They keep flying the coop!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JustOneMore, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. JustOneMore

    JustOneMore Chillin' With My Peeps

    Our April 24th hatched pullets are driving me batty. A few weeks ago 3 of the 8 started leaving their large fenced (5') yard. Every day I would find them outside the fence and would open the gate and chase them back in. They weren't getting UNDER so they must be going over. I looked everywhere for secret nests and found nothing.

    Then that behavior stopped.

    Today, 2 of the repeat offenders did it again ... and this time a different 3rd joined them. I heard the egg song and went out to the coop to discover empty nest boxes and that new 3rd bird, losing her mind racing along the back edge of the fence. Again, I opened the gate. This time they all raced back in. (I confess, I did toss out scratch for the good ladies who stayed behind, which may have been incentive for the others!)

    Our coop has plenty of next boxes (8). Currently we have 3 known laying hens (none of the above) who use the boxes reliably. In recent weeks the "practicing" pullets have been digging nest-like craters in the coop floor shavings every morning.

    Do I need to put everyone on lockdown for those April girls to get the idea that eggs belong in the coop?

    I have no idea if they are really laying though they've had dark red combs for months.

    Seeking advice from those in the know!

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Baymule

    Baymule Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,106
    97
    226
    Jul 1, 2010
    Northeast Texas
    Lock them up for a couple of weeks and clip feathers on one wing for the fly-over-the-fencers!
     
  3. myminicooper

    myminicooper Out Of The Brooder

    41
    0
    22
    Apr 25, 2010
    San Fernando Valley
    I had the same problem with 1-2 of my hens, it was always the same girl too, she would sit on the fence and then jump over. I clipped one side, and they could still jump up and over. Sometimes one or two of the girls would follow her over the fence, other times it was just her. I just kept catching them and tossing them back in, and eventually (actually when they started laying), they stopped. It's almost as if they were being rebellious and once they grew up and became adults they matured. I keep a wood egg in the nest box all the time now. The same hen that would always jump the fence would lay on the coop floor, but once I put the egg in there and 2 others started laying in there she does as well. I also notice the holes in the shavings inside the coop, and I think its just them doing a "dust" bath of sorts. I see the same holes outside in the dirt and usually they are in them tossing dirt on themselves.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. JustOneMore

    JustOneMore Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you both for your input!

    I feel badly about locking up everyone because of a few bad ... well, eggs. But if that's the best solution to get them on track then that's what we will do.

    On further inspection, their sandbox does look similar to the coop floor with deep craters.


    Each of our 8 nest boxes has a wooden egg but the little stinkers keep kicking them out and burying them in the shavings on the coop floor. I am beginning to question their mothering instincts!

    Thanks again.
     
  5. myminicooper

    myminicooper Out Of The Brooder

    41
    0
    22
    Apr 25, 2010
    San Fernando Valley
    Mine do that too, it's almost like they know it's fake and don't want it in there. I just keep putting it back every morning after they kick it out during the night.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by