Why wont my chickens lay their eggs in their nest box?

Filed under: Poultry |

Question by Daniel: Why wont my chickens lay their eggs in their nest box?
I have 4 chickens and 2 nest boxes. Up until recently they have been using it. Now I can see them fly out of the fence into my backyard and go behind a plank of wood that is leaning up against my house to lay their eggs. Why are they doing this?

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3 Responses to Why wont my chickens lay their eggs in their nest box?

  1. Check your nestboxes and your chickens for redmite infestation. Redmites emerge when it is dark and the chickens are settled, either at night or in a dark nestbox, and bite and suck the chickens blood, irritating them immensely and in severe cases causing anaemia or even death. Naturally the birds don’t want to go where they are in contact with the redmite. Run a white tissue under the perches, along any nooks and crannies, and see if it comes away red from the mites blood. Look for tiny white or grey powder-like piles of mites (they only go red when gorged with chickens blood.) It is difficult to eradicate them from the coop and the birds but you must keep doing this. Take the coop apart as far as you can and treat it with creosote if its a wooden one, or use one of the proprietary anti-redmite powders or washes you can buy. Sprinkle redmite powder in all the joins in the wood and any nooks and crannies. Welcome to the wonderful world of redmite!
    The other possibility is that your chickens are going broody and finding a good place for secret nests, but it’s not likely all of them would be doing this at once and in the same place.

    June 14, 2014 at 5:15 pm

  2. I wouldn’t think it is red mites, but more of finding a better place to lay. They love to lay in very dark places, and may like the darkness of the spot they picked. Try buying fake eggs or getting egg shaped rocks and place them in the nesting boxes to encourage them to lay in the box. If that doesn’t work, try blocking off the area they are laying at. Then they will have no other choice but to lay in the boxes.

    June 14, 2014 at 5:25 pm

  3. Think of it this way, would u rather sit in a little box in the open and lay your egg, or beneath a board in privacy? (plus chickens love dirt)

    June 14, 2014 at 5:51 pm

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