Chickens not laying eggs in nesting boxes :-(

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jculpepper, Aug 7, 2015.

  1. Jculpepper

    Jculpepper Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 11, 2015
    Need help! 2 of my girls started laying eggs, but they are not laying in the nesting boxes. For the past few days i have found an egg or two on the ground. This morning when i went out my girls where all fighting over an egg that had been layed under the roost. How do i train them?
  2. Ameraucanas

    Ameraucanas Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2015
    Put ping pong balls in the nesting boxes, and make sure the boxes are comfortable.
  3. Jculpepper

    Jculpepper Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 11, 2015
    I have golf balls in there :-(
  4. copper2

    copper2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2015
    Eating a burger
    Put a fake egg in the place you want to have them lay. For some reason they prefer laying in others nest.
  5. Jculpepper

    Jculpepper Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 11, 2015
    Where do you get fake eggs?
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It’s not unusual for a pullet’s first eggs to be laid about anywhere, from the roost or with her just walking around. They sometimes just drop them wherever they happen to be until they learn control of the process. Most have that control from the start, especially if there are older hens in the flock to show them what to do, but a surprising number just don’t start out with that control.

    Once a pullet gains control of the process she seeks what she thinks is a safe place to lay. Their birdbrains don’t always work with the same logic ours does so some of their choices may surprise you. Often they choose your nests but they can choose anywhere that looks “hidden” to them. Even shadows on the floor can make a place look safe.

    Most, not all but most, like to lay where other hens are laying. That’s why the fake eggs like golf balls help a lot. You don’t get guarantees with fake eggs or anything else I’m saying (they are living animals and don’t come with guarantees), but fake eggs can help a whole lot.

    Wherever that pullet decides to lay her first controlled egg usually becomes her nest. If you are finding eggs scattered everywhere that has not happened yet. If you find the eggs in the same spot every day, especially in a hallowed out are, she has decided that is her nest.

    So what can you do? Have your nests open when they start to lay with a fake egg in each nest. Sounds like you have that covered. Try to keep the scattered uncontrolled eggs cleaned up. I had a pullet think the middle of the floor was a good nesting site since an egg was already there. If yours free range and you are worried about them starting out hiding a nest you can confine them to the coop or coop and run until they establish that first nest, but many don’t worry about this. That’s about all the options I’m aware of.

    If they have established a nest somewhere you don’t want them to lay, you need to retrain them. If it is not in the coop, try locking them in the coop until they lay. Hopefully your coop is big enough for that.

    If they are laying in the coop, you can maybe try putting a nest wherever they are laying. A cardboard box on the floor with bedding usually works but get as creative as you wish. Once they establish that as their nest, gradually move that box toward the real nests. When you get them used to laying in the immediate area of your nests, remove the temporary nest and see if they switch to your nests. Or if you are happy with that nest wherever it happens to be the temporary nest becomes permanent.

    I built some of my nests so I could lock a chicken in there if I wanted to. When I catch a hen on her nest on the coop floor or wherever she happens to be, I lock her in that nest until she lays her egg. That normally takes about a half hour but I’ve had one that took three hours. Most make the nest switch after me doing that only once but some take a couple of times.

    I’ve tried putting something over where they are laying to see if they would move the nest but they normally just lay next to whatever I put there. Depending on where they are laying, blocking it off might work.

    If they are just randomly dropping the eggs, don’t worry. It’s not a big deal. But if they have established a nest you have some decisions to make. Is it worth trying to move them?

    Good luck!
    Scotty from BI, med1pilot and ccrow like this.
  7. Jculpepper

    Jculpepper Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 11, 2015
    Thank you!
  8. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2015
    SW Ohio
    We had to tweek our nesting boxes. When our girls first started laying most eggs were found on the poop board so we made some changes... changed the 2" dowel 'perch' in front of the boxes to a flat 1 x 4 (4" side up), took out the dish pans we had inside (thought that would make for easy cleaning), lifted the lid making the box more accessable and took out the golfballs. We experimented with the golfballs, 0 in box#1, 1 in box #2 & 2 in box #3, they would only lay in box #1. We took out all the balls and they use all 3 boxes now. The boxes are lined with timothy hay. No more eggs laid outside the boxes. Even the new layers use the boxes.

    Here is a pic of how we orginally had the boxes set-up, before the changes. The hindged lid is now down.

  9. Jculpepper

    Jculpepper Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 11, 2015
    Thanks everyone. I am going to make some modifications today :)
  10. chynasparks

    chynasparks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2013
    I've just started finding eggs today. My 2RIRs are most likely the ones laying. They are dropping randomly on coop floor. I'm wondering if I can boil a couple to use as fake eggs. Can't seem to get my hands on anything. I have 5 girls I sure would like to get them using the nests right away. Any opinions?

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