Chickens won't use the nesting boxes!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MyPetNugget, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. MyPetNugget

    MyPetNugget Enjoying the cold!!!

    We have 9-10 chickens that have just started laying and 3 of them won't use the nest boxes. I have tried golf balls, easter eggs, changed the straw, and put the chickens in the boxes, but they still won't lay in there. The nesting boxes are 1x1x1 and there is one on the end that is 1x1x2. They just scratch a hole in the corner and lay there. So I put some rocks and a cement block there and they just layed next to it.[​IMG] Does anyone have any other ideas?
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    The only thing I can think of is, sprinkle some Sevin under the straw, in case there are mites of some sort in there and they are getting bitten.

    Mine usually use the nests, but the other day all the eggs were in a corner next to the nest boxes. There was no obvious reason for the change. I'm just glad they have returned to laying them in the coop.... [​IMG]
  3. rottnwarrior

    rottnwarrior Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2013
    Conklin ny
    My chickens have just started laying too and for a couple of weeks they would go scratch in the boxes and then go lay off the roost haha. I couldn't find any fake eggs so I found a plastic lemon and put it in one of the boxes and they started to use them. They still laid some on the ground afterwards a couple times but they have pretty much got the hang of it now. I also put some of the ground laid eggs in the boxes for a couple days. It may just take some patience while they get used to it.
  4. MyPetNugget

    MyPetNugget Enjoying the cold!!!

    Thanks for all the quick replies. It might be mites (pun not intended) but I don't think so because other hens have been using them all.[​IMG] I will try it though. I'll keep you posted. :)
  5. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

    Jan 10, 2013
    I have a BR who started out laying in a corner in the coop…just inches from the nests. Before she started laying, she never showed any interest in the nests. I tried all the tricks to get her to use the nests without success. She was the first of 6 to start laying ( 3 BR + 3 BO) and did so with the other 5 in the coop audience. I was afraid the others would follow her lead, but glad they didn't. BUT on her own, the corner layer just decided to start using a nest….after 6 months of floor laying! I posted a brag in the BYC forum 'cause I was so happy. Now for about a month she has been laying exclusively in the nest closest to her favorite corner.

    The only thing different for the other 5 was the addition of nest curtains before they started laying. They spent loads of time playing with the curtains and investigating the nests. Don't know if this is why they laid in nests vs floor, but I would suggest the curtains.

    Also, when Dottie wouldn't move to a nest, I found a scientific study on floor vs nest layers (don't have the URL) but the summary was that some poultry demonstrate a preference for the ground over a built nest and that many left alone will move to where the others lay. So I
    gave up and just let her lay where she wanted.

    Here's a pic of the curtains:

  6. MyPetNugget

    MyPetNugget Enjoying the cold!!!

    Thanks! There are three out of sixteen that are laying on the floor, 2 BOs and one WR. The buffs usually scratch around in the boxes for and hour or so then run over to the white rock's nest and lay there. The buffs were originally laying in the boxes though. [​IMG] I think they are following the white rock's lead. Thanks again for the advise. :)
  7. rottnwarrior

    rottnwarrior Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2013
    Conklin ny
    See what I get for saying mine got the hang of it now...? Someone laid one on the floor just to prove me wrong today. The rest were in the boxes though haha

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