you want her to. And you have to do it for many days in a row. What we do is just watch for the seeking behavior and place her in a box. She will usually come out and then we place her again. Once she gets really close to laying, she will settle down where you put her.

    Once she has laid there a few times, she will get the idea.

    Also, as I think was mentioned, if she is low on the pecking order, the other hens may be chasing her out. This may also subside if you are there to nip it in the bud.

    We found that our hens were not fooled by fake eggs or golf balls, but I think others find this useful. They do like to lay where other eggs are, but they don't pay any attention to the fakes.

    That is our experience. I hope it helps a little. Good luck with that goofy hen!!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by