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chickens wont use nesting boxes, running out of ideas

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cupman, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. cupman

    cupman Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    Portland, OR
    I have 11 hens and 1 rooster, they began laying in the past couple weeks and I found 2 nests they like to use in my yard. I am trying to train them to use the nesting boxes but there are some problems. At first, 2 hens would lay in the nesting boxes no problem, but after awhile they seemed to have started laying in the yard with the rest. Well, I locked them in the coop/run for three and a half days and I had a pretty steady 6 or so eggs a day in the nesting boxes. I'm not sure if all have begun laying yet, I'm thinking they haven't. Well, today I decide to let them out to free range and instantly 2 of them start sprinting for their yard nests... like a little kid that has to go to the bathroom that has been holding it, sprinting for the bathroom.

    So it appears at least 3 of the chickens went straight for their nests and wanted nothing to do with the nesting boxes. One point of concern is the privacy issue, I'm thinking maybe the nesting boxes are not private enough for the girls to be comfortable laying in. Well any ideas would be great. Should I just lock them up for a week? two weeks? or should I move my nesting boxes inside. Room is limited in my dinky coop is why I originally placed in the run. Maybe I'll have to build protruding boxes.


  2. watchdogps

    watchdogps Songster

    Jun 4, 2011
    Central Ohio
    can you post a pic of the yard nests?
  3. Impress

    Impress Songster

    Jun 4, 2011
    Gray, TN
    The last nest I found my gals using outside I was in a foul mood and I stamped all the eggs and just walked off mad. That next morning when I let them out they ran to the nest, stared at it in shock, backed away and they don't even go NEAR that spot now. I don't know if they thought a predator went on a spree or what, but they have been good girls laying in their nest boxes since then.
  4. cupman

    cupman Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    Portland, OR
    lol... I would feel so guilty smashing my girls' babies.. but it might have to be done. As far as pics of the nest, well, my dad broke the camera when he was hunting so I'm out of luck on that at the moment.. one is nestled at the base of a fern and the other is in a big rhodadendron/sticker bush that is just a pain in the rear to get to.. the fern isn't so bad, I can collect my eggs there, but it would sure be nice to just have them all in one spot.

    update: at least 4 girls have returned to the coop to lay today, so maybe I actually am making progress!
  5. dominiquePL

    dominiquePL Chirping

    Dec 4, 2010
    Why don't you keep them in in the morning, say till 10 - 11 o'clock, so they lay their eggs where they should [​IMG]
  6. Couple of things.... I would destroy the nests. I would definitely get the boxes to where they had access to them inside lest you send a mixed message.
    I agree that you might keep them in til they lay. Curtains stapled over the boxes give privacy (Curtains termed loosely, anything stapled over). Use fake eggs, or golf balls to show them the way.
  7. I tried that but mine just "hold it" until I let them out, then they lay. The rotten sneaks!

  8. branston

    branston Chirping

    May 23, 2011
    I had the same kind of nest box and the same problem. I had a feeling it was because there was no roost to jump on outside the box. Mine were all laying on the floor of the coop. Then I found plastic nest boxes with a roost at fowlstuff.com. They're a little pricey but brilliant! Now my hen take turns to lay in them!
  9. The Red Rooster

    The Red Rooster Poultry Observer

    Try putting Easter eggs in the nesting box.
  10. cheapsk8

    cheapsk8 In the Brooder

    Sep 7, 2011
    Hillsville VA.
    I had the problem.... I moved my boxes where the bottom is two feet of the ground ..might work for u

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