can absence of nest boxes delay the start of laying?

CanadaEh

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May 31, 2018
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Out barred rod chickens are 23 weeks old and still not laying. Can absence of the nest boxes in the coop delay their start of laying in any way? I don't want to put boxes before they start using roosts for sleeping - at night they still pile up in their favorite corner of the coop.
 

fldiver97

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No. 23 weeks is still normal, some start later....some of mine started at 20-22 weeks, some at 26 and one decided to wait until she was over 36 weeks old. You can put nest boxes up if they look like they’re getting close (you may notice squatting when you approach, combs and wattles red, egg song etc). I made boxes available and placed wooden eggs in boxes. The girls supposedly think the presence of eggs indicates a good nesting place . I only had a few eggs laid outside the nesting boxes/coop. Mine will run to the coop even when loose in the yard, lay and come back out. If your girls don’t roost you may want to put them up on the roost when it’s dark, may have to do it for a few days but it usually works
 

GC-Raptor

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My first Flock, they were Golden Comets, hatched early spring were squatting and acting weird and at 16 weeks one was trying to make a nest on coop floor. I installed the nest boxes the same day and the next day the same pullet was acting weird and scratching around the coop floor. I picked her up and put her in a nest box and she stayed. 35 minutes later she came out and a small egg was in the nest. So I would say no. They will find a place or just drop where they may. It is the shorter daylight that's probably delaying onset of lay.

As for not roosting it's best to start early. I had a branch in the brooder around 2 weeks for my Barred Rocks. 20180828_145517.jpg . I put a branch in the pen around 5 weeks when I put them outside. 20180920_180837-2.jpg .
They were roosting in their new coop at 8 weeks when I finally got it assembled. 20181018_182955.jpg . Are the roosts easily accessible? Not too high. Big enough? My new coop has 2x3s narrow side up. I prefer wide side up like my old coop. 20181021_092420.jpg . The lower roost in my old coop is 12 inches high.
My new coop is about 16 inches, a guesstimate. 20181026_125321.jpg .GC
 

Pork Pie

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Out barred rod chickens are 23 weeks old and still not laying. Can absence of the nest boxes in the coop delay their start of laying in any way? I don't want to put boxes before they start using roosts for sleeping - at night they still pile up in their favorite corner of the coop.
No
 

aart

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Out barred rod chickens are 23 weeks old and still not laying. Can absence of the nest boxes in the coop delay their start of laying in any way? I don't want to put boxes before they start using roosts for sleeping - at night they still pile up in their favorite corner of the coop.
No.
But I would look into why they are not roosting.
Are roosts easily accessible...both space to fly up and and especially fly down?
Is there enough roost length for number of birds?
12" per bird is a decent rule of thumb, but depends on configuration of roosts and coop.
Pics of your coop interior showing roosts an nest would allow us to spot any problems.

I'd get the nests opened and birds roosting now.
 

Col1948

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Sep 9, 2018
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Have you not made the nest boxes?
If not you can use cardboard boxes as an emergency, I use them all the time now, easily disposed off if they get damaged.
 

CanadaEh

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May 31, 2018
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No.
But I would look into why they are not roosting.
Are roosts easily accessible...both space to fly up and and especially fly down?

They using roosts some times to hang out in the evening when the lights are on in the coop. They still prefer to sleep on the floor in the corner of the coop where they can't see the windows (and thus nobody can't see them through the windows). The roosts are 2x4's at 2' high with a small roost at 16" to assist getting up and down to/from the main roosts. I found while 2x4's are recommended for cold weather they are super clumsy using them (especially roosters) and have to walk on them as on a zip wire not being able to grasp around the roost.

I think it is safety not accessibility issue. For as long as vast majority would think it is safer to sleep on the floor in the corner, those that would like to sleep on the roosts will have to follow.
 
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