Getting hens to use nesting boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kaffn8, Oct 27, 2009.

  1. kaffn8

    kaffn8 New Egg

    Oct 27, 2009
    Hi. Newbie question here. I have a small flock of 6 (2 light bramha, 1 black cochin, 1 speckled sussex, 1 Rhode Island red, and 1 white), We just got our first lay of 6 nice brown eggs. But instead of being in the nesting boxes, they were in depressions in their yard. So this leads me to 2 questions.

    1. How can I get them to use the nesting boxes? I have golf balls in there now, but any other tips would be great.

    2. How long are eggs good for if they are not put in the fridge for a few days? I think ours were outside for about 2 days, but we live in Colorado and it has been kind of cool here the last week.

    Thanks in advance for the help!
  2. sbates

    sbates Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 27, 2009
    I think you are on the right track with the golf balls. With my first batch of hens.. I just put a bunch of golf balls in there... and VERY QUICKLY, they learned to lay eggs there. Trying to remember... but I think I only got like one or two on the floor of the coop before they started using the nest boxes. I never had a problem with them laying in the yard. You might want to try keeping them locked up in the coop in the morning (until noon maybe).. that way they will have less "choice" where to lay the eggs.. and may be more apt to put them in the boxes.

    Regarding how long are eggs "safe" non-refrigerated? Well, I think you are probably fine for a week to 10 days (depending on exact temp... probably less in the summer heat).

    Remember, the eggs shouldn't go bad quickly because they need at least 21 days to hatch!!!!!! So they shouldn't spoil overnight! Also in Europe it is quite common to see markets sell non-refrigerated eggs. They just put them on the shelf.
  3. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    One of my pullets laid her first egg in the mud. Since water brings bacteria into the eggshell, I didn't want to eat that one.

    I've been using it as a decoy for their new nest box and it's been working great! It's all muddy looking and has an unsually smooth shell (maybe the mud had a sandpaper effect??) so I just leave it there when I collect the fresh eggs. I can tell it by the smoothness as well as the look, which is nice because I sometimes collect after dark.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2009
  4. christa7032

    christa7032 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 11, 2009
    One of my girls just started to lay and they have all been in the nesting box. I just put the box in a secluded area inside the coop with hay in there for the nest (the rest of the coop is shavings) and put a golf ball in there. She layed there with no problem. I don't know if it was just luck or what but that is where she chose to lay. I think the privacy had a lot to do with it though. We'll see where the next one begins laying. As far as the eggs go, I know people who collect their eggs every other day if that helps. I just wouldn't do that in the summer with the crazy heat we have here. Sorry thats not more help...
  5. cybercat

    cybercat Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2007
    Greeneville, Tn
    Well since I free range mine they were both inside and outside laying. I knew about the inside but outside I was lucky to find out about. I locked them in the coop for a day to break them of the outside laying. We found 2 nest oustide both with 8 and 9 egggs in them.
  6. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Mine started at 16 weeks and all eggs inside. All but 2 in nests. Nests are 24" off floor and lowest roost is 24" too, with higher roost at 48". Roosts are on wall opposite of nests. They are giving me 2 eggs a day so I think two of the buff comets are all that are laying for now. Am getting double yokes every 4 days or so too. Except for 3 runts, mine are sooo fat that some look like meaties and have since 3 or 4 months age. Do not know why, but have always fed them living greens, veggies, and fruits from day one, and never only store-bought food. That may be part of why.

  7. cherylcohen

    cherylcohen The Omelet Ranch

    Sep 18, 2009
    SF East Bay CA
    I happened to be home when my one layer starting sqauking so I put her in the hen house by herself so she could find a "safe" place, she found the layering boxes with golf balls and promptly (45 minutes later) settled in and laid her first egg in the box.

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