Encouraging use of the nest boxes.....

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by imthedude, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. imthedude

    imthedude Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 9, 2010
    My 9 girls are hopefully close to the point of lay (3 @ 20 wks and 6 @ 18 wks). I've read of the golf ball and fake egg tricks to get them to lay reliably in their nest boxes and hopefully those work, but if they are used to free ranging some during the day, will they return to their nests routinely to lay? I don't want to be hunting for stray eggs all over our yard.....
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    You may want to keep them locked up until around 5 or 6 pm for a while. This will get them started laying in the boxes, and once they're doing it routinely, then you can let them out more often. Otherwise, you will be doing the egg hunt......
  3. RM44

    RM44 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2009
    Woodstock, Georgia
    I would recommend using the golf balls/fake eggs/oval shaped stones, etc., in the nest boxes and also keeping the chickens confined to the coop (and or coop and run if attached) until you get a few laying in the box. Then allow the free ranging again once they learn to use the box.
  4. Di

    Di New Egg

    Jul 19, 2009
    Once my girls were old enough to start laying, I stopped allowing them to free range. I kept them in their coop and run until I was sure they were all used to the nesting box routine. Some breeds didn't start laying as early as others, but I figured the late-bloomers would pick up what others were doing, so I started letting them free range in the afternoon. Once all of them started laying, they went back to free ranging the whole day and each would return to the coop to lay then go back out and join the others.

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