Whilst this isn’t a disorder, more lack of training, chickens laying eggs on the floor can soon lead to problems as they become soiled and pick up a lot of bacteria. An egg eating vice is also easily started in the flock when eggs are laid on the floor, so laying on the floor needs to be avoided.
To encourage chickens to lay in nest boxes:
- Ensure the nest boxes are designed correctly. Consider the size but also the height of the box.
- Raising a nest box slightly can make a distinction between that and the floor.
- Nest boxes should ideally be darkened and a quiet, private place for the birds to lay. Hanging an old piece of sacking or feed bag over the entrance to a nest box so that it covers approximately two thirds of the entrance, even turning a chicken house around so that the nest boxes are North facing, out of the direct sun light can help stop bright sunlight from streaming in through the cracks. Hens like a quiet dark place to nest and lay.
- Provide soft bedding material such as straw and ensure there are no parasites such as red mites that will stop a hen from using a nest box as she is bitten when using it.
- Placing dummy eggs in the nest boxes can encourage hens to lay in them (golf balls will usually work too if you don’t have dummy eggs handy) as they show hens that this is a ‘good place to lay’.