Any tricks to nesting boxes?


6 Years
Dec 3, 2014
I built a new coupe to accommodate the four new hens and our existing two older hens.
With the older ones, we had a very small coupe with two nesting boxes, and they would on lay in one, and it was a dark coupe without windows and only a vent hole, and coupe entry providing light.
I made the new coupe nesting boxes the same size but made three.
After I took away the old coupe, the old hens laid a couple eggs in one of the new nesting boxes, but have since stopped laying, or are laying outside in a nice tucked away area in our bamboo, along with the two of the new hens eggs.
How on earth do I get them to use the nesting boxes?
The new coupe has windows, and I painted the interior gloss white.
Do they really need darkness, or is this just a coincidence?
Any suggestions for us?
Try putting a curtain across the front of the nest boxes for privacy. Once they start hidden nests they are buggers to get laying back in the coop. It may be necessary to lock them in the coop for a bit.
The golf balls have been in there since day one hoping the young ones would get a clue.
They also scratch ALL of the bedding out the boxes. I'm going to build up the board that retains that a little higher to see if that helps too.
Are the nests boxes basically even with the floor?

You don't say what the "style" of your coop is but I've always had a walk in coop and I have always put my nest boxes about 30 inches above the floor and have never had the scratch the nesting material out of the box problem.

I think the board will help.

Good luck.
Mine prefer the nest boxes that are on the floor. Once they had that option, they quit using the upper ones.
I have an elevated house, about 2' off the ground with nesting boxes about 6" higher than that floor. I put a cardboard box in there on the floor, just testing them. It got ignored.
This has been a blended flock for about two months, now. Now that two of the new ones are laying, it is getting difficult to crawl into the bamboo to get the eggs out.
Lock them all in the coop/run for a week or so.
The older birds are not acclimated to the new coop yet and the young ones are just learning.

Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for 3-4 days can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop 24/7 for a few days to a week, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.

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