There is nothing more frustrating than witnessing hens undauntedly ignoring the nests so carefully placed to lay in the dirtiest or most inconvenient places. But where does this deleterious habit come from?
Poultry are very habit-forming animals that tend to perform actions repetitively. If they start laying eggs in unsuitable places, they may continue to lay them in places where the eggs can get damaged, dirty, or end up being eaten by the same hens once they taste them.
The clucks may have a nest hidden somewhere. They also often cackle once the eggs are produced, which can make it easier to spot. Once found, you can remove the eggs and cover it with stones or tree branches so it is no longer viable.
How to get hens used to laying eggs in the nest
The first requirement for inviting hens to produce eggs in their own nest is to make sure they have one available. Not infrequently, in fact, novice breeders underestimate the number of nests needed to carry on the flock as productively as possible.
However, the nests need not be too many either. If a vacant nest remains, a hen might decide to settle in it, filling it with droppings in no time.
The ideal is to buy one nest for every four poultry, keeping in mind that each single nest may be enough to accommodate two or three hens to lay. You can follow a ratio of 1 nest to 4 hens, 1 to 6 or 1 to 8.
Of course, such nests must be kept clean to ensure the hygiene of the eggs collected.
Floor nests with legs and front access for example can be easily placed and moved on the ground according to one’s needs, without the need for special installations.
Collective nests are another solution to consider, as they accommodate the natural behavior of hens to lay and “sing” to communicate to others that they have found a pleasant space to do so.