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  1. earlybird10842
    How to get a chicken to lay in the nestbox.



    The most common issue that I have had with my chickens is that somehow, some of them can't get it through those bitty chicken minds that nestboxes are for eggs. Lay an egg on the hard-packed, rocky dirt beneath a prickly-branched bush? Sure! Lay an egg on the grossly poopy area underneath the roost? Great! Lay an egg in the nestbox? Why, what an odd idea! [​IMG]
    I have had chickens for about three years now, and every year, some chicken or another gets the idea that the roost poop board or the great outdoors is better to lay in then the nestbox. Here's what I've found works to point the girls back toward the nestboxes.

    Our EE Margaret, who is quite notorious for laying in places she shouldn't, and our buff orp Marianne, who spent her pullethood laying eggs under a bush.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Step one--Eggs in the nestboxes, not elsewhere.

    Make sure that there are eggs in the nestboxes all day. Remove eggs from the creative nesting spots your chooks have chosen, and place them into the nestboxes as soon as you can--the longer eggs are in the creative spot, the more likely another hen will get ideas. If necessary, keep fake eggs in the boxes. Sometimes just seeing eggs in the boxes is enough to convince the chickies that the nestboxes could be a good place to lay.


    [​IMG]



    Step two--Make the creative laying area difficult to lay in.


    If this is an area in the coop, remove the bedding from the area if possible, or thin it out. If it isn't in the coop, or the area needs bedding, put something big on top of the nest--rocks, plastic bottles, whatever can keep a hen from that area. I have an old shovel head I like to place on the nesting spot upside down, making it very difficult for a hen to sit on the nest, let alone lay an egg.
    You can see the shovel to the left side on top of the nestboxes in this pic. That is the chicken's roost in front of that board. We were getting some truly disgusting eggs.

    [​IMG]

    Step three--block access to creative nesting area

    If the chicken just ignores the lack of bedding or item you put on her nest, or if she just makes a new nest next to the old ones you put stuff on top of, you can block off the area. I had a problem for years with chickens laying eggs underneath the nestboxes, and I finally was able to solve it by simply placing a piece of scrap plywood up in front of it, blocking all access to it. I left this up for a while. Two months later it fell down on its own, but the chickens didn't even look under the nestboxes anymore.


    If the nesting area is outdoors and your chicken just won't get the picture

    Even after blocking off the area, your chicken may still find a new creative area to lay, especially if she is laying outdoors and is stubborn. I have found the solution to this is to stop outdoor access for a few days. If your chicken is laying in an area outside the run, confine her to the run for a while, if she is laying in the run, confine her to the coop. It took about a week indoors for my Marianne (my Buff orp, who laid under a bush for weeks) to understand that controversial concept--nestboxes are for eggs!

    Drastic measures

    I have moved a chicken from a creative nesting location to the nestbox while she is getting ready to lay a few times. If she jumps out and tries to go back, I put her back in. If she struggles, I don't fight it, just put her near the nestboxes and stand in her way of the creative nesting location. I wouldn't do this a lot, and it might stress out or harm the chicken if she is right in the middle of laying an egg. But if she is just starting to sit down on her creative spot, I have found that this will help them figure things out is they won't respond to step one or two.


    Hopefully, your chickens find your nesting boxes more desirable than my chooks fine mine to be, and you don't have to deal with this problem often.
    Elanor, my partridge rock, who has laid every egg of hers in the nestboxes. [​IMG]

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  1. flewdcoop
    I had a problem my 2 OEGBs one of them would lay anywhere in the coop and run, so I bought white golf balls and put 2 in each nest. It worked like a charm the one hen lays in her favorite nest box the other went broody and now trying to hatch out 5 fertile eggs and two golf balls. I hope they are not all cockerels LOL!
  2. toniglitz
    I have 10 POL hens, 6 are fine & laying in the nest boxes, but one hen , goes into the hen house & stays on a perch to lay her egg, This results in the egg being damaged, I have tried to find which hen it is but I miss her doing it. this has happened twice now. Any advice please on how to stop this. From toni
  3. 273816
    Thanks for all the help! I'm getting ready for my beautiful red sex link Beatrice to start laying any day now and will use these tips.
    From, Rachel.
  4. Chicks Galore3
    Very well done! I only have 1 chicken who continually lays where she isn't suposed to. :)

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