Strange Egglaying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Guest1, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. Guest1

    Guest1 Hatching

    Jan 7, 2008
    Hey everyone, I have two Rhode Island Reds, three Sex Links and a White Leghorn, all 19-20 weeks old and laying exceptionally well this winter (4-5 eggs/day). I have them in a coop, with two nesting boxes, and a 15'x10' run. The only problem is that they won't lay their eggs in the nesting box.. Instead, they dig HUGE holes in the run and bury all their eggs almost completely with dirt. I tried putting fake ceramic eggs in the nesting boxes to show them where to lay but they just kick them out. They don't even use the hay or wood chips to cover the eggs, they use the dirt!! [​IMG] Has this happened to any of you? Any help would be greatly appreciated, as I would like to break this habbit before I have to go in there with a shovel to get my eggs [​IMG]

    Thanks [​IMG]
  2. Redfeathers

    Redfeathers Songster

    Oct 11, 2007
    Gervais OR
    I've heard golf balls work, or placing their eggs in the nest box and not letting them out into the run until they lay that day.

    There are lot's of people here that can help, or try to do a search on the subject, I'm sure someone has had the same problem. Good luck!![​IMG]
  3. SeaChick

    SeaChick Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    That is weird. I will be interested to see if anyone has heard of hens burying eggs in dirt before...

    When one of our girls started laying she chose a corner of the henhouse, on the floor in a "nest" she dug out of the shavings. She didn't bury the eggs, though. Anyway, what we did is: put a big watering can on the spot she'd chosen, and then lift her into the nest boxes several times a day (especially when she started making the fussy "I need to lay an egg" sounds) so she would get the idea. It worked.

    Do your girls have a particular spot they go back to again and again? If so, can you put something there so they can't use the area, and watch them during the day, putting them in the nest boxes when they start seeming they need to lay? I'll bet once one of them gets the idea, the rest will follow... at least that's how our girls are.

    if they use the ENTIRE run, can you maybe cover the dirt up, like with old sheets tacked down with pegs? Or better yet, just keep them inside the hen house for a while? It shouldn't take more than a day or two to re-train them, I wouldn't think.

    Good luck and please keep us updated on the outcome!!

  4. Chatychick

    Chatychick Songster

    Jul 9, 2007
    Blue Mound, Kansas
    I took a regular egg and a marker and returned the egg to the nest. I marked the egg so I will know which 1 not to bring into the house...they seemed to get the idea really fast. No more strange areas or egg hunts anymore...cept 1 chicken she is determined to lay in my barn with the donkey close by...I think she feels its more secure for her and he dont bother her at all. Good luck
  5. FryedChikenNGravy

    FryedChikenNGravy Hatching

    Apr 30, 2007
    How far are you nest located off the ground? If they are pretty high, put some walking ramps up for the girls to get to them. Chickens are naturally inquisitve and love to fly up...the ramps will give them something to do and introduce them to the nest boxes.
    And, if possible, keep them locked in the coop until mid afternoon. You will have to "force" the change, but once one starts using the nest, most likely the others will follow.
    Nest height and location are important. Lower and darker are better. I have two nest facing the morning sun that have NEVER had an egg laid in them and the two facing the opposite way are used frequently.
  6. Guest1

    Guest1 Hatching

    Jan 7, 2008
    Thanks for the replies. They pick one spot, usually in the middle of the run. They dig a huge hole, lay their eggs, and cover them with dirt. It is the strangest laying I've ever seen. I have had an egg or two buried underneath the feeder, but that rarely happens. I've watched them do their whole "I need to lay an egg" process and it reminds me more and more of how a turtle lays eggs lol.. My nesting boxes are at the lowest perch, maybe 2-3 inches off the ground and they are in the corners of the coop and farely dark. I've used fake eggs and even transferred a real egg to the nesting boxes, but they still continue to lay in one big pile and bury them. I'll try locking them in the coop for a few hours to see if anything happens. Thanks for the advice, I'll keep you all updated.
  7. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    Sounds like they're falling back on their reptile roots doesn't it??
    Very interesting...
  8. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Quote:Funny, thats exactly my first thought!
  9. redcomb

    redcomb Hatching

    Oct 23, 2007
    My youngest layers sometimes bury their eggs within the hay shaft and dirt. I was cleaning the nest out yesterday, actually, and happened to find one that was completely buried.

    I have also found some buried on the floor, but in separate spots, not in one nest.
  10. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    Where they are all laying together maybe you need a huge nest box instead of several small ones.

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