getting chickens to use nest boxes.


8 Years
Apr 12, 2011
Portland, OR
I have 11 hens and 1 rooster, yesterday my white leghorn laid the first egg I've ever gotten. She laid it in a corner of the coop by the roosts and not in the nesting boxes. My coop is a little bit crowded so I put my nesting boxes in my covered run. However, she ignored the boxes and went right into the coop to lay. I am trying to teach her to use the nesting boxes but I am not sure if my methods are effective or even harmful. I let my flock free range virtually every single day and yesterday she returned to the coop to lay the egg. Today I am letting 8 of my 12 free range and I have 4, including the leghorn, locked up in the run and closed the door on the coop part. I have seen her hop up in the nesting boxes a couple times but she doesn't seem to lay.

Is this an effective way to get her to use the nesting boxes or does she need more privacy?
Could stress from being locked up cause her to not want to lay?

I might just be over thinking this, she went into the coop to lay around 10am yesterday and it's 12:30pm right now, so maybe her body hasn't created another egg yet? I am just unsure what to expect with egg laying. If I'm doing anything wrong or you have advice on how to make things better please let me know.


Here's the boxes I built, are they too low to the ground maybe?
Our flock started laying 3 weeks ago in the corner of the coop. I put 3 golf balls in each of the nest boxes. I haven't found one egg on the floor since. I left the golf balls in the boxes for one week until I was sure they were trained to it. Good luck!
My chicken tried to lay in bushes and hedges for her first time laying and I took her and locked her in the coop with the golf ball in the nest boxes. she took to laying in one box, and after she laid it I let her out. the next day I made her stay in the coop until she laid one more. after that she went into the coop her self from our yard and lays in the same box. she has taught the next bird to lay in the box to. we have 3 more to lay and Im sure they will follow suit and lay in the coop to.
your nests are fine, it takes maybe locking her up to get her to stay in the coop to lay in a box, chickens like there privacy when they lay eggs, maybe put a nest box back inside the coop so she has privacy
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