Why would hen suddenly stopped laying in the nest boxes?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CarolJ, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

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    Jun 3, 2011
    Middle Tennessee
    My New Hampshire has been laying in the nest boxes since her first egg last summer. Suddenly the past week, she has been laying in the run, on the poop board, on the floor - anywhere but a nest box. We have plenty of nest boxes - and I'm at a loss. I'm tired of picking up nasty eggs, though. Any ideas of how to get her to return to the nest box?
     
  2. chkinut

    chkinut Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2010
    Leesburg, Ohio
    sounds like a silly hen you got there! lol! i've had hens decide to lay in different nest boxes, or lay where i store the hay. but never in the poopy places etc. i DO have some ceramic eggs that i've had to use in the past to give hens a clue. i would suggest using some ceramic eggs and place them in the boxes. how many chickens do you have? well, i'm sure you have more than one. you would think she would at least learn from the other girls. i hope someone else can be of better help to you. good luck!
     
  3. RedIII

    RedIII Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tooele, Utah
    Is anything disturbing her while she's in the nest boxes?

    I would agree with chkinut's method. I have put a golf ball in my box and it really encouraged my girls to lay in the box. I'd only had them for a couple of weeks prior to that and I don't think they knew where to lay, even though I had another pullet who was using the box.
     
  4. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

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    There have been ceramic eggs in the nest for the past few weeks because I have some pullets who are at POL. She laid her eggs in the nest for a long time when there weren't ceramic eggs in the nest - and she laid in them when the ceramic eggs were in there. She just started laying them anywhere but the nest the past week.

    How many chickens? I have 26 chickens in the flock - 10 are laying - 14 are POL - and there are two roosters. There are ten nest boxes.
     
  5. LarrySC

    LarrySC Out Of The Brooder

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    How often do you change or clean the boxes;; We have seen some of ours will not lay in a box, if there is a mess from another broken egg; as soon as we change the cardboard, and hay, they go right back to laying in the box.
     
  6. RedIII

    RedIII Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmmm, it does make me wonder if something was upsetting her in the box. I had five girls at the time I used the golf ball, two of those girls being new to the flock. The newbies were 20-month-old hens that had been sporadically laying for a while before I got them. The other girls I had consisted of a hen who was not laying and two pullets who had just started laying. Just one box was set up, and they all did fine.
     
  7. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

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    The nest boxes are kept clean - no broken eggs, no poop - occasionally a few feathers which I remove. I replenish the pine shavings regularly.

    I'm wondering if it might be one of the roosters bothering her. I have a RIR/NH mix rooster who just started trying to mate the hens the past couple weeks. I usually observe the flock for awhile each day - but I think if the weather is okay tomorrow, I'll go out and stay a long time and just watch to see if anything unusual is going on that might be bothering the hen.

    Thanks, everyone, for your responses. The input really helps me think through things.
     
  8. gunsthatfail

    gunsthatfail New Egg

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    Mar 12, 2011
    I'm in a similar situation. 6 wyandottes and 3 easter eggers. After 5 months of everyone laying in the box my alpha, (an ee), has been dropping them anywhere else. At first I found I found one on the floor of the coop and I thought that she just got up early to do some business and it was too dark to hop up in the box. I walk the yard everyday. I started finding them in the open in the yard and then a couple more in the coop after it was light enough for her to get in the box. The nests are clean and large enough for them to double up in an emergency. I haven't had golf balls in the box for a couple of months but I'll try putting them back in because I can't think of anything else to try.
     

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