How do you teach a chicken to lay in the nest boxes???

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Willow's Meadow, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. Willow's Meadow

    Willow's Meadow Chillin' With My Peeps

    502
    1
    141
    Apr 16, 2010
    My Buff Orpingtons and Brahmas just started laying but they keep laying on the ground. I built nest boxes in the coop about 2 ft. above the ground on a shelf thing. They do go up their and investigate them but they haven't laid in them yet. Even when I had the nest boxes on the ground they wouldn't lay in them. I'm using milk crates and cardboard boxes for nest boxes right now. We'll probably build nice wooden nest boxes eventually. Today I almost stepped on one of the eggs. But how can I get them to lay in the nest boxes???
     
  2. jbrown_14105

    jbrown_14105 Out Of The Brooder

    64
    0
    39
    Apr 24, 2010
    Good Afternoon,
    Have you tried moving an egg or two into a nesting box.?
    Jim Brown
    Lockport NY
     
  3. Willow's Meadow

    Willow's Meadow Chillin' With My Peeps

    502
    1
    141
    Apr 16, 2010
    Quote:oh no I haven't....I'll have to try that. Should I use actual eggs or something else???
     
  4. PepsNick

    PepsNick Back to Business

    May 9, 2010
    Egglanta, GA
    Ah, the dreaded question! Horrible, isn't it? Here's how I did it.

    1. Find wherever they are laying on the ground (maybe in a corner?) and block off that space.
    2. When you see them laying, move them to the nest box.
    3. Maybe make the box a little more private, like putting a small towel over it or a strip of wood at the bottom.
    4. Put fake but realistic eggs in the boxes- that strongly encourages them where to lay. You can also use real eggs which I hear works better, but in my experiences they just eat them.
    5. Put a door (with holes) and a lock on the nest box until they lay in there. [​IMG]
     
  5. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,168
    30
    201
    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    Using golf balls or fake eggs will help but isn't always 100% reliable. My birds have been laying in the nest boxes since midSeptember but this morning I found an egg on the floor. Sometimes the box is full of other birds and sometime the egg may surprise them. Remember too that their instinct is to hide the eggs and, given the chance, they will. My aunt used to hang a feedbag curtain on her nesting boxes to encourage them to use them but then her birds had free range of the whole farmstead and were liable to lay anyplace.
     
  6. mdpfeifer

    mdpfeifer Out Of The Brooder

    51
    0
    39
    Jul 15, 2010
    Creston
    I have 4 chickens. Lulu was the first to lay on Dec. 4. She is a buff orpington and this is her favorite spot.
    [​IMG]
    I was having to squish down and stretch with all my might while avoiding any occasional poos on the ground. My husband would see me walk out of the coop with egg in hand, pine chips in hair and a huge smile on my face. I didn't care though...I was thrilled to get an egg. She has since layed another 14 eggs all in the same spot. I was resigned to the fact that I either had to move my nestboxes or find a golf ball retriever [​IMG]
    Here are my nextboxes complete with curtains and I also did an experiment. No golf balls in the first, and golf balls in the 2nd and 3rd.
    [​IMG]
    Here is Arial my EE laying her first egg in the nesting box on Dec. 19
    [​IMG]
    Then yesterday Oreo my light brahma also laid her first egg in the same nest box
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Today for the first time Lulu layed under the nest box, and Arial layed another awesome egg in the nest box!! I have one more buff orpington (Strawberry) yet to lay. All I can say is...I really do think the golf balls worked and they are definitely worth a try, although it does almost seem to easy. Have a very Merry Christmas!!
     
  7. NottinghamChicks

    NottinghamChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Willow's Meadow :

    My Buff Orpingtons and Brahmas just started laying but they keep laying on the ground. I built nest boxes in the coop about 2 ft. above the ground on a shelf thing. They do go up their and investigate them but they haven't laid in them yet. Even when I had the nest boxes on the ground they wouldn't lay in them. I'm using milk crates and cardboard boxes for nest boxes right now. We'll probably build nice wooden nest boxes eventually. Today I almost stepped on one of the eggs. But how can I get them to lay in the nest boxes???

    I had the same issue. I had a fake egg in the box for a month and when they started laying they did it from their roost [​IMG]

    I was pretty upset as they were smashing and freezing in the shavings. After around five days they got it and started laying in the nice comfy nest box [​IMG]

    I am pretty happy now and All my christmas cookies were made with my nice fresh eggs from my cute fuzzy butts [​IMG]

    Cross your fingers [​IMG]
     
  8. mdpfeifer

    mdpfeifer Out Of The Brooder

    51
    0
    39
    Jul 15, 2010
    Creston
    update on Lulu. Today...finally...after laying 14 eggs in the corner of the coop underneath her roost in a hard to get spot she finally laid in the nesting box! YEA!! I swear it was the golf balls [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  9. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,168
    30
    201
    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    I have a theory as well in regard to using shavings in the nesting boxes. I think using them does not give the birds a distinct idea of where to lay. I use straw in the nesting boxes and shavings on the floor and rarely have a problem other than an odd egg here or there that gets dropped inadvertently. My birds have used the nesting boxes consistently from day one.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2010
  10. Willow's Meadow

    Willow's Meadow Chillin' With My Peeps

    502
    1
    141
    Apr 16, 2010
    Quote:Good idea but I put shavings on the coop floor and then straw on top and then I put straw in the nest boxes. So that won't really work......but one of the chickens did lay an egg in the nest box today!!!! And I didn't even put golf balls in the nest box yet...I don't have any but I'll have to get some. I think since the nest boxes are just dark and coxy thats why they layed in them today. :)
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by