Built nesting boxes - they lay on floor!

Rooster Runner

In the Brooder
May 15, 2020
63
41
40
Fake eggs are definitely something I would recommend. It lets the new layers know where to lay, and it gives them the feel for sitting on eggs, and they won't be able to break any! I built a nesting box about 6 inches away from where they sleep, they love laying in there, and my rooster encourages them to. It's high off the ground, about 4 feet, and he deemed it safe. Do you have a roo? If not, get one if they're allowed, they help your hens, and tell them good spots to lay and even make them nests.
 

Ahuntley72

In the Brooder
Jan 6, 2020
11
11
23
Thanks everyone! I have placed a golf ball in one, but they haven't seemed to notice. Here are some pictures. There are two roosts on one side where they sleep at 18 inches and 24 inches. The nesting boxes have a little roost and they hung at 12 inches above the ground. (In the picture they have a covering so they wouldn't sleep in there when I first put them up but those have been removed).
Nesting boxes.jpg
 

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MarkJr

Change in America begins at the dinner table
Premium Feather Member
Jun 15, 2020
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Elkton, OR
Try 2-3 golf balls in a nest. Then be patient with them.
 

rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
12,543
23,270
792
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
If push comes to shove:

Now this isn't practical if you don't have time to stalk them, but what I did was I learned the problem bird(s) laying schedules, and when they went to their preferred spot to lay, I'd go and pick them up, stick them in a nest box, and barricade them in using my arms to cover the exit. 30-60 seconds was all they needed to calm down and start exploring the box and decide that maybe it wasn't such a bad place to be. They each started reliably using the boxes after that.

Alternatively, some folks design "doors" on their nest boxes so birds can be locked in, which basically does the same as above, but forces the bird to stay in the nest box (whereas once I see them exploring and sitting down in the nest, I leave them to it and walk away).
 

Ahuntley72

In the Brooder
Jan 6, 2020
11
11
23
Fake eggs are definitely something I would recommend. It lets the new layers know where to lay, and it gives them the feel for sitting on eggs, and they won't be able to break any! I built a nesting box about 6 inches away from where they sleep, they love laying in there, and my rooster encourages them to. It's high off the ground, about 4 feet, and he deemed it safe. Do you have a roo? If not, get one if they're allowed, they help your hens, and tell them good spots to lay and even make them nests.
I actually have two roos but am actually returning them on Sunday because they are starting to fight and I do not want to deal with bloody fights!! It's a shame but I keep hearing nightmare stories about them. Mine are fine with me right now, but I'm still a newbie and worried about the risk.
 

Ahuntley72

In the Brooder
Jan 6, 2020
11
11
23
If push comes to shove:

Now this isn't practical if you don't have time to stalk them, but what I did was I learned the problem bird(s) laying schedules, and when they went to their preferred spot to lay, I'd go and pick them up, stick them in a nest box, and barricade them in using my arms to cover the exit. 30-60 seconds was all they needed to calm down and start exploring the box and decide that maybe it wasn't such a bad place to be. They each started reliably using the boxes after that.

Alternatively, some folks design "doors" on their nest boxes so birds can be locked in, which basically does the same as above, but forces the bird to stay in the nest box (whereas once I see them exploring and sitting down in the nest, I leave them to it and walk away).
Thanks! Maybe I will try that when I work from home. I checked on them today and there was one in the corners, cracked =( and another on my droppings boards under the roost smashed!
 

Rooster Runner

In the Brooder
May 15, 2020
63
41
40
Two roos IS asking for trouble, how many hens do you have? If you have less than 15 hens, you should definitely get rid of one, but keep the other, but if you want to start new, get a black Amerucana. Make sure you have a rooster, I didn't have one when I started out, and I lost multiple hens to predators, but since the day I got my boy, I haven't lost a single one. Although there have been multiple encounters. ALWAYS start your roos as a chick, spend extra time with him, and teach him who's boss at a very early age, he'll remember who you are, and never give you trouble.
 

Sally PB

Songster
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
961
2,042
173
Belding, MI
When my pullets started laying, the first couple eggs were on the floor/in the run. Not surprising; they might not have known what was going on! Then they made a bowl shaped nest under the nest box. I covered that with a piece of wood, and they laid a little farther down the wall. So I took the nest box off the wall and put it where they seemed to want to lay. Bingo! After a week, I put it up on bricks. After another week, I put it back on the wall.
 

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