At What Age Do You Open The Nesting Boxes To Chicks

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chris328, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. chris328

    chris328 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 30, 2011
    I have 1 buff op 4 barred rock 6 golden comets they are 12 to 13 weeks old i have the nesting boxes blocked off so the can not get to them at what age do i allow them to go to the nesting boxes also what is best to put in the boxes hay or straw?
    thank you for any input
  2. M.sue

    M.sue Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2011
    I didn't know you had to block the boxes off? My girls have been in the coop for a couple weeks now and are approximately the same age as yours. At night they mostly roost on the perch although some do crash in the the boxes. Sometimes they find a nice cushy spot on the floor in the pine shavings. Is there a reason behind not letting them have access to the boxes? I've never read one or have heard of one. Please fill me in, I'm curious and new at raising chicks although I've been exposed to them my entire childhood.[​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011
  3. NottinghamChicks

    NottinghamChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    When my broody started to leave her chicks at 7 weeks old and go back to the roost the babies jumped in a box for security. They did this for five nights and then I layed wood over the tops of them every evening before dusk so they would get the point to go up on thier roost. it took them four or so nights to learn they should roost and now they go right up top like the big girls [​IMG] no more board over the nest boxes, no more poop to stick to my once clean eggs, yeahhhh, big chickens and clean eggs, once again!
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011
  4. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    If your chickens are using the roost you can probably open up the nests now. It's just so they won't be in the habit of sleeping (and thus pooping) in the nest boxes, so when they start laying, you will have clean nest boxes. You can put hay, straw, or most anything used for litter in the nest boxes, whatever is available.
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Agree about them using the roosts first. I don't want the nesting boxes used for sleeping or making a mess.

    I allow them to get used to the nesting boxes at about 15 weeks. That typically gives them a week or two or three to see what they are all about. They practice a little. The desire to lay in a secure, dark place is instinct. As flock keepers. 90% of what we do is working with their natural instincts.
  6. wingsofglory

    wingsofglory Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2011
    Palmer Alaska
    I've noticed with mine about three weeks before the hens start to lay, the rooster leads them around and shows them places to lay their eggs. I did not have the nest boxes built yet, so the looked all around the deck, under things, behind planters etc. They had a big discussion over each spot. While the hens watch (two or three hens at a time) the rooster gets in the spot he's found, sits in it and swooshes his hinny around like he's laying an egg and demonstrating how the location will work!! The hens say something whiny like they don't like the spot and move on to another spot and discuss it, the hens looking skeptical. I would also see nearer the time they started to lay, single hens going around like they were searching for something. I got busy and built nest boxes. They all came and discussed the location, got in it and tried it out, and decided it would do nicely.

    It is good not to make the nest boxes available until they are in the habit of going on the roosts to roost. Nothing worse than reaching into the nest box to get an egg and sticking ones fingers into a big gob of nightly poop.

    My Comets started laying at 18 to 20 weeks - so at 15 weeks have the nest boxes ready.
    Safety Chicken and yopollo like this.
  7. I don't open or give them access to the nest boxes until about 15 weeks. Any time CHICKS have access to nesting boxes they will try to bed and ultimately poop in them. Wether it be hay, straw or shaving chicks will poop in them to keep em away from access until they are old enough to know better. I have usually seen most of my breeds start to lay at 18 to 20 weeks. So this gives them time to look at the golf balls I set in them.
  8. velittlechik

    velittlechik Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2009
    Idabel, OK
    I agree with you all, wait till they are roosting at night. I put mine in the coop with the nesting boxes open when they were 7 weeks and they did sleep in them till they all got the hang of going up to roost, took about a week. But we expected it and I put some old vinyl tiles in the bottom so I could clean it out easy. We made little roosts for the ones that were afraid to go up and one was the biggest chicken. Quite funny to see her sitting on the lower roost, she really was twice the size of some them.
  9. M.sue

    M.sue Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2011
    Ok...mine are 101/2 weeks. They've been in the coop since 7-8 wks. A couple did test out the boxes because I did see them. That was for only the first week. Every night so far when I go to lock them down, they are all lined up on the highest roost. In the morning when I go out some are on the high roost and the others are on the lower roost patiently looking out the windows for my appearance. Should I block off the boxes till they are older just to be on the safe side? [​IMG]
  10. MakNugget

    MakNugget Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2010
    Portland, OR
    Mine never payed attention to them until they were about 2 weeks before laying age.

    I blocked it for two nights to break a broody though.

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