Strange laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by faith3655, Dec 5, 2014.

  1. faith3655

    faith3655 Out Of The Brooder

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    One of my girls has just started laying. My husband made a nesting box out of a 5 gallon bucket but she wants nothing to do with it. Instead she escapes and has found a styrofoam cooler that was half covered with a towel that was up off the ground. She won't lay anywhere else and even refuses to lay in that box if it is flat on the floor. Should I just keep allowing her to use this or is there a way I can train her?
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I would be concerned about her eating the styrofoam. Can you keep her shut in the coop for a few days to retrain her to a nest box? My girls absolutely refused to use a bucket nest also. Try giving her an other choice. Perhaps a cardboard box with a hole cut in it for her to enter. Be sure it is not tippy. It needs to feel secure to her. She's telling you she likes it dark. In the mean time, take away her cooler, keep her in the coop until she has laid her egg. Perhaps, even give her the towel that was over the cooler.

    An other thought, is she lower in the pecking order? Being bullied? Perhaps that's why she's not laying in the coop. Do you have any dummy eggs in your nest boxes? How many layers, how many boxes? You may even try putting the last egg she laid in the styrofoam box into the new nest box.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2014
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I've found the 5 gallon buckets to be too small for comfort.
    Get her a decent sized nest box 14" x 14" x 14" minimum in the coop.

    New layers can be quite goofy acting, they don't know what they are doing at first and can be confused and anxious, it can take up to a month or so before they get it all figured out. Meanwhile, eggs everywhere, some of them can be rather funky looking, soft or thin shelled, huge double yolked eggs.

    Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for 2-3 days can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. They can be confined to coop 24/7 for a few days to a week, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it.
     

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