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How to encourage egg laying in nesting box

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I have two one year old Americauna hens.  They free range my yard (and the neighbor's) all day and roost in a 6 foot square wire cage at night.  The egg laying was in the nesting box in the cage but now seems to move around and the places are becoming quite difficult to find.  High Rise will lay in the box 2 or 3 times a week.  But I recently found a nest of 24 eggs under the wheelbarrow.  I removed 23 and marked the last egg but they have now found another laying spot.  I wish I had marked a few more and left them there.  These are pets that follow me around and come when I call them.  Any ideas about how to get them to start using the nesting box would be greatly appreciated.  Our houses are up on blocks and not easy to crawl under.  Last year I locked them in the cage for a few days until they got in the habit of using the nesting box.  But I have a friend who thinks this is cruel as Buttermilk and High Rise are so friendly and want out, pacing the wall facing the house until I release them.

post #2 of 9

im not sure but i feel your pain, i have 5 free ranged birds so far i've found 3 clutches of around 7 eggs

post #3 of 9

Lock them in & put golf balls in the nesting boxes - only way to go.

We've been leaving our girls in their run for the past couple of weeks b/c they have decimated our small back yard.  We're trying to get the yard time to recover: gras to grow a bit, bulbs to harden off a little, and tender shoots to get bigger.  It's soooooo hard to deny them when they're pacing and runnign their beaks along the wire like little prisoners with tin cups.

post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by JennsPeeps 

Lock them in & put golf balls in the nesting boxes - only way to go.

.


What Jenn said!

Former keeper of hens, life isn't much fun without chickens... but

 

"With God, ALL things are possible."

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Former keeper of hens, life isn't much fun without chickens... but

 

"With God, ALL things are possible."

Reply
post #5 of 9

Ditto. That worked for mine!

--Glenda--
Husband, Daughter, Son, Dog, Cat, Blue Ameraucanas, Black Ameraucanas 
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--Glenda--
Husband, Daughter, Son, Dog, Cat, Blue Ameraucanas, Black Ameraucanas 
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post #6 of 9

If you feel the lock-in is cruel, then it is time to make a more elaborate coop. Wire-only is usually not secure enough feeling for chickens to look at as a home base, I am kind of surprised that they will go to roost in a simple wire cage and going back there to lay seems like it wouldn't be much worth the effort if the cage is just sitting out in the yard.

Think 'shed' size (at least) and give them a home with a nest box and roost inside the home. My chickens have an abandoned old garage type building with the side to side barn doors. It is big enough for a large car or pick up and so they have plenty of room, they have a roost, all their layer crumbles and water, plus grass hay to munch and their choice of 6 places to lay, of which they have used 4. Most important; they have a roof over their heads and four walls to protect them from cold and weather. Also their nest boxes are raised off the ground to give them an idea that the eggs are up away from ground predators. It's kind of 'bird-thinking' mentality, although I know many bird species do lay on the ground, if they feel safest in the coop, they should be happy to lay there.

Bantam Buff Cochin, RIR, Barred Rock, White Leghorn, 2 Birchen Marans, 2 RIR X Silver Sebrights, 2 Barn Cats, 2 Doberman Pinschers, 1 Min Pin.
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Bantam Buff Cochin, RIR, Barred Rock, White Leghorn, 2 Birchen Marans, 2 RIR X Silver Sebrights, 2 Barn Cats, 2 Doberman Pinschers, 1 Min Pin.
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post #7 of 9

The golf balls worked for me in about a week they were all laying in the nest's.

                                           AL

Standard White Cornish, Dark's & White laced Red Cornish Breeder..........If you don't have Cornish you don't have Chickens. Breeding the best, to the best.
As good as a few and better than most, What You'll Tolerate in your flock is what you'll get.
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Standard White Cornish, Dark's & White laced Red Cornish Breeder..........If you don't have Cornish you don't have Chickens. Breeding the best, to the best.
As good as a few and better than most, What You'll Tolerate in your flock is what you'll get.
Reply
post #8 of 9

My hen started laying in the next box...by the time I discovered that she began laying the nest box had 3 eggs .  I took all three eggs and thanked her profusely.  She laid one more egg in the box which I promptly removed.  Then it seemed she had stopped laying until I noticed she had a new nest outside of the coop in the yard.  I took the eggs from that nest.  Then, once again, it seemed she had stopped laying until I found yet another nest, this time with five eggs in it. I removed all five and put a golf ball in the nest box, and penned her up for a few days.  She made yet another nest, inside the pen but outside of the coop and not in the nest box.  I removed the egg from that spot and transfered this egg to the nest box.  By the way, some one had removed the golf ball from the nest box and it wasnt me so it must have been one of the chickens.  I really think that she was mad at me taking her eggs so now I mark each new egg with either a number (1-3) or letter (A-C) and remove the oldest egg but allowing her to have a minimum of three eggs in the nest.  That has worked.  She continues to use the nest box and I have not had to search the yard for another new nest.  She is free to roam and lay where ever she pleases but with the eggs in the nest box, she uses it on a daily basis.  She in not broody and does not sit on the eggs but she still seems to keep a watchful eye on them.

-Robin-
Let your life speak for you...it is said, "How you live your life speaks so loudly that others can't hear what you are saying anyway."
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-Robin-
Let your life speak for you...it is said, "How you live your life speaks so loudly that others can't hear what you are saying anyway."
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post #9 of 9

WEIRD UPDATE on this thread...

A co-worker of mine said to me yesterday, "I think I know someone who knows you.  My friend talked on her blog about someone named 'JennsPeeps' who helped her encourage her hens to lay in their nesting boxes instead of under the porch."  She forwardedthe blog URL and, sure enough, there was the quote from this thread.

How unlikely is it that:
* someone in Seattle would look for help on BYC about her chickens
* post it to her blog & mention someone named "JennsPeeps"
* my co-worker read her friend's blog
* my co-worker would assume it's me, and be RIGHT?!?!

What a small world.

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