Can I retrain my EE to lay in the nest box instead of on the floor

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bobbieschicks, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

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    Or is she destined to always lay her egg on the floor of the coop? I have ping pong balls in the straw lined nest boxes. My WL, AC and the other EE all get up in the boxes and so far only the WL is laying. But I've never seen Bandit get up in the nest boxes.

    She sits down in the corner under the nest box area in the pine shavings and makes a "nest" and tosses the shavings on her back repeatedly - then she lays her egg and stands over it for a short while. I'm worried that someone else will come along and step on it and crush it somehow or it will get kicked out of the coop. Should I try to put some sort of nest box down on the floor for her? Should I try moving her up to the nest box when I catch her getting ready to lay? I'm wondering why she prefers the floor - she is at the bottom of the pecking order of the big girls, but head of the younger girls.

    Here she is doing this yesterday - her sister got up in the nest box, but didn't lay an egg. Bandit came in while Smokey was in the nest box - and within a few minutes Bandit had made her nest on the floor and laid her 3rd pullet egg since starting to lay on Dec 31st.

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  2. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Interesting problem. IMO your suggestion about putting a nest box where she lays......may be a good choice. Perhaps if you could get her to lay IN that nestbox...you could very gradually move it to where you want her to be when she lays.

    good luck.
     
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Well, I'd probably try stacking a few real eggs in one of nests (or maybe wooden ones) rather than ping pong balls, and placing her up in the nest several days in a row, whether she's try to lay or not. If it continues after that, then I'd probably just put a box or basket down below for her to use, mostly just to keep the eggs from getting trampled by other birds.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    It is possible she will eventually switch to the nests, but also possible she won't. When pullets first start laying, they may drop an egg anywhere, from the roost, in the run, or on the coop floor. But most soon learn to control the process and start to look for a nest. Then they get in the habit of laying in that nest. Some start out in control with the first egg and use the nests. Most will lay where they see other hens laying when they gain that control. That's where those fake eggs are supposed to help. Sounds like it did not work with your pullet.

    I've had a few it did not work on either. When I find that a hen regularly lays in a nest on the floor, like yours is doing, I try to catch her on that nest on the floor. Then I lock her in the nest box until she lays the egg. I built my nests so I could lock them if I want to. Most of them lay the egg within a half hour and start using that nest from there on out. I had one stubborn hen that took over three hours to finally lay that egg and was back on the floor the nest day. I did it again and she then got the message.

    If I just try to put her in the nest, she won't stay. I lock her in there and check on her regularly.

    Hopefully others will give you other ways to maybe deal with this, but this is what I did and it worked. Good luck!!!
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    If I were you I would put a small railing in front of your nest boxes in order for the chickens to jump up on. They may start jumping up on it and go into the nest boxes better. It worked for mine. You can use a tree branch or anything the size of a broom handle.
     
  6. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

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    Quote:I do have that 1x2 in front of the nest boxes as a railing - are you thinking that railing isn't big enough? I don't see the others struggling to get in - but then again I have seen Snow White use the ladder to the roost and hop up into the nest boxes from there. I can add another layer to the railing to make it wider if that would help.

    I think I'm going to just have to move her up there next time I catch her getting ready to lay - and then somehow block her in there. I'll have to think about how to do that. I don't want her laying on the floor. If I can't break her of it - I guess the best scenario would be another nest box on the floor. I may need one later anyway since I have a couple of Silkies and I doubt they'll want to hop up there.

    Thanks everyone for all the great ideas!
     
  7. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

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    Quote:do you have a picture of your nest boxes? I may just have to add a piece of wood to block her in until she gets the hang of it.
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I don't mind showing you how I did it. You may find easier ways for yours. All it takes is a piece of plywood and hinges, plus either a way to keep it closed or keep it open. For example, on yours, I'd consider some hinges at the top and a way to keep it open normally, either by tying it open or rig up a hasp. Or hinges at the bottom and a way to lock it closed. Lots of different ways.

    I built mine originally with a space in the center that can be accessed from each nest on either side. There are slots cut so I can put a piece of plywood in them to keep the hens out of the middle. This has come in handy a few times, isolating an injured chicken or working with a broody.

    The part you are interested in is in front. I notched 2x2's and out one on each side to create a slot. I can slide a piece of plywood in there to lock them in. I put a piece of wood across the bottom to keep that plywood from going all the way to the floor. Instead of notching a 2x2, you can use two planks of differing widths to create the notch. The photo is not in focus, but maybe you can see what I did.


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  9. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

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    Quote:Excellent. I think I'll make a screened window and hinge it up with hook & eye to keep it down for one of the net boxes. Hopefully I can catch her getting ready to lay and move her there. She's really hard to catch.
     
  10. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

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    I found her on the floor today looking like she was about to lay - so I moved her up to the nest box. She turned around a bunch and made herself a nest then hung out there for awhile, but apparently didn't lay. When we got back from errands there wasn't an egg in the box. Hoping she got the hint and will get up there on her own next time. At least I got a white egg from the right box and a blue egg from the middle box.
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