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SF Pet Chicken Meetup Group Message Board › Free Rangers making Secret Nests

Free Rangers making Secret Nests

A former member
Post #: 11
Does anyone else who has free range chickens find that they occasionally stop laying in their boxes and instead create nests in the foliage? My hens all the sudden did this. It took me 5-days to figure out where their eggs were and when I did finally find it, there was a clutch built up of 15 eggs!! Once I cleared it, they stopped laying there, too and found a new spot.
A friend told me that her grandmother used to put fake eggs in her chickens' boxes and reasons that's why - to remind them where to lay.
Has anyone else had this type of experience?
A former member
Post #: 12
Two of my older hens did this when they first started laying...but once I showed them the next box, they seemed happy to lay there. I have one hen who's just started laying who nests in the corner of the coop instead of the nest box. I think this might be because she's at the bottom of the pecking order (not entitled to the nest box?!) At least it's in the coop though...

Hens are pretty quirky sometimes!

I've heard of the 'fake egg' in the nest box...though this could also possibly encourage broodiness?

If you have kids, I guess they get to have an Easter Egg hunt everyday?!

good luck,
Harold C.
Group Organizer
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 10
One of my chickens, Tammy, when young, flew into the next door yard and nested in a hanging asparagus fern planter. As you might suspect, she is the bottom of the pecking order. I had her wing clipped and now she stays home.
When I first got chickens, 30 years ago, they had the full yard and yards on both sides. They found a nice pile of pine needles next door and by the time I found it there were 30 something eggs. That prompted me to build a proper set of nests (they had some very nice cardboard boxes set up). This mostly solved the wandering problem.
I've used marble eggs, bought at Cost Plus for $1 each (price now, who knows, but probably much higher). They serve to remind them where to lay and also to discourage pecking their eggs. But I need to remove them when they become broody, so half the time they sit on the floor of the coop.
Oakland, CA
Post #: 24
Hey its spring, your free rangers are trying to put together something to set on if they are laying in one spot. If you have a rooster, that works, if not, you'd best keep them confined toward the coop in a yard unless you want to egg hunt other than on Easter!
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