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Does dirty nest boxes affect egg laying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jjredpower, Dec 21, 2015.

  1. jjredpower

    jjredpower In the Brooder

    Oct 21, 2015
    How often should I clean out nest boxes, I have 2 hens that sleep and poop in the boxes.only getting 5 eggs out of 19 1yr old hens. TryING to get more eggs
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015

  2. ArcticMermaid

    ArcticMermaid In the Brooder

    Jun 7, 2015
    North Carolina
    If they are pooping in it then you will need to clean it out at least once a week. How many boxes to you have? You need 1 box for every 3-4 hens.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    It won’t affect egg laying but it will affect how clean the eggs are. What you need to do is get those hens roosting. Unless they are Silkies they are old enough. Since Silkies can’t fly they are a special case.

    At that age they should all be roosting but sometimes you have bullies on the roost. Some might be tired of getting beat up, the nests may be a safer place to sleep. It could be something else entirely but I suggest you put up an additional roost, higher than the nests but lower than the main roosts and separated from the main roosts horizontally a bit so they have a safer place to sleep. For the first few nights you may need to move them to the new roost but they should get the message fairly quickly. It doesn’t have to be very long, just a couple of feet should be plenty since you are only talking about two.

    I don’t know enough about your flock and their laying history to give any real specific suggestions. If you are north of the equator it’s typical for hens to molt this time of year and stop laying. I’m not getting any eggs either because of molting. Some hens will lay in the winter, some don’t even if they are not molting. Some (not all) pullets will lay through the winter their first laying season but with yours a year old, they are probably past that. I have had pullets in their first year and older hens that have finished the molt start laying this time of year, I’ve had them wait until later in spring to start.

    If you have electricity down there you can try extending the light, add a few minutes to the day length at a time to try to trick them into thinking it is later in spring so they will start. That might work if they have finished the molt.
  4. jjredpower

    jjredpower In the Brooder

    Oct 21, 2015
    Thanks for your help. I have 11 boxes. And I do have 2 that are going threw a hard molt. I have never noticed any molting before and I have done this off and on for years. I stopped keeping roos because I wanted them to look good. These girls look horrible. I will clean out boxes and add some more roosts. Thanks again
  5. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    I have 1 molting bird that is trying to sleep in the nest box. She gets moved every night, along with 3 juveniles. I have 9 pullets, hatched Easter. They were laying fine until this month, but now they have stopped completely. With the days getting longer now, production will start slowly increasing.

    As Ridgerunner said, it will not affect laying, but it will result in dirty eggs, or them finding another place to lay.
    1 person likes this.

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