Getting them to use the nest box

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by shopchicks, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. shopchicks

    shopchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 4, 2009
    Boise, Idaho
    As I posted in my green egg layer thread, my hens are turning their beaks up at my nest box. I will try to get a pic of it tomorrow, but it is basically about 14" deep and 24" long. It has a nice large opening at the front, and I put some straw in it for bedding, on top of the shavings I use in the rest of the coop. It has a roof that slopes towards the front to prevent roosting, and this also makes it a little more closed in. I have put each of the three hens that I believe are laying in there, and they've each inspected the store-bought ringer eggs I planted in the nest box, then cluck-clucked and hopped back out. None of them seemed distressed about going into the nest box, but sure enough, today I had two eggs in another corner of the coop, and one egg on the ground in the run.

    Any tips on encouraging them to use the nest box?

    If it would help, I could take this one out this weekend and build something different if it would be more inviting and give them the right idea. I was going to add a curtain of fabric strips to the top to make it more private, but thought I should wait until they were accustomed to using it, first.
     
  2. Cloverleaf Farm

    Cloverleaf Farm Bearded Birds are Best

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    Sep 16, 2008
    Levan, UT
    I ended up moving the nest box in one of my coops to where the girls were laying, once they started using it, I slowly moved it (about and inch per day) to where I wanted it. They still use it. [​IMG]
     
  3. midget_farms

    midget_farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    you may want the opening smaller. They need to feel slightly confined & protected.

    My hens were all floor layers at first - I didn't do anything special & many of them started using the nest box. Some still don't - bu most do.
     
  4. gallinamama

    gallinamama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 14, 2010
    Macomb, Michigan
    I was wondering about this subject as my chickens are maybe a few weeks from laying. my son in law made a mistake when making my boxes... and they ended up open-ended... so I have just put wood shavings in them... for now. I asked my neighbor who has had chickens for many many years.. and I took a look at her coop and she has the same open-ended nest boxes... and her chickens lay real good.. I also asked her about putting a fake egg in there and her and her husband just laughed... they said the chickens will lay regardless..so now I am sooooo confused:confused:

    I have pictures of my coop on "my page" as I do not know how to down load them on to the message boards...[​IMG] So frustrating. I wish I knew more about this.[​IMG]
     
  5. shopchicks

    shopchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 4, 2009
    Boise, Idaho
    Quote:Thanks, I was thinking of the fabric to make it feel more enclosed, but I was worried that they wouldn't figure out that they could go in. Maybe I will just put a short piece of fabric at the top of th opening for now to darken it up.

    Unfortunately where they are laying is right where the opening for the pop door is (it's not functional yet, they go in/out the man door) but that is right next to the nest box area, so hopefully they will just move over a few inches and start using the box.

    I was also wondering if I should start out with shavings only. This is probably the first time they've seen straw, so they might not know what that's all about.
     
  6. shopchicks

    shopchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 4, 2009
    Boise, Idaho
    Well, I got three eggs today, and 2 of them were in the nest box. [​IMG] My darker EE was in there this morning, so now I know who is laying the green eggs. Hopefully the rest will learn from example!
     
  7. fldiver97

    fldiver97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 5, 2009
    Middleton, WI
    [​IMG] hopefully the rest of the girls will follow the good example!!!!
     

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