Give up on chicken laying in nesting boxes?

trumpeting_angel

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Feb 6, 2019
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@HennyPenny44 - if yours wants to lay under the roost, why not install a poop board under the roost and she could lay in clean bedding?

I didn't do this, but I'm wishing I did. Efficient use of space if you locate the nesting boxes under a poop board; even if you don't move your nesting boxes, you'll have a cleaner laying situation if she never quits that.
 

rosemarythyme

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Jul 3, 2016
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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.
Maybe your nest boxes are too dark. Privacy is good but some light is good too. View attachment 1961793
Different set ups work for different people/chickens, so I wouldn't say those are hard and fast rules. I've cut windows into my previous nest box so it was brighter and more ventilated, chickens used it just fine. I've never used curtains though some people do find that it makes a difference. My current boxes are 3" off the ground, 14.5" cubed with the height sloping up to 24", and other than brand new layers that didn't seem to be aware the boxes were there, the chickens use it without issue.
 

trumpeting_angel

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other than brand new layers that didn't seem to be aware the boxes were there, the chickens use it without issue.
Oh, the clueless pullets! They all get the hang of it sooner or later, although mine are rascals. Winter is going to cure them soon. They won't want to put their fannies down in significant amounts of snow.
 

rosemarythyme

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Oh, the clueless pullets! They all get the hang of it sooner or later, although mine are rascals.
Some of my younger birds reacted to the boxes like they'd never seen them before, even though the boxes had been there all along, used by the older hens, and always left uncovered. But once I stuck them in it, after the initial panic wore off, you could see them thinking, "Maybe this isn't so bad... maybe I'll try rolling these golf balls around... maybe I'll sit for a spell."

In the future I'll try experimenting by proactively putting pullets in the boxes to explore them when they're close to POL but before they actually start laying, as birds who explore the boxes earlier on seem to me more likely to use them right from the start.
 

trumpeting_angel

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I had the good fortune of putting in an addition, including nest boxes, a few weeks before the pullets reached POL. They explored right away, and took turns going in and messing with the hay. However, they laid all their eggs behind/under the ramp in the run. When I realized I had to look in there, there was a collection of 17 eggs! Later one of my gals set up nesting in tall grass behind the ban, and she made it to 12. Maybe they are just smarter than me.
 

Jandsloch

Songster
Apr 3, 2019
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Nw pa
@HennyPenny44 - if yours wants to lay under the roost, why not install a poop board under the roost and she could lay in clean bedding?

I didn't do this, but I'm wishing I did. Efficient use of space if you locate the nesting boxes under a poop board; even if you don't move your nesting boxes, you'll have a cleaner laying situation if she never quits that.
Exactly what I did nd they decided it was fun to lay in back corner where we had to crawl to get the so we made nest boxes for under poop board and blocked it off so they couldn’t go under there...then 2 decided 2 feet in front of the boxes WSU perfect ‍♀ but eventually everyone caught on to the boxes...only took about a week
 

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trumpeting_angel

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Feb 6, 2019
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Yes! My little prodigies have laid in many unique and creative places. When the favorite nesting box is taken, they run off and lay outside, or in the run. The winter is promoting nest-box laying, though!
 

HennyPenny44

Chirping
Apr 3, 2019
60
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Central New Jersey
@HennyPenny44 - if yours wants to lay under the roost, why not install a poop board under the roost and she could lay in clean bedding?

I didn't do this, but I'm wishing I did. Efficient use of space if you locate the nesting boxes under a poop board; even if you don't move your nesting boxes, you'll have a cleaner laying situation if she never quits that.
Thanks for the advice. Well, she layed again today under the roost so I will be putting a crate or something similar under the roost and covering it with some kind of board. Hopefully, she'll lay inside of it!
 

DoeAndGander

Songster
May 24, 2017
412
533
186
Southern Minnesota
Great advice! A curtain definitely helped my hens lay in their communal nest box. I used old fabric, twine and screws. I trimmed twine back since this photo and keep a close eye on them picking at loose ends of all items used.
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They have layed under PB a few times but I corrected by putting faux eggs in box and placing head hen in box while singing the song. My current pullets chill in the nest box to play hide and seek from hens & use as toilet :barnie hopefully that habit ends soon!
 

cdbutler70

Chirping
Nov 23, 2019
34
140
79
MS
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?
could i ask what type of straw you have in your boxes? sometimes i wonder if the straw doesn't stick and prick them so they just out. might feel like ants biting them or something. i use an igloo type dog house for mine to lay in with hay and they love it. i just keep sure the hay is good and dry and doesn't get moldy so they might not have respiratory problems. just my thoughts.
 
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