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We thought she quit

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bbhorsefly, Dec 30, 2015.

  1. bbhorsefly

    bbhorsefly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2015
    My very first egg layer laid eggs every day for 3 days, off the fourth, and start over. Two weeks ago, we added a couple new layers to the flock. We went from two layers to four and none of them so much as missed a day! Two eggs into her regular cycle, she stopped laying. No more of her pretty pale sage green eggs. [​IMG] The first few days I didn't think anything of it. The next few, I thought she just needed to settle back in with the new girls making her wait in line for the box, etc. Then I thought she had just stopped for the winter or something.
    Well, today we found this...

    I've been checking under the brush, but until this last egg, they weren't visible just walking by. But her little trail of eggs finally worked its way out from under the bush. At the end, a clutch of 4. We had to cut the branches back to even reach. They all tested fresh and with the lovely mild weather we've had, it didn't get cold enough to crack any! We've all had a good laugh.
    Hazard of free ranging, I know. But she'd never laid anywhere other than the nest box, so while I did look around the property, I never really suspected it.
  2. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 21, 2015
    No where Nebraska
    Yeah I have one I know has a nest somewhere but I have yet to find it. Glad you did
  3. DanEP

    DanEP Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2010
    Cadiz Ky
    It sounds like it's time to lock that girl down for a few days for retraining as to where to lay.Usually 3-4 days will do it unless she's try to build up a few eggs to sit on, but I would doubt it they normally would group them together for hatching.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2015
  4. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2013
    Hazard of free ranging, I know. But she'd never laid anywhere other than the nest box, so while I did look around the property, I never really suspected it.
    That happened here too. I noticed egg production was off slightly but didn't think much of it. Then I found a nest with 22 eggs of various colors so it must have been a communal nest behind the yew bush right next to the foundation, just like yours. I probably should have cracked the eggs to see if they were OK, and I could have scrambled them and fed them to the dogs, but I just tossed them. I kept the hens locked up for a few days and hopefully the problem has stopped. I also cleaned out the area around the bush so I can look right in now.
  5. bbhorsefly

    bbhorsefly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2015

    I put them in a bucket of water. If they float, they're bad. If they sink and sit on the bottom, they're fresh. If they are floating near the bottom, they're still good but on their way out so use them first!

    When I told my grandpa what happened, he told me the story of his sister and her chickens. She had about a half dozen that just had the run of the farm. They never got any eggs out of them, so after several months of nothing, not finding any eggs anywhere, nothing in the boxes, they butchered them. A couple months later, cutting a small bush out from under the windmill, they found a hole with 60 eggs in it! Poor girls were probably all laying and doing their jobs and got the axe despite their efforts. What a mess! None of the eggs were broken, but they didn't want to risk cracking them in the trash, who knows how long they'd been there, so they buried them.
  6. bbhorsefly

    bbhorsefly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2015

    To lock up one, I have to lock them all in. Aside from a am and pm feeding and closing and opening the pop door, they are totally free range. I'll tackle that only if I have to. I trimmed all the branches that gave her privacy, so maybe that's the end of it? I'm also going to limit the kids going out to egg hunt. We're all so excited every time one of the girls makes a trip into the coop, someone is just waiting for her to emerge so they can get the egg. Sometimes that collides with a girl wanting to use the box or she is on her way in, but gets distracted thinking we have treats. We might have to be that vigilant if the temps drop here down below freezing where it should be for this time of year, but right now it's unseasonal flip flop and shorts weather here in the Appalachians of Tennessee so completely unnecessary. I think the whole process will go much smoother if they can just find their rhythm and groove without people coming in and out all day. If not, I'll just have to cramp everyone's style for awhile.
  7. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 25, 2012
    There is a lesson to be learned here. That lesson is that hens prefer to lay on bare or almost bare dirt and in dark, secluded places. All things being equal, the eggs that hens incubate in places like this also hatch better.
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Might as well just lock them all up for a week, get it over with before colder weather arrives.

    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 3-4 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. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.
  9. bbhorsefly

    bbhorsefly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2015

    Yeeeeeeahhhhh. I let them out at regular time and she laid in the nest box today.....hopefully, that's the end of it for now. I try to avoid messing with their schedule and adding extra time, expense, and energy whenever possible.

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