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Chickens testing out their nesting box

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mlvbatt5, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. mlvbatt5

    mlvbatt5 New Egg

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    Apr 22, 2014
    Hello all. I have four chickens that are almost 4 months old. I have had their nesting boxes blocked off until a couple of days ago in hopes of them getting used to them. I have found that when I put straw down, they end up moving it into their roost area. Is this normal for younger birds? Should I worry that they will lay eggs in their roost area instead of their boxes? Any advise would be appreciated.
     
  2. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Are any of them actually sleeping in the nest boxes at night? Do you have a fake egg in each box to give them the "hint"? Are any of your girls doing the "submissive squat" yet?
     
  3. mlvbatt5

    mlvbatt5 New Egg

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    Apr 22, 2014
    I don't think they are sleeping in there, but just pulling the straw out. Maybe I should block the nest boxes a little longer?
     
  4. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Gosh, not sure on that one. If your girls combs/wattles are getting bright red and they do the "submissive squat" they are really close. They'll lay at any time. I have one of my 4 girls that "squats" constantly so I'm in high hopes of seeing my first egg soon. Now that you've opened the boxes up if it were me I'd leave them open. Right now their little bodies are going hormone-crazeeeee and they really don't know what's going on "down there" !! [​IMG] They'll figure it out and in the meantime we 'chicken mama's' will go nuts trying to figure it all out. Let me know when you get your first egg!!
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Please don’t block the nests off again. All that will do is teach them to lay in some other place when they do start. I know many people worry about the nests being available will cause them to sleep in the nests. There are several different reasons they may sleep in the nests. The roosts may be too low or you may not have enough roost space, you may have a bully that is a brute on the roosts so the weaker ones look for a safer place to sleep, or you may have birds like Silkies that can’t fly so they have trouble getting to the roosts. Personally I would want to know if they are going to sleep in the nests before they start to lay so I could figure out why they are doing that and fix the problem before I get poopy eggs and find them laying in places other than the nests.

    When chickens find a new spot, they investigate it. Part of that investigation is to scratch around looking for food. Also, about a week before they start to lay, many pullets (not all but many) start to look for a good place to make a nest. Sometimes a rooster will help them look for that good place. They scratch around to see if it can be remodeled to be suitable. I want them to do all that before they start to lay so I can fix a problem if there is one.

    It sounds like they are scratching the nesting material out when they are investigating, whether it is for food or looking for a good place to lay. You might try raising the lip of the nest so it is harder for them to scratch that bedding out. I’ve had that problem before and adding a couple of inches to that lip made all the difference in the world. If the lip is too low, they can scratch out fake eggs and real eggs too, not just the bedding.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. mlvbatt5

    mlvbatt5 New Egg

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    Apr 22, 2014
    Thank you for the info!
     

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