Golf balls in nest boxes for pullets?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jessie and Kade, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. Jessie and Kade

    Jessie and Kade Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 11, 2012
    Hi so I have a question can golf balls in the nest boxes a good idea for pullets or a bad idea? My BCM just started laying and I have a problem with my RIR laying anywhere she feels like (other than the nest boxes) and my BCM pullets first egg was laid in the middle of the floor so I'm trying the golf balls to redirect my girls to the boxes however my BCM seems to spend some time "turning her golf balls" is this normal? I just want to do what's best for my girls and am trying to figure all this chicken stuff out lol!
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Golf balls in the nest boxes will hopefully show the girls where you want them to lay. Also making the boxes more attractive by keeping it semi-dark and private should help. Hens like to lay in privacy, it seems.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You are dealing with living animals so nobody can give you anything that will work 100% of the time. A lot of things can possibly help but they don’t come with guarantees.

    I keep a golf ball in each nest all the time. I had a golf ball get scratched out of the nest onto the ground and a hen that normally laid in the nest laid next to that golf ball. When I moved the golf ball back to the nest and raised the lip a bit so it was harder to scratch out, that hen went back to laying in the nest. I’m convinced they help.

    It’s not unusual for a pullet just learning to lay to drop an egg about anywhere, from the roost or on the ground in the coop or run. Most seem to have control from the start, but some can take a week or two to learn control. I don’t consider a pullet just starting to lay dropping a random egg somewhere to be a big deal.

    When it becomes a problem is when it is not random but planned. Even with the golf balls in the nests and other hens laying in those nests, some hens will purposely make a nest on the floor. It may be a hidden place that she thinks is safe or even just shadows on the floor. If she regularly lays in a specific place and it is hollowed out a bit like a nest, she’s learned to lay there. It’s possible she will eventually move to a nest but not likely.

    I’ve heard of people making a portable nest, maybe out of a cat litter box or something like that, and put it where she is laying. Once she gets to laying in it, gradually move it toward the nests a bit each day. When you get to the regular nests, either get rid of it and see if she switches or just leave it there.

    Something that has worked for me. I built some of my nests so I could lock a hen in there if I wanted to. When I see her settling in her nest on the floor to lay, I catch her and lock her in a real nest until she lays. Usually this takes about a half hour and only once, but I had a hen that took over 3 hours to lay her egg in that nest and I had to do it again the next day. She did learn that second time.

    Good luck! You may be at a stage this is not a big deal or you may have some work to do.
  4. Jessie and Kade

    Jessie and Kade Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 11, 2012
    She only did it once but my older hen is the one laying all over so it was her I was trying to help with the golf balls, was more wondering if having the golf balls could make a young newly laying pullet become broody? She turns the golf balls regularily and I know that's what she "should" be doing if they were eggs lol like I said I want to try my best to do the best I can.
  5. RWise

    RWise Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 25, 2012
    Oakhurst Oklahoma
    I use golf balls as well, I have 1 in all nests and 3 in others, it seems they use the nests with more than 1 before the ones with just 1.
    How many are in the nest she is using? I would think if she thinks there are enuf to set on, she will,,,,,
  6. Pinky Macgyver

    Pinky Macgyver Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 31, 2012
    I use fake eggs I bought at the shop. Early on I just had one and it disappeared for a few days then somehow returned! She now mothers them like her own.
  7. Blackie2012

    Blackie2012 New Egg

    Oct 8, 2012
    Is there an optimum number of golf balls recommended? Our copper maran girl just starting for the first time in her life and because of the cold weather, we can't let the eggs get cracked. So far we left four painted balls in her nest, but were wondering what would be best in terms of the number of balls. Thanks in advance.
  8. Jessie and Kade

    Jessie and Kade Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 11, 2012
    I have 2 in each of my nest boxes and it seems to be a good number. They both lay and sometimes use the same box which makes it 2 golf balls and 2 eggs in the nest. Don't know what the "optimum" number would be but 2 in each works for us my girls are no longer laying all over the place they only lay in the nests now and it only took 1 day for them to figure it out :D good luck to you my black copper maran just started laying and on day 5 of her start she laid a double yolk egg :) it was Huge and pretty neat to crack open :D
  9. aggiemae

    aggiemae Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2012
    Salem Oregon
    another OMG what a dumb hen story:

    We have a hen that would lay in the box however she did lay in the same very hard to get too place every single day. We didn't have a gold ball so i put a blue handball in a spot close too (but much easier to get too) her usual spot and she immediately started to lay on the ball. One evening a few days later, when they were going into the coop for the night, I moved the ball into a nest box and she has been laying in that box ever since.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  10. stone_family3

    stone_family3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2011
    Golf balls did not work for my girls, they would push them out on to the coop floor and then the rabbits would play with them. Wooden eggs worked best for me, maybe because they're warmer to sit on then the golf balls. I also closed off all but one nesting box because they weren't using any of them. Once one decided to use it they all did. Then I opened a 2nd one up.

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