WHY is she doing this?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bawkbawkbawk, Mar 21, 2015.

  1. bawkbawkbawk

    bawkbawkbawk Chillin' With My Peeps

    Eight month old EE, has been laying for a few months. She has always been the most skittish one of my small flock. Only she and my Barred Rock are laying, plenty of room for them on the nesting counter, although there is occasional conflict between them if they both have a job to do there at the same time.

    But today the Barred Rock laid early in the morning and is busying herself elsewhere, so no gridlock on the nesting counter. But the EE decided to go nutso ripping up another counter in the coop. I went in and cleared it up once and she went right back up there and ripped up all the newspaper and paper towels and scattered the pine shavings from here to Timbuktu. She finally laid her egg there.

    I am not all that OCD but if I bother to clean up the countertop for them every day, it seems like she could at least leave it alone and lay where she is supposed to.

    Any ideas why she is being such a pill?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Strange choice of nest and bedding...a shelf with newspapers?

    Maybe enclosed nest boxes would work better for her, she's obviously not feeling safe?
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2015
  3. Rowsdower

    Rowsdower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Too much violence in the news these days?

    But seriously, I don't think she likes the paper. Get her something finer like hay or wood shavings, something she can throw up onto her back and really get into. lol
     
  4. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She also might be thinking of going broody and therefore wants to make her "own nest" away from the communal ones where she can lay a clutch of her own eggs and then hatch them. EEs usually have some araucana gebetics and my experience of that is that they are more wily and have more natural instinct. Mine lays in the nest boxes pretty well every day until she is ready to lay a clutch for hatching and then she disappears off somewhere sneaky (my hens free range and I keep them in an old farm yard so there are lots of interesting places for her to hide) and she lays one a day in her secret nest, until she has a nice pile of about 14 and then she doesn't come in to roost in the hen house one night and I have to go looking for her and the nest.... usually involves ladders and crawl boards. I guess if your chicken is confined to a hen house and enclosed run there are limited options for her to make her own secret nest and this is her best effort. Perhaps you could create a little nest box for her on the counter top or even mount it higher up on the coop wall where she can fly up to it. Mine like nice dark "private" places so face it towards the wall with just a gap for her to get in behind it to get in or put a curtain across the front of one of your less popular nest boxes and see if that helps satisfy her need for somewhere of her own. Stapling a bit of paper or plastic feed bag from the top of the nest box is an easy way to do it and trim it so that it hangs almost to the lip leaving an inch or two gap.
    I used to cover my counter top with newspaper to make it easy to keep clean but I sharp had to give up on that idea as mine were up there ripping it up the moment my back was turned.

    Chickens just like making a mess though and scratching is second nature to them. You have to learn to roll with it to a large extent.
     
  5. roseyred

    roseyred Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with rowsdower. They don't like stuff like that, if the paper were shredded it would be a different story. Whole news paper just isn't comfortable and squishy so really she's trying to rip it up to make her nest. Try hay. You can get a bale for like $4 and I'll last you. They can pick little grains out of it too which they love. The fact that she's all the way in the corner like that tells me she's not comfortable sitting on that hard news paper.
     
  6. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    So, this is a photo of where she chose to lay, but not the area you intend for laying, am I reading your post correctly? Can you post a photo of the area you have that you intend for laying? That will better help us identify why she may not have wanted to use that area.
    It seems you may be looking at this through human eyes, but the problem is your chickens are looking at this from their perspective. It may be a matter of not quite understanding what they want.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2015
  7. Rowsdower

    Rowsdower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think I see the problem...judging by the date on that paper, it's yesterday's news.
     
  8. AmericanMom

    AmericanMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have around 52 laying hens, given that three are 4 years old and not sure they are laying anymore ( I keep them because they started me on this crazy journey, they deserve to finish it with me) two are broody and then just the math that not all layers lay on the same day I am gathering between 42-45 eggs a day.. My flock free ranges alittle over 1/2 acre. I have set up many places on the property for them to go but generally they lay in two places, the coop and the rabbit house. I have one hen, a 6 month old Speckled Sussex that is one of 15 pullets that just started laying last month.. all the others have found their spot except her.. She is my shadow when I am in the run/coop. Although we have 3 roosters she sticks pretty close to me, she doesn't squat for the boys but only for me and likes to be carried around. She lays her eggs under the roost. I have watched her check out nesting boxes and all the hidey holes but she always goes back to "her" spot.. I figure one day one of the boys will remind her she is indeed a chicken and she will understand where those things that pop out of her behind belong but for now I know to look for her egg each day in the spot that for whatever reason she has chosen. I think personally she is pretty low on the pecking order and getting into a box where another hen "might" want to be is to taxing and she goes where nobody else goes, so because she chose that spot I keep that part of the roost clean and ready for her
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2015
  9. bawkbawkbawk

    bawkbawkbawk Chillin' With My Peeps

    Okay, to clarify, the counter she tore up is NOT the nesting counter. Here is a photo of the perfectly adequate nesting counter my hens have used for years:

    [​IMG]

    I do line the shelves with newspaper and then paper towels, with plenty of pine shavings on top.

    She has laid her egg on the nesting counter the past two days but every now and then she seems to go into some kind of hissy fit and rips up the counters under the sleeping roosts as in the previous photo.

    I think she might just be nuts.
     
  10. roseyred

    roseyred Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quite possibly true lol. I have a nuts chiken. She will scream her full head off like a tiger has her cornered when shes about to lay an egg....my boyfriend says its her egg battle cry instead of egg song.
     

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