Rogue nests in the coop

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mclanea, Feb 4, 2017.

  1. mclanea

    mclanea Songster

    May 19, 2016
    San Diego
    So, we have 3 RIRs that are 9-10 months old. They are great layers. I have no real complaints about them.

    But they've started doing something that's just kind of weird and I was curious if there's anything I need to do about it or not.

    We have two nesting boxes. The 3 of have always taken turns and haven't ever really seemed to have a favorite box. It's not unusual for all 3 of them to lay in the same box either.

    Then about 5-6 weeks ago I decided to empty out the coop completely. Normally I just replace the straw from the coop floor but I went ahead and took everything out of the coop, including the nesting boxes.

    Really, since then, one of the chickens won't go in the box as she just kind of makes her own on the floor of the coop. It's no big deal as where her little nest has become is super accessible.

    But yesterday they had a little bit of an argument... they did this for like 30 minutes.

    But eventually they worked it out and everyone laid their egg.

    Today, I open up the coop to look for her egg and there's like six little nests on the floor of the coop.

    I find all of this amusing, I don't really care. Is there anything I need to be doing though? Is this just normal chicken tomfoolery?
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    That's the egg song, usually sung after an egg has been laid, many birds will join in.

    Do you have fake eggs in your boxes? By changing up the bedding things became different which makes chickens wary. Using fake eggs will show them that other chickens found the boxes a safe place to lay. Chickens can be goofy, but everything they do has a biological origin.
    1 person likes this.
  3. snow5164

    snow5164 Songster

    May 16, 2015
    [​IMG]I keep some ( a handful) of the old nesting material so it smells like home to them when I clean .Move their floor nests into the boxes.
    I moved a new box in my one coop today without changing the nesting grass, I'm not kidding when I say all 17 birds had to go in it and poke around , then come out[​IMG]!! Silly birds, these two just threw the whole " nest" on the floor, they prefer carpet !!
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017
    1 person likes this.
  4. mclanea

    mclanea Songster

    May 19, 2016
    San Diego
    Thanks. Bringing back the golf balls is a good idea. Silly chickens.

    And yeah... I'm super familiar with the chicken song since my home office is like 20 feet from their coop. This was notable because it was all 3 of them at the same time and it went on for about 30 minutes... and it was before any of them had laid an egg. (Normally by about 10 AM; they didn't lay yesterday until like 3.)

    No biggie... just weird!
  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    [​IMG] Well said! Chickens feel the nests have been compromised if they are disturbed too much.

    When I change out my hay and put the fresh hay back in, I try to make a nice bowl shape in the middle and make it look like a hen has been in there already. They aren't all that smart but they do like things to LOOK somewhat like they did before. When I destroy a nest in the nearby woods I find them laying in, I'll remove their eggs and destroy the "bowl" of the nest, even laying a couple of large sticks across the site. If I just take all the eggs, they will lay there again...must destroy the nest.

    Hay bowls! They love 'em.


    1 person likes this.
  6. mclanea

    mclanea Songster

    May 19, 2016
    San Diego
    This is all super helpful. I see what I did wrong now. Basically, if there's not a reason to clean out those nesting boxes I just won't...

    When I clean up their run I've stopped spreading the straw around because I noticed that they really, really loved digging through the pile doing it themselves. I think I assumed that they'd have just as much fun redoing their next boxes. Apparently not!
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Not sure if I'd call that the 'egg song'....I call it the bitchinanmoanin song...haha!
    Some days they just all take turns with no fuss...some days they go at the yakkin for what seems like hours.

    They do not like change, sometimes their reactions are extreme.
    This year when I did a total change out of pine shavings, they freaked out!
    Would not come into the coop at all.
    I grabbed a few and brought them in and you'd think those new shavings were hot coals!
    they jumped right up onto the roost boards, ramps, nest perches and complainedandcomplainedandcomplained.
    Pacing and jumping/flying back and forth from 'safe place' to 'safe place'.
    One made a break for it, risking her feet on those terrible shavings to get back out into the run.
    The others stayed up high for the rest of the afternoon despite BOSS and other treats sprinkled about.
    I thought I might have to do some massive chicken herding at roost time but luckily they all went back in on their own.
    Next day no problems. Fickle Chickens.
    1 person likes this.
  8. mclanea

    mclanea Songster

    May 19, 2016
    San Diego
    All great stuff. Thank you.
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I notice mine doing the same sound when they are excited or nervous. It’s not the egg song, but it sounds really close. If one gets going, many others will often join in.

    A lot of my hens do not sing the egg song after they lay the egg either. They just hop out and go about their business.

    I’ve noticed that some roosters (certainly not all) will leave the flock and go to a hen that is singing the real egg song. He mates with her then shows her where the rest of the flock is. It’s one of nature’s ways to get a rooster to fertilize the eggs of a hen that is actually laying. And it lets the hen that just came off the nest find the flock.
    1 person likes this.
  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    My roosters do the same thing....I think it's also timely breeding, when an egg is no longer blocking that canal where the semen needs to go. I think the call has more to do with locating the flock than it does anything to do with the hen has laid an egg, though I guess it could also have something to do with leading any predators away from the nest, as my free range hens don't seem to start that call until they are well away from the nesting area. That's how I know when one is laying out in the woods, as I'll hear that call from a wooded area and, if I'm quick enough, I'll get out there in time to see from whence she is coming and backtrack her to the nesting site. Could be ALL of those reasons for the "egg song".

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