Advice needed on nest boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 2pointers, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. 2pointers

    2pointers New Egg

    May 26, 2012
    Pacific Northwest
    My hens are still probably a few weeks or more out from laying their first egg. I got them the last week of May, so they're approximately 16 weeks old.

    We have one of those raised coops with 3 nest boxes that are about 2 feet off the floor. When we first put the hens in the coop at about 6 weeks of age, they tended to sleep in the nest boxes and were pooping in them. So we cleaned them out and put a piece of plywood in front to keep them out until they're ready to lay.

    They are now roosting on the 2 branches we have, which took them a while to get used to. [​IMG]

    When should I remove the wood that is covering the nest boxes? I don't want them deciding to go in there and start pooping again, but I also want it accessible for when they do start laying.

  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I wouldn't let them in until about 19 weeks.

    I have some of my New Years Hatch birds that still haven't started laying yet.

    My Blue Copper Olive Egger just started laying and I have yet to get an egg from two Ameraucanas, two Easter Eggers and my Marans.
  3. NorCalChicks101

    NorCalChicks101 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 30, 2012
    CA- Bay Area
    I did the same thing with wood blocking the nest boxes. I did this till about week 20 from then on i would go out after dark ( around 8-9pm) and remove them from the nest boxes/ sides of the coop and put them on their perch.

    This worked for me pretty fast, they got the idea in about a week.

    Now by sunset every day they pile on to one end of the perch where I began placing them! [​IMG]

    When you uncover the boxes I suggest putting in a good amount of straw/hay and a false egg so they get the idea of where to lay before they reach the point of laying.

    Also make sure to have a 4-5 inch lip on the front of the box otherwise you will have all your hay on the coop floor after you get your egg.
  4. jahphotogal

    jahphotogal Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2012
    I didn't think of doing this, and some of my hens do seem to sleep in and poop in the nesting boxes. The oldest are almost of laying age (they're not the ones in there, I don't think, it's the two that are a few weeks younger - is it too late to block it off for a week or so to break the habit?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by