Give up on chicken laying in nesting boxes?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by HennyPenny44, Nov 11, 2019.

  1. HennyPenny44

    HennyPenny44 Chirping

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    My first and only of 5 hens to lay has been laying under the roosts in the coop for three weeks now. I do deep litter and although I fluff it all up every day, she is still laying in a poopy area.

    I put golf balls in the nesting boxes with plenty of fresh straw. I blocked the area under the roosts with cardboard held down by pieces of wood but she just wedged herself under the cardboard somehow and another time, just nested on the floor alongside the cardboard. I put her in the nesting boxes but she doesn't seem to like them and quickly hopped out, continuing to make her little nests under the roost.

    The coop is 4'×6' with 3 additional 12"×12" nesting boxes. My other chickens aren't laying yet but are at least starting to check out the nesting boxes. Maybe they'll show her? Her eggs are shiny and clean in spite of everything so should I keep trying to change her ways or just accept she found a better nesting spot than the one I provided?
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
  2. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Free Ranging

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    Photos of your nest boxes, in case there's some changes to suggest that we can spot?

    Something you can try (but takes some good timing) is if you know her laying schedule, and see her heading into the coop to lay, pick her up once she settles in her chosen spot and put her in the nest box, and block her in to keep her from leaving. I just use my arms to form "bars" across the entrance to keep them in the box. Hopefully she'll start exploring the box and decide it's good enough to suit her needs and settle down - for me it's only taken 30 seconds to 1 min for that to happen - and at that time you can slowly remove your arms and see if she'll stay in on her own.
     
  3. HennyPenny44

    HennyPenny44 Chirping

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    Thank you for the reply. Here’s photos of the nesting boxes and the chicken in question looking at her favorite nesting spot.

    The thing with her is she keeps going in and out of the coop several times before she lays her egg. So I’m not sure exactly when she’s going to lay an egg. She does do the egg song prior to laying so I suppose that’s a good clue when the time is approaching. I’ve tried a couple of times to keep her in the nesting box but she fought her way out when I did. I guess I need to try over and over and maybe she’ll warm up to the idea.
     

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  4. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Free Ranging

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    The nest boxes look good and pretty private too so I don't see anything about those that jump out at me.

    It sounds like you're pretty aware of her habits already so that's a good start. Hopefully if you can catch her in time once or twice, she'll decide the nest boxes aren't so bad after all. But if she's really stubborn, I can only hope that if others start laying in the correct spots that that might change her mind.
     
    trumpeting_angel likes this.
  5. Sounds like young layers to me. They should catch on with time.
     
  6. HennyPenny44

    HennyPenny44 Chirping

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    I tried putting her into the nesting box today when she was getting ready to lay and she freaked out and ran off. Chickens are copycats though so once my others start laying she might copy them.
     
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  7. HennyPenny44

    HennyPenny44 Chirping

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    That's good to hear!
     
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  8. GodofPecking

    GodofPecking Songster

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    I can't see anywhere there to lay an egg really. I'm really good at making boxes and nests chickens like to lay eggs in. I've had plenty of success. I think there was only one set of three I made that sucked.

    My expert :D recommendations. Take one, or take all, take as many as you please.

    Thumbtack a handcloth or rag over two of the doorways to the nestboxes. The hanging cloth needs to leave enough room for her to poke her head in, until they get used to the idea that they can walk trough. Many of my nest boxes have this. It often works. One old denim jeans makes a lot of doorways.

    Replace the wood shavings in one box with soil. They will always want a nest where eggs will roll to the center, I can't see that in your boxes.

    Use a flowerpot larger than your chicken that just squeezes into the nest box. On it's side, so they can walk right in the front ( top ) of the pot, and a small slope towards the back of the nest (bottom of pot) so the eggs roll to the one place at the back. Mine love this. Big success.

    Old lawn mower grass catchers are often easy and good nest boxes.

    Lean a piece of flatwood up against the nest boxes to cover the entrance so they have to walk round it to get in. Your nestboxes are too public. Think of it like going to the toilet with everyone watching. It would take a lot of effort for the hens to get that far-away look in their eyes while laying an egg. not easy.
     
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  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Might try a different bedding than the floor bedding?
     
  10. HennyPenny44

    HennyPenny44 Chirping

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    Thanks for the suggestions! The nesting boxes have straw and one of my other chickens left an egg shaped surprise in one of them this morning so at least one chicken likes my nesting boxes! But I like your rag idea. I was meaning to give my girls some kind of curtains but it was put off because I hate sewing and installing curtain rods. But ripping rags and thumbtacking them doesn't seem that hard!
     

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