First nesting box goes unused...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by plantguy90, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. plantguy90

    plantguy90 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 4, 2009
    Moorpark, CA
    I have 3 hens, and they are getting old enough, so I built them a nice 12"x16" box. Well, they totally stay away from it, no matter where I place it. I dont know how to get them to hang out in it, they seem to prefer the dirt. The run is 6'x12'. They roost at night in the center of the run in a raised plastic dog house, where they never go during the day.

    The only thing I noticed is they are starting to create nesting areas right in the dirt, they like to "nest" right next to each other; should I have made the box big enough to accomodate all 3?
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009
  2. evonne

    evonne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2009
    Las Vegas
    they wont usually hang out in the nest box.. you don't want them to....
    my chickens free range, and theere's little holes all over the yard where they dig up to take a dust bath, or lay in the cooler dirt beneath the surface....
    i have an ornamental bird cage that put hay in and i ziptied it open.. they go in there to lay, and then ga back to laying in their various wholes around the yard....

    just recently when the weather was very windy and they didn't want to leave their run, i put hay and a golf ball in a milk crate and put it in their run in the little open hutch i have for shade...
    my most stuborn girl about "her" nest cage decided she likes that better now.. which is fine.. she takes an hour to sit there and lay her eggs and the other girls get impatient.. lol.. it's funny to hear them yell at each other...
    "MOM!! she's been in there for 20 minutes!! it's my turn!!" reminds me of fighting over hte bathroom with my brother when we were young...

    the golf ball thing has worked really well for my girls.. but only if they're close to laying.. i put one in a pot with hay in my banty cage, and they just threw the hay all over the place and the golf ball is now under their hutch..
    on the golf ball note though... i also have 3 other "nests" set up for them w/ same hay and golf balls.. and they still fight over the cage...
  3. newchicksnducks

    newchicksnducks Chillin' With My Peeps

    evonne is don't want your girls to "hang out" in the nesting boxes. This would lead to dirty (poopy) eggs. What you are probably seeing in the yard is dust bathing. They will dig holes then throw the dirt around them, work it into their feathers, etc. This is a natural cooling device, also their way of keeping "clean"...helps keep bugs away! They also will "sunbathe" outside, and often do that together. Chickens aren't too keen on change either, so once you decide on a place to put your nesting boxes, you should probably keep it there if at all possible. Place some shavings or other nesting material in the box, put a golf ball or artificial egg there to help them realize what the box is for...of course, they still may decide to lay in the coop! My first layer consistently used the coop floor for almost 6 weeks, until the next chicken began to lay in the box. One the 2nd day of the new layer using the box, my original layer decided to use it too![​IMG] Case of monkey see, monkey do!

    The only reason you want your bird to go into the nesting box is to lay an egg...not sleep, etc.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009

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