Give up on chicken laying in nesting boxes?

Echilde

Chirping
Mar 17, 2019
88
175
71
Kentucky
I gave up. Most of mine lay in the goats' hay bin! I even put nesting boxes in the goats' house because they apparently love it there. Thankfully, some of them at least use those now too. I do like some of the suggestions I've read. Maybe I'll try again...
 

trumpeting_angel

Free Ranging
Feb 6, 2019
1,595
5,830
567
Vermont
@aart suggested different materials. I use shavings in the coop and hay in the nesting boxes. My pullets seemed to get it right away. They created little nests in the hay, and liked to go in there and fuss around before they came into lay.

Of course, this hasn't stopped them from laying (1) in the run under the ramp, (2) next to the compost pile (? no privacy whatsoever!), under a couple of little bushes, and in tall grass behind the barn. 12 eggs found in the tall grass! I chopped it all down and she was so confused the next day! But began laying in the nest boxes again. Creative chickens!
 

Kat2141

Songster
Jul 25, 2018
261
617
172
Windsor, NY
it sounds like it is "light" outside by time she is ready to lay, but one thing I found was that when the days got shorter, my girls that were laying in the nest box all of the time suddenly started laying on the floor under the boxes. It dawned on me that maybe it was too dark for them to feel comfy going into the nest box. I added a strand of LED white Christmas lights on a timer in the morning and they went back to laying in the boxes. Maybe your nest boxes are too dark. Privacy is good but some light is good too. Side note - my girls found a feed bucket in an unused horse stall and decided they liked that better... I ended up moving it into their area and everyone uses it. This pic is from when they first found it.
20180227_073302tn_.jpg
 

HennyPenny44

Chirping
Apr 3, 2019
60
70
68
Central New Jersey
Well, my under the roost layer did lay 2 or 3 eggs in the nesting box (yay!) after I installed the curtains but today, she layed again under the roost. I think seeing my barred rock lay in the nesting boxes changed her outlook but not completely. The barred rock in the photo seems to like the shiny mermaid curtains!
 

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HennyPenny44

Chirping
Apr 3, 2019
60
70
68
Central New Jersey
:pop Definitely following this thread, I have similar issues with my hens now. It's slightly different in that my hens USED to always lay in the nesting boxes but now ALWAYS lay in the front corner of the coop. It's not too bad because the location is right by where the big door that I use for coop maintenance opens so it's easy access to the eggs. I've actually considered rebuilding my nest boxes to be larger, primarily deeper to see if that helps(currently they are about 13" square). I also do deep litter and had wondered if the fact that the boxes are slightly elevated(they are probably about 3" or so above the level of the litter) might be a contributing issue. Anyhoo just a few thoughts from someone going through essentially the same thing, I hope you find suitable solutions to your nest box challenges:fl.
I’ve heard nesting boxes should be lower than the roosts but a bit elevated off the ground or ground level, and 12” square, unless a very large breed in which case you need to go bigger. Mine are even with the floor though partitioned off and 12” square. It’s my first flock though so I haven’t a clue why yours stopped laying in the nesting boxes!
 

HennyPenny44

Chirping
Apr 3, 2019
60
70
68
Central New Jersey
it sounds like it is "light" outside by time she is ready to lay, but one thing I found was that when the days got shorter, my girls that were laying in the nest box all of the time suddenly started laying on the floor under the boxes. It dawned on me that maybe it was too dark for them to feel comfy going into the nest box. I added a strand of LED white Christmas lights on a timer in the morning and they went back to laying in the boxes. Maybe your nest boxes are too dark. Privacy is good but some light is good too. Side note - my girls found a feed bucket in an unused horse stall and decided they liked that better... I ended up moving it into their area and everyone uses it. This pic is from when they first found it.View attachment 1961793
That feed bucket photo is a hoot! Well, my chickens just started laying and I’ve never had chickens before so I have no way to compare to laying during longer days. The boxes were kind of dim but now they’re a bit darker with the curtains. My other hen that started laying has layed in the nesting box from day 1 so I don’t want to mess with that.
 

Kat2141

Songster
Jul 25, 2018
261
617
172
Windsor, NY
That feed bucket photo is a hoot! Well, my chickens just started laying and I’ve never had chickens before so I have no way to compare to laying during longer days. The boxes were kind of dim but now they’re a bit darker with the curtains. My other hen that started laying has layed in the nesting box from day 1 so I don’t want to mess with that.
I don't know why they like it, but all 6 use the same bucket. I even put another one just like it in there, but they all use the same one.

My girls are in a unused horse stall that has wire on the top half of 2 sides. The light strand I put in is along the wire at the ceiling, just to brighten the stall up a bit in the morning. Sounds like your's are figuring it out now, too. :D
 
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