Snow impacting laying behavior?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by NHMountainMan, Dec 3, 2019.

  1. NHMountainMan

    NHMountainMan Crowing

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    We've had about a foot of snow - no big deal compared to many parts of the northeast. But it's been snowing on and off for about 48 hours. The chickens have been out of the coop, in the run, and don't seem to mind the snow (but went into the coop when the wind kicked up). I haven't let them outside the run to explore - I want to wait until the storm is over to let them out.

    When I went out this a.m. to feed and water and collect eggs (I have 3 reliable nest box layers and 6 others that are only about 16 weeks old), I found one egg in the middle of the coop, amongst the pine shavings. I also found 3 of the ceramic eggs I place in the next box in different areas of the coop (mostly near a corner). The other 2 eggs were in the nest box as always. I also found a soft shelled egg just beneath the nest box - so someone is getting ready to lay - despite the weather.

    Curious -- why are they moving the ceramic eggs around? Is this behavior boredom? I'm guessing the egg I found in the middle of the coop was lay in the nest and rolled out by someone else? And - how the heck re they moving them???

    I learn something new every day and just when I think I'm getting the hang of this - they confuse the heck out of me!
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

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    I can't answer as to all of your chickens' behavior, but snow isn't contributing to it directly. Stress from weather extremes would be a more likely cause of the interruption of laying. Or the length of the days have finally reached the cut-off where it's not enough to trigger egg hormones.

    Why the darlings are seeing fit to rearrange the fake eggs, you'll have to ask them.
     
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  3. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    I have golf balls in the nest boxes and they have moved them too. I never got a picture of them doing it but I have even found the golf balls outside of the coop. Tis a mystery.
     
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  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Your new layer may have kicked the fake eggs out, especially if there is not a sufficient bottom front on nest, they get pretty rambunctious arranging the nest bedding at first.
    Hard to say if the snow had anything to do with it.
    Wants to see pics of chicken going out into 1' deep snow :D
     
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  5. NHMountainMan

    NHMountainMan Crowing

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    The three reliable layers are still laying - just one of the eggs was in the coop rather than the nest box. I'm assuming the younger pullets wouldn't lay until early spring, though the soft shelled egg looks like one of the younger may be starting?
    I may have to put a gopro camera in the to see how they move the ceramic eggs around.
    Thanks all.
     
  6. NHMountainMan

    NHMountainMan Crowing

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    Thanks. I didn't have much of a front edge, so that makes sense.

    At this point, we've only got a few inches of snow left on top of the ridge. As always, 40 mph winds have pushed most of the snow down the driveway a bit (had to get up at 5 to clear the 4 ft snow drifts on the driveway so the Mrs could get to work.)

    The chickens will be in the run for a few days at least - while clearing snow this am found coyote tracks circling the electric fence.

    But I will get those pics at some point once real winter hits!
     
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  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    That would be interesting. I have put cameras in some of the coops but never caught them doing anything.
     
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  8. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    I get coyotes around the coops and they know the electric wire is there. I have a lot of pictures.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    It's possible.
    How old are they, in weeks?
    Here's some tips on how to tell....
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/who-is-laying-and-who-is-not-butt-check.73309/

    I have a couple 27wo pullets that sure look close, one even has started the pelvic spread, but no eggs yet. Am about to crank up the lights as the older girl are about done molting.
     
  10. NHMountainMan

    NHMountainMan Crowing

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    I love seeing your predator posts. I take in most of my game cams once it gets cold - the batteries die so quickly. We have a lot of pack coyotes in the area, but this was a single coyote that circled the electric net. then headed off into the woods. I figured I'd give it a few days before I open the run door.
     

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