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Nesting box to shallow?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I got my 4 pullets last Friday and I think they are settling nicely.  I understand from Southern States that they will not start to lay for probably two more weeks.  I have them in a temporary coop inside my feed room while I complete my bigger coop.  They have taken to the roost bar well and when I go up in the morning in the dark to feed the horses, they are all tucked in asleep on the roost bar.  I made a temporary nesting box that is 12" X 24" and divided in half to make two nesting areas.  I only made the lip on the box about 2 or maybe 2 1/2 inches high.  I put a some hay and a golf ball in the box to get them started.  Each day they drag all the hay out of the box and leave the golf ball in.  I say they are nesting boxes but they are more of a "tray" if you will.  It doesn't have tall sides or a top.  Do I need to make a new box or will they not drag all the hay out when they are ready to start laying eggs.  Right now, they stay in the coop all the time so if they do start laying, the egg will be somewhere in the enclosed space.  Any suggestions or is this normal for chickens before they start to lay?

Thanks,

Rob

post #2 of 7

I think you might need some taller sided nests. Hens of all ages do like to kick hay out of nests. I use milk crates for nests, and they work really well--the hens feel secure down in the crates, the hay can't be kicked out, and of course they have excellent ventilation, and can be moved anywhere. Hope you have good success with your pullets! :) 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1088873/styrofoam-incubators-club ---Come join us! 

~Below Paradise Poultry~

 

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http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1088873/styrofoam-incubators-club ---Come join us! 

~Below Paradise Poultry~

 

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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

I do have a couple milk crates.  I was reading some of the other threads and see that people were using.  Do you just sit them upright and fill them with hay/straw ect?  I wouldn't think they would jump up on top of one to then step down into one.  But, I can certainly try cause I have a couple sitting around.

Thanks,
Rob

post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbruno View Post
 

I do have a couple milk crates.  I was reading some of the other threads and see that people were using.  Do you just sit them upright and fill them with hay/straw ect?  I wouldn't think they would jump up on top of one to then step down into one.  But, I can certainly try cause I have a couple sitting around.

Thanks,
Rob

I do set them upright and fill them with hay. My hens jump right into them--they did not need any training. When a hen is ready to lay, she is going to be looking for a secluded place to lay, and especially since your pullets are enclosed in their coop area, they will definitely be checking those crates out. Give it a try! :) 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1088873/styrofoam-incubators-club ---Come join us! 

~Below Paradise Poultry~

 

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http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1088873/styrofoam-incubators-club ---Come join us! 

~Below Paradise Poultry~

 

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post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbruno View Post
 

 I made a temporary nesting box that is 12" X 24" and divided in half to make two nesting areas.  I only made the lip on the box about 2 or maybe 2 1/2 inches high.   Do I need to make a new box or will they not drag all the hay out when they are ready to start laying eggs. 

Nest boxes

In my nest boxes I fold a feed bag to fit (nest boxes are 1 ft³ milk crate with a 2½ board across the front held with zip ties). When a bag gets soiled; fold a new one; pop out the soiled; pop in the new. Feed bags are a nylon mesh bag.

Frozen poop just peels off in below freezing temperatures and just flakes off in summer when left out in the sun to bake and dry.

 

I have 65 trips around the sun it is the best method I have stumbled upon.

 

Make sure the twine is removed from the open end of the bag it can get tangled around your birds.

 


Edited by Hokum Coco - 10/27/15 at 6:41pm

Hope this helps,

Check out this link leads to a Video interview on me and my grand daughter done by a local TV Station on our WHITE HOMING PIGEON loft:

http://globalnews.ca/news/1478351/carrier-pigeons-continue-to-connect-family/

If you are not living for something;

You are dying for nothing.

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Hope this helps,

Check out this link leads to a Video interview on me and my grand daughter done by a local TV Station on our WHITE HOMING PIGEON loft:

http://globalnews.ca/news/1478351/carrier-pigeons-continue-to-connect-family/

If you are not living for something;

You are dying for nothing.

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post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice.  I did round up a couple milk crates yesterday.  I have horse feed bags that might work or at least help to stuff in the crate and then be easy to pull out.  I will give this a try.

Thanks,

Rob

post #7 of 7
You have been getting good advice so far. While there are a few things about nests that are good to know, people tend to worry about this kind of stuff a lot more than the chickens. Chickens are really adaptable and there are a lot of different ways to do this. Your pullet’s behaviors are normal, by the way.

Adult hens will often scratch around in a nest to get the bedding just right. If the lip is too low, they can and will scratch out bedding, fake eggs, or real eggs another hen has laid. You need enough of a lip to keep that from happening. I like enough depth of bedding so the bottom of the nest stays padded too but part of that depends on what you use for bedding. We use things from feed bags, hay, straw, wood shavings, Spanish moss, shredded paper, carpet, rags, you name it. They all can work but we all have our individual preferences. I cut long grass from places I don’t mow or weed eat and dry that, so I guess that’s technically hay. Doesn’t mean its best, it’s just what I use. It’s free and I’m cheap.

I’ve seen chickens perch on some really thin edges. Will a hen hop on the edge of a milk carton to get in? It’s quite possible. Will she turn it over? Are you talking about a tiny Serama hen or a huge Jersey Giant? How firm is it where it is? Is it rickety? Some people just set a cardboard box or milk crate in the corner of the coop on the floor for full-sized hens and it works. Whether or not you need some kind of frame for the milk carton depends on your chickens and how it is set up.

Chickens don’t care that much whether the nest has a top on it or not. You can find plenty of photos on this forum where people have nests without tops. You don’t want them pooping in the nest, so don’t position it where poop from the roosts will hit it. Make your roosts higher than anything you don’t want them sleeping in or on, like the edges of your milk crates

Hens tend to lay in protected places. Their instinct is to hide a nest from predators. They tend to like darker spots. Some people have their coops so bright with lots of windows that it’s hard to find a dark spot. Covered nests tend to work better there.

Just because you provide good nests doesn’t mean they will use them. They might find a dark spot or even shadows on the floor might be enough to make them think it’s a hidden spot and will make a good nest. One of the tricks we use is to put fake eggs in the nest. They tend to like to lay where others are already laying. If there is an egg there, they tend to lay there. I use golf balls but others use wooden or ceramic eggs, plastic Easter eggs (you might fill them with sand or something heavy and glue them shut), even ping pong balls for bantams.

You’ll notice I’ve used some weasel words like “tend”. They are living animals and don’t always do what they are supposed to do. For everything I’ve mentioned, someone can come up with an exception. They can be pretty aggravating at times. But it’s a fun trip. Welcome to the adventure.

 I grow a little impatient when people seem to think that they are unique in the world. Of course they are. Just like everyone else.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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 I grow a little impatient when people seem to think that they are unique in the world. Of course they are. Just like everyone else.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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