Help! I moved recently and built an all-new coop.This is what it looks like from the outside. The waterer was freezing so I just replaced it with my "winterized" waterer (a 5-gal bucket, painted black, with horizontal nipples). I didn't add the external nest boxes until my first hen started laying, to avoid roosting in the boxes.
Well, my first few eggs were in odd locations...
(The bright spot in the photo is the opening to the external nest box, which my husband had opened to get to the egg)
Again, the small rectangle in the background is the opening to the nest box - you are seeing the inside back wall of the external nest box through the cutout opening from the main coop to the nest box.
Now, they are just laying in the corners of the coop (not the run, at least). I have two that are laying at the moment (they are just young hens, just getting started) and each is laying in a separate corner. I don't think they have even figured out that the nest box is there! It's a communal nest box, like I had in my old coop, and I have decoy eggs in there.
The boxes are filled with the same pine shavings as the inside of the coop.
How do I entice them to lay in the boxes, instead of on the floor of the coop? I really wonder if they have even noticed that the nest boxes are there, honestly. The nest boxes are below the level of the roosts, they are out of the way, they are quiet, they are dark, and they are clean. The door is small, but it's big enough for a hen to get through.
Should I put a red curtain over the opening? Should I take the decoy eggs out? Should I replace the pine shavings with straw? Cut a larger door? Put a light in the nest box? It's not terrible where they are laying, but it means I have to stoop down in the run to get them, and the eggs get a bit dirty.