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How do I get my chickens to use their nest boxes?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I am a new chicken keeper and any advice would be so helpful. My girls are getting close to laying age and I was wondering how I encourage them to lay in the nest boxes. They run around my yard all day long and have nothing to do with their coop until it is time to return and roost. I have got golf balls to mimic eggs and making nest box curtains, but hope they will not lay randomly on the property and make better use of their coop. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

post #2 of 22

make sure they dont sleep in their nest boxes and hens like to lay eggs in boxes were there are already eggs so the golf balls are a good choicewink.png

owner of 2 labs, 1 chihuahua, a hamster,a fish, a bearded dragon, and of course 7 chickens and counting!!

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owner of 2 labs, 1 chihuahua, a hamster,a fish, a bearded dragon, and of course 7 chickens and counting!!

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post #3 of 22

You are probably doing everything right.  Make sure that they see the golf balls that you have there---so their brains connect that location with a good place to put eggs. 

 

When they are ready they will probably use the nesting boxes.  It may just take a little time.  Sometimes the first egg (s) take the pullet by surprise...but they will figure it out when the time is right.  :O)

"Was dich nicht umwirft, macht dich starker"   "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger."-Friedrich Nietzsche 

In every generation there has to be some fool who will speak the truth as he sees it. - Pasternak

 

BYC page:  http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/chickats-page

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Cream Legbar Club  www.creamlegbarclub.com

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"Was dich nicht umwirft, macht dich starker"   "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger."-Friedrich Nietzsche 

In every generation there has to be some fool who will speak the truth as he sees it. - Pasternak

 

BYC page:  http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/chickats-page

BYC blog of sorts http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/jottings

Cream Legbar Club  www.creamlegbarclub.com

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post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thank you guys so much. I love this site.

post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsjohnson0807 View Post

Thank you guys so much. I love this site.

anytimebig_smile.png they make you feel so welcomed i love this site too!

owner of 2 labs, 1 chihuahua, a hamster,a fish, a bearded dragon, and of course 7 chickens and counting!!

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owner of 2 labs, 1 chihuahua, a hamster,a fish, a bearded dragon, and of course 7 chickens and counting!!

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post #6 of 22

   I used golf balls in my laying boxes.The first of my hens started laying a month ago.She laid her first egg in front of the coop and then used the box for about a week.When the other 8 started laying they made a nest with the straw in front off the laying box.So that's where they all lay now.lol

post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

Well, at least it is a consistent spot. Silly birds.

post #8 of 22

I have 2 hens that are currently laying.  They were both laying in their box, but one day, about 2 weeks ago, my GLW decided to lay somewhere on the property.  I wouldn't really have a problem with this, excepted 1 egg a day to every other day is not sufficient for my family who apparently devours eggs (mostly my 6 year old boy).  And there's a HUGE black snake around here that I haven't had a good chance to kill (better yet, my husband hasn't had a chance to kill). I don't want that snake around any more than it has to be. I'm sure an empty nest full of eggs would be a great find for him.  They free range and my RIR does lay in the box, so there's an egg in it about once a day.  Should I get a fake egg/golf ball to put in there?  Do I leave it in there all the time?  I can't wait till the rest of my girls start laying, they're about 3 months old.  

post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 

That is what everyone keeps telling me to do. Golf balls or fake wooden eggs. Since one is already laying in their, maybe the rest will follow suit.

post #10 of 22

Well I finally found my GLW hidden laying spot.  I've looked everywhere.  The other day I was outside with them, when I realized I hadn't seen her in awhile.  So I threw some mealworms out and still no girl, so I went on the hunt and finally found her.  About 8 feet up under my shed.  Well she finally came out and that evening when they all went to bed, I got a rake and was digging around back there. I could barely reach back there with my 6 ft rake and super long arms, but after about 15 mins of digging out grass, dirt, & sticks, i found them. 

 

DSC_1217.JPG

 

DSC_1218.JPG

 

We were busy yesterday, so tonight, I got under there and scooped out all the eggs, until I was pretty certain there were no more.  

 

DSC_1449.JPG

 

11 eggs we missed out on eating barnie.gif.  I only poked my rake through one of them.  Luckily it didn't stink. Oh well, will get the mesh up tomorrow so the girls can't go under there anymore.  

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