Chicken can lay eggs randomly for various reasons that chicken keepers don’t understand. In this article, I will go into details on why do chickens lay their eggs all over and not in their nesting boxes.
For instance, young hens can lay their eggs everywhere when they start laying eggs. Free-range hens can also lay their eggs randomly to hide their eggs from predators and other chickens. Your chickens could be laying eggs everywhere if you don’t have enough nesting boxes in your coop.
1. Young Hen Just Started Laying
You could find eggs everywhere if one of your young hens in the flock has just started laying. Young hens need time to decide where to lay, and thus they can lay randomly, unlike older hens. Young hens also need time to learn how to lay in nest boxes. However, with time, young hens will learn how to lay in nest boxes as they get used to laying.
Nonetheless, some young hens will resist laying in the nest boxes because they prefer laying in different spots of their choice. Young hens also make lots of noise after laying, and thus you can go collect the eggs as soon as you hear your hens making persistent noises.
2. Chickens Are Hiding Their Eggs
Hens tend to protect their eggs from harm. Chickens usually lay eggs in different places to protect their eggs from other hens trying to lay and prospective predators. If your free-range hens are laying eggs randomly, it implies that your hens could be trying to hide their eggs from perceived threats.
3. Nest Boxes are Dirty
Chickens like to keep their eggs clean. They also want to lay their eggs in clean, comfortable, and dry places. Your hens won’t lay eggs in dirty nest boxes. Instead, they will look for clean areas where they can lay.
If you have been noticing your hens are laying randomly, check the nest boxes. Probably the nest boxes are too dirty for your egg-laying hens. Clean the boxes and ensure they are dry throughout. You can also place some sort of bedding in the nest boxes to keep the chickens comfortable as they lay their eggs.
Dirt, mold, and debris can deter your egg-laying hens from laying inside their nest boxes. Your hens will search for cleaner and more attractive places to lay if the nest boxes are dirty. For instance, hens that have been laying in nest boxes will suddenly stop laying in the boxes and start laying elsewhere if the nest boxes are dirty.
You may notice some chicken eggs in your yard since the hens won’t lay in dirty boxes. You could think your hens have suddenly stopped laying while, in the real sense, the chickens could be lying elsewhere due to the dirt in the nest boxes.
4. Not Enough Nesting Boxes
Insufficient nesting space can make hens lay eggs randomly. Even if you have some free-ranging hens in your flock, provide enough nesting boxes where each hen can lay when it gets to laying time. Ideally, have at least one nest box for each 4 to 5 chickens in your flock.
The more egg-laying hens you have in your flock, the more nest boxes you need. If you don’t have enough nest boxes, you will still find chicken eggs all over the place since there will be a couple of hens with nowhere to lay. Thus, add more nesting space by installing additional nest boxes in the coop. Try making your nest boxes using cardboard.
5. Rooster harasses chicken
Roosters can harass chickens due to their natural courting behavior. Roosters can peck on hens as the hens are in the process of laying. This behavior can make hens run away while escaping from roosters in search of a suitable laying spot. The hens will likely lay in odd places as they try to escape from an aggressive rooster.
Having too many roosters in your flock isn’t helpful since the roosters will compete for every egg-laying hen in your flock, causing the hens to lay randomly. Ensure the number of roosters in your flock is proportionate with the number of hens in the flock. For instance, every rooster needs to serve at least three hens to avoid competition that will affect your hens’ egg-laying patterns.
How to Keep Nesting Boxes Clean?
Dirty nest boxes don’t only deter chickens from laying accordingly. They can also harbor parasites such as fleas, mites, and lice. Hence, cleaning your nest box is an appropriate practice that will help encourage your hens to continue laying in their nest boxes while reducing their risk of parasites. Check these easy tips on how you can clean your nest boxes.
– Inspect the nest boxes
It helps to inspect the nest boxes that are available in your chicken coop. You could be thinking your nest boxes are okay until you examine the boxes to find plenty of dirt and debris. It helps to open up the boxes to inspect whether there is dirt, mold, or debris that can stop your hens from entering the nesting boxes in readiness for laying eggs.
Your nest boxes could be filthy if there are few egg-laying hens in your flock. Some of your chickens could start laying their eggs on the floor of your coop, and you will barely notice that your chickens are laying in the first place until you notice the presence of eggs everywhere.
– Remove the nest boxes from the coop
At times, your nest boxes could be filthy, and you might be unable to clean them when they are in the coop. Remove the boxes from the coop to help you clean them thoroughly. It is easy to check the boxes for dirt, debris, and mold once the nest boxes are out of the chicken coop.
– Remove the worn-out nesting material
Old nesting material in nest boxes can harbor dirt that will discourage the hens from laying in their nest boxes. Furthermore, old nesting material can infest your chickens with parasites that will likely spread diseases in your flock. Remove and dispose of such worn-out nesting material.
– Remove the dirt
Remove the dirt from the nesting boxes once you eliminate the worn-out nesting material. Removing the dirt from the nest boxes will make it easy to clean the boxes and ensure there are no remaining dirt particles in the nest boxes.
– Wash the nest boxes
Finally, you have discarded the old nesting material from your chickens’ nest boxes. Consider washing the nest boxes with soapy, warm water to ensure there isn’t even a single molecule of dirt in the nest boxes. You can even spray the boxes with pesticides to ensure no parasites are hiding in the nest boxes once you put the boxes back to the coop.
– Spread a new bedding material
Hens need a comfortable place where they can lay their eggs comfortably and safely. A bedding material will make your nest boxes comfortable for your egg-laying hens. It further ensures that your hens can look forward to laying eggs in the nest boxes since the boxes are suitable for egg-laying.
– Put the nest boxes back into the coop
Put the nest boxes back into the coop after cleaning them thoroughly, and place a comfortable bedding material for your egg-laying hens.
You can either nail the boxes on one of the wooden posts in the coop, or you can set the boxes at some convenient places in the coop where your chickens can get in and out whenever they want to lay.
How to Get Chickens Lay in Nest Boxes?
The ultimate way to stop your chickens from laying eggs everywhere is by making them lay in nest boxes. Making chickens lay in their nest boxes is a tall order, particularly if you have too many young hens in your flock. Here is how you can get your chickens to lay eggs in their nest boxes.
– Collect the chicken eggs regularly
Collecting the eggs regularly from the nest boxes will encourage the other hens to lay their eggs in the box. The absence of another hen will encourage the hen to lay eggs in that box since there will be no perceived threat to the eggs. Hence, collect the chicken eggs regularly to ensure there are no eggs in your nest boxes.
– Have enough nest boxes
Having enough nest boxes ensures all your chickens have a place to lay their eggs, rather than lay their eggs everywhere. Have a sufficient number of nest boxes depending on the number of egg-laying hens in your flock.
– Use fake eggs to train your hens
The presence of fake eggs in your chickens’ nest boxes can help encourage your birds from laying in the boxes. While fake eggs won’t boost your hens to lay more eggs, they encourage your hens to lay in their nest boxes.
Using a fake egg works well for young laying-egg laying hens that aren’t used to laying in nest boxes. It gives such hens a feeling they own the nest box they last laid their eggs.
Your chickens could be laying eggs randomly due to many reasons. Nonetheless, it helps to understand why your chickens are laying eggs everywhere and then look into how you can stop your birds from laying eggs randomly.Chickens