Seven hens and Six eggs

by Brenda
(Kerrville, TX)

Question

Seven hens and Six eggs : We have eight chickens which were hatched 5/12/10: four Barred Plymouth Rocks, (three hens, one rooster); and four Americana hens.

They are the same age and mature for laying. We are getting eggs from the three rock hens every day and three eggs from the Americanas every day. Six eggs per day is our highest egg count.

The mystery is this. We have the three laying boxes as well as the floor of the hen house lined/covered with pine shavings.

Every few days there will be an Americana egg right in the middle of the floor instead of in its proper place, one of the egg boxes.

We just look for an egg each day, and it's totally random that one appears. This egg doesn't alter the egg count. It's still six eggs every day.

We don't know if we have an immature layer who's laying sporadically on the floor or just what. Do you have any idea about this at all?

Has anybody experienced this type thing, and how would you determine if you have a chick with a laying issue?

Answer
Sounds like you might want to add a different lining to your nest boxes to help your hens differentiate between the place to lay and the floor.

Something that simple could be confusing if you were a chicken looking for a place to lay an egg. I gather up long pine needles to line my nests. They work great, last a long time and are free.

One thing to remember is that nest boxes are a human design, not chicken. Just like a kitten learning to use a litter box or a puppy newspaper, these are human inventions that we like to train animals to use.

One thing I have found helpful in teaching young hens to always use the nest boxes is to keep 2 or 3 fake eggs in them at all times (this also helps deter egg eating).

You can buy dummy eggs at a poultry supply or get the plastic “bunny” eggs sold in the spring. In the chicken brain, the purpose of laying eggs is to build up a clutch of eggs to be incubated and hatched.

Returning to the nest, only to find someone or something has stolen the last egg or eggs, means that’s not a safe place to lay.

They don’t know that maybe the main reason you have them, is so you can take their eggs to the house and eat them.

Last summer I purchased a small mixed flock from a lady who told me to put boxes all over the yard as her girls laid everywhere.

I just did what I have done for many years, keep fake eggs in the nest boxes, and in three days all eggs were and continue to be laid in the nest boxes. Hope that helps.

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