Everyone wants to use the same nesting box

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by eirwin, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. eirwin

    eirwin Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 22, 2010
    I have only four chickens and two nesting boxes. Three of them just starting laying 10 days ago. The problems is they all want to use the same box. They are waiting to get in, but I found that sometimes they can't wait that long and drop their egg outside the coop. Any suggestions. Today I will turn the boxes around to see if they still will use the same one.
  2. texasgal

    texasgal Brood with an Attitude

    Apr 18, 2009
    I have 4 hens .. 3 boxes .. same problem ..

    LOL .. don't know that you can do a think about it ..
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    You can try putting a fake egg in the other box to encourage them to use it. I have 4 nest boxes and there is still one that is the favorite. They will use the others if the preferred one is taken. Except my brahma, the princess, will beat up on the hen until she vacates "her" box.
  4. HorseFeathers

    HorseFeathers Frazzled

    Apr 2, 2008
    Southern Maine
    Haha, yep, they often crowd into a nest box or complain when someone's using "their" box. We have 7 laying hens and 4 boxes. At one point last week three hens were in the boxes and our BR was yelling about it. I stuck her in the empty box and they all calmed down.

    Use a fake egg in the other box if it's a huge problem. Otherwise... get the camera ready for when you get four hens all piled in one box!
  5. Oven Ready

    Oven Ready Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2010
    If you have space above the next boxes, put a cardboard box or better still two - like a shoe box - up there with one egg in it (or a fake one or a golf ball).
    When you hear the 'I'm just popping off to lay an egg now' clucking noise. Get there before the egg is laid and put a girl up into the cardboard box - as it's higher she's likely to be quite pleased and will keep going there, do the same with another one. The ones you don't lift up probably will never bother going up to look and you might just get them to accept that a box each is a good idea.

    If you don't have space above, try just sitting a shoe box on the floor, with an egg or golf ball in it. Same thing though, put the girl in so she knows that's an OK place to lay.

    Ours nest in all sorts of things, old hats, buckets, the wood shed, an old box, there's one on a shelf on our terrace and two in the garage but they all get moved up to the coop before hatching.
  6. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    From a chicken's point of view, it makes sense to lay in a nest where one or more eggs already have been laid. I noticed this when I had three broody hens this spring. Before the first went broody, they all laid in a single nest. With three hens laying, a good size clutch accumulated there in only a few days. The first hen sat down to brood.

    Then the remaining two hens went to work on a second nest. With only two of them laying, it took a bit longer for a clutch to accumulate. Then Hen No. 2 sat down to brood.

    Hen No. 3 was left to build her own clutch and she would never have been able to lay a clutch as large as the other two just on her own without some of the earlier eggs going stale. So I helped her by adding some eggs I'd taken out of the previous two clutches. Still, her hatch rate was lower than her sisters' clutches.

    I'm convinced that hens lay in a communal nestbox because this strategy ensures fresher eggs for hatching. Of course, this only makes a difference if the eggs are fertile and can hatch!
  7. imtc

    imtc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 30, 2008
    I have 7 laying hens and they all like to use the same one....even the broody ones will "share" and wedge themselves together in the same box. while other's will kick a broody out to lay hers with the ones already in there.

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