getting a chicken to lay in the nesting box

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bevchickfarm, Sep 15, 2010.

  1. bevchickfarm

    bevchickfarm New Egg

    Aug 20, 2010
    I have two hens who lay have been laying every day for a couple of months. They both lay on the floor in the hen house, not in the nesting boxes. They usually lay in a clean spot, but I would like to encourage them to lay in the boxes. I have put golf balls there and they just knock them out when they sleep (as they seem to be sleeping in those lately and not up on the roosting bars) or ignore them all together. Is there any reason they might be laying and sleeping in the "wrong" spots and is there a way to encourage them to change their habits? Or is it no big deal?
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    They poop a lot at night, so if you get them to lay in the nest boxes and they also sleep in there, you will get poopy eggs. That is the main reason for them to not sleep in the nest boxes.

    The roosts need to be higher than the nest boxes. They normally want to sleep in the highest place possible. If the roosts are higher than the nest boxes and they still want to sleep in the nest boxes, every night after they have settled down and it is too dark for them to see to move back to the nest boxes, take them out of the nest box and set them on the roost. Use as little light as possible. They should get the message in a few days or maybe a week.

    If they are in the habit of laying in a spot on the floor, it may be hard to get them to lay in the nest boxes. I made my nest boxes so I can lock a chicken in there if I want to. When I catch one laying in the floor, I lock her in a nest box until she lays the egg. This usually only takes about a half hour, but I had one Speckled Sussex that I had to lock in there a few hours one day, then a couple of hours the next day before she would lay the egg. She did finally learn. That's the only way I've tried.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!

    Editted to add: If they are scratchng the fake eggs out, do you need to raise the lip on your nest box so they don't scratch them out? I had to make mine about 5" high to get them to stop scratching out the nesting material and fake eggs.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2010
  3. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    I have tried to encourage my birds to lay in the proper places to keep the eggs clean and undamaged, but they lay where they will regardless of how many fake eggs I put in their nesting boxes. I block off their favorite laying corners and they lay right next to whatever is blocking the corner. They lay on top of the nesting boxes and under them, and sometimes even get an occasional egg in them. I find eggs on the feed bin and on the roosting bars. I even found an egg in their dust bath. So, you're not the only one having eggs show up in odd places.

    As far as the roosting goes- I would really encourage them to roost because it keeps them much cleaner. Their butts get covered in droppings if they don't roost. It's not really problematic, but is just unsightly.

    Good luck.
  4. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    What width are the roosts? They generally prefer something at least as wide as the flat side of a 2x4.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by