20 week old Hens won't leave anything in Nesting Box!?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by My4kidsrock, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. My4kidsrock

    My4kidsrock New Egg

    Sep 26, 2011
    My 6 hens are 20 weeks old and won't leave straw or wood shavings in their nesting boxes! I keep adding clean bedding and even have left upside down pails in them over night to get them to stop emptying them every time. Is this "nesting" before they start laying and will it stop?
    Thanks for the help!
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    [​IMG] Welcome to the forum! [​IMG] Glad you are here! [​IMG]

    How high a lip do you have on the nesting boxes? I had to go to a 5" to 6" of lip across the bottom to stop them from scratching out the nesting material and fake eggs. They like to rearrange the nesting material before they lay and a lot got scratched out with a 3" lip.

    That is not necessarily pre-laying behavior. They may just be playing in the nests. But they are getting close to the right age, so they may be getting close. You can't be sure either way.
  3. My4kidsrock

    My4kidsrock New Egg

    Sep 26, 2011
    The lip is 3 inches, so it's pretty easy for it to be pushed out. We lowered the nesting boxes ceilings over the weekend to help keep them from standing and scratching it all out. I haven't been able to tell if it really is helping though. Just really hoping they will use it for the right purpose when the time comes!
    Thanks for the advise!
  4. WriterChick

    WriterChick Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 30, 2011
    Mine did that at first too. I used milk crates turned on their sides and filled them with a layer of pine shavings and then straw. They removed all of the straw and spread it around the coop and then scratched out all of the shavings - one of the hens then laid her first egg in the pile of shavings.

    Next, I switched to the stackable storage boxes (unstacked) which have a nice tall lip on them. I used the same formula for bedding. They picked out every bit of straw and a few more pullets laid eggs in the box on the tiny bit of pine shavings left (the boxes were filled mostly with straw).

    Finally, I scrapped the straw and just fill the boxes with lots and lots of pine shavings. All is well now. They make a nest in the shavings IN the boxes and lay there. I think for my chickens it was a combo of the boxes they didn't like filled with nesting material they liked even less. Everything if fine now that I've found the right container and bedding.

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