Why do all our hens want to use the same nesting box?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jesseanne, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. Jesseanne

    Jesseanne In the Brooder

    May 17, 2010
    We have 6 nesting boxes and 13 hens and they all line up to use the same box. Some of them even get upset when they go into the coop and another hen is in that box. They will make a lot of noise until they can get in that box. Why is this? The other boxes are all the same size with wood shavings, same height, etc. Why won't they just use the other boxes?
  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Because IT'S the best one! Obviously it's the best one, can't YOU tell? Everybody wants to use it!

    I dunno why chickens do that. Some have speculated that it's because they see another hen use it, it must therefore be a "GOOD" nest, so they'll all try to use it.

    That's why we put the "lure" eggs (in my case, golf balls) into as many nest boxes as we can. See - somebody else has laid an ... egg... here! It's a good one too!
  3. Blue_Myst

    Blue_Myst Songster

    Feb 5, 2009
    My hens do exactly the same thing. It's nothing wrong with the boxes, they just have branded that particular nest as "perfection". Obviously the other boxes can only be used out of desperation [​IMG]
  4. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    I use this behavior as an example for my kids to show them the dubious wisdom in following fashion trends. It seems that chickens (and fashion-followers) prefer NOT to think for themselves, but accept what others have chosen as being the best for them too. They see an egg in a nest and say "well, SOMEbird thought that was a safe place to leave an egg, I'll lay mine there too!" They are really attracted to laying in a nest where a broody hen is setting. "Look, SHE thinks that place is so safe she's planning to raise a family there! I'll put one of MY eggs there too!"
  5. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    I don't know for sure, but I have a hunch from watching our three hens go broody and hatch out chicks this spring. They all laid eggs in the same nestbox, which meant that a clutch of the right size for setting (for my small bantams, that was 8 or 9 eggs) only took 3 or 4 days. If a single hen tried to lay all those eggs herself, it would take her more than a week, and the eggs would not be as fresh when she started to incubate them, or as likely to hatch.

    As soon as one went broody, the other two started laying their eggs in another nestbox. As soon as a clutch built up in that box, the second hen went broody. I moved some extra eggs to the third nest box so the third hen could start setting as soon as possible, or it would have taken the poor thing forever to lay enough eggs for a clutch all by herself.

    Try leaving a golf ball or a dummy egg in each of your nestboxes and see if your hens like laying in them better.
  6. bturbo87

    bturbo87 Songster

    Apr 22, 2010
    all except one of mine will only lay in the box that our broody is sitting in, and every afternoon, i got fishiing for fresh eggs because im the only one around here with big enough hands to pick her up from behind, and she tries to peck anyone else getting her "clutch" which consists of one experiment egg cause i didnt think it was fertile or tht she would stay broody. that one that doesnt lay in the box.... find a new way out of the run every morning, and laying her egg behind the coop on the ground....
  7. Jesseanne

    Jesseanne In the Brooder

    May 17, 2010
    Thank you all that responded to my question!! I tried putting a wooden egg in the other boxes and WaLa!! there were eggs in all boxes today!! I guess seeing an egg in the box makes them feel more secure about the box being a safe place to lay their precious eggs! Thank you again! I am so glad that I have found BYC Forum:D
  8. Jeeper1540

    Jeeper1540 Songster

    my chickens do that, and it ends in alot of eggs accidental stepped on, so i go out a couple times a day to disperse the eggs into different boxes
  9. blonduh

    blonduh Hatching

    Jul 31, 2013
    We have 16 nesting boxes and they all want to lay their eggs in the same place, which is a box, not set up for nesting. They cluck like crazy if someone is in there and they have to wait. I tried putting golf balls in ours because I heard they would lay more eggs that way. However, they kept throwing (kicking or whatever) the golf balls out of the nest. Guess I will search for some fake eggs to try in the other boxes so there won't be a line waiting for that one spot .

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