Will a chicken lay in an egg box if there is already an egg in it?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ChickenHawk12, Oct 30, 2015.

  1. ChickenHawk12

    ChickenHawk12 Chirping

    May 7, 2015
    We only started getting eggs a few weeks ago, and are only getting 2-3 a day (sometimes only 1) from our 5 hens, so I'm sure only some of them are laying yet. This afternoon I went to the coop and there was 1 egg in each egg box (we have 2 egg boxes), and I found one on the ground in the middle of the run.

    This was the first time I've found an egg somewhere other than the coop. Is there a reason for this, or just some random weird chicken thing?

    Also, it is very dirty (and I'm assuming poopy because it was on the ground in the run). I can't wash it until I'm going to eat it though, right? I really don't want to put it in a carton with other eggs like that :-(
    1 person likes this.
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Some people like to have you think that chickens are great scholars that study the book of chicken life really well and follow all the rules. Real chickens are not quite like that. While we can tell you a lot of things that most chickens tend to do, there are always a lot of exceptions.

    Chickens tend to like to lay in a safe place. If they see an egg in the nest, they tend to lay there too, maybe because they think if it’s safe enough for someone else, it’s safe enough for me. Often I’ll see hens lines up waiting for one specific nest while there are very similar empty nests available. I’ve seen three hens on one nest with others empty. Normally you’ll find practically all the eggs in one nest with the others practically empty. One trick to get them to lay in the nests is to put a fake egg in there. I use golf balls but others use wooden or ceramic eggs, even strangely colored plastic Easter eggs. Then you get the person that says the chickens would not use the nests until they took the fake eggs out.

    Short answer, an egg in the nest will not stop a hen from paying another egg in there.

    Most pullets have control of the egg laying process when they start, most, not all. These look for a nest of some type to lay the egg in. Hopefully that is your nests. But some seem to have no idea of what is going on. They just drop an egg wherever they happen to be, from the roosts or just walking around. Normally this is just the first few eggs they lay, most get control of the process pretty fast and look for a nest. It’s not that unusual to find a random egg about anywhere when a pullet starts.

    I store my clean eggs on the kitchen counter. The dirty eggs get washed and put in the refrigerator. I won’t put a poopy egg in my fridge either. A washed egg may go bad on the kitchen counter but in the fridge they will last weeks if not months. Go ahead and wash it but make sure you refrigerate it afterwards.
    2 people like this.
  3. ChicksAre4Kids

    ChicksAre4Kids Chirping

    Jun 19, 2015
    That is so true RidgeRunner, I've had two and three waiting to lay in one spot, even 'fighting' over it, with 8 other nests empty all around the coop!
    Goofy girls, I tell you what.... heh
    1 person likes this.
  4. JetCat

    JetCat Songster

    Oct 26, 2015
    Southeast Alabama
    the only thing consistent about chickens are their inconsistencies. i have 8 laying hens, with 6 nest boxes, the majority of the time they lay in the two nest on the far right, today all 8 eggs were in the 3rd from the left.
    1 person likes this.
  5. petalumapaul

    petalumapaul In the Brooder

    My chickens all lay in the same nesting. Box. I go away for a few days and find four eggs in the one nest.
    1 person likes this.
  6. Stephanie R

    Stephanie R Chirping

    I find that my four pullets stand in line for one nest box. Usually I find three eggs in one box and one in the other (probably because the fourth in line couldn't wait that long). They will stand there sometimes with their noggins shoved in the nest box where one pullet is trying to lay like they are trying to hurry her up. Sometimes one of them will crawl into the nest box with the laying pullet (that usually doesn't work so well - ha). I love chickens. So entertaining.
    1 person likes this.
  7. mortie

    mortie Songster

    Feb 16, 2014
    The Frozen Tundra
    You can wash it now, just put it in the fridge after you wash it and I'd use that one first. Sometimes if an egg is too dirty I just cook it and feed it bac kto them or toss it.
    1 person likes this.
  8. Thank you all for your info in this thread. I was going to ask the same question as Chickenhawk. Thanks to everyone!
  9. ChickenHawk12

    ChickenHawk12 Chirping

    May 7, 2015
    Thanks, everyone! I wound up tossing it, but next time I will just wash the eggs. I usually keep them in the fridge anyway, because I have a 4 and 7 year old and leaving a carton of eggs on the counter is just asking for raw scrambled eggs all over the floor :)

    Your info was very helpful! Thank you!

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