How long to wait to uncover nest boxes


In the Brooder
10 Years
Apr 30, 2009
Hello, I have six birds, four RR and two Ameriquanas, The are all four months old. I was advised to cover up their access to their two nest boxes until they are ready to lay. Does anyone know when I should take the covers off so they can go into the nestboxes?

I have to say the fake eggs really help. Our banty's were hatched and bought in late March and we only got 3 eggs between mid Aug - mid Sept. I added the fakies and bamm now it's almost daily from my blu chochin and MF D'Uccle.We added the nest box a few weeks ago but never covered it up didn't hear about that one.Yeah a few sleep on top of it but I just want the other girls to catch on especialy our Americana we got back in early March to see what color she'll give us and cuz their be bigger eggs.Another way to tell if she's ready is to feel the 2 almost like butt bones on the bird.If their close together forget it for now,when they spread she should be getting ready to start soon.
I uncovered my nest boxes at 19 weeks and my first group started at 20 weeks.

Wish my 2nd and 3rd group of girls would start to lay.
We opened 'em up at about 26 weeks. No fakes, and when it was time the first one just knew where to go. Waiting on 3 more to start, then one. They all check out the action when "Bossy" lays though. They all run in and have a look - see. And last night when my wife put them in, she said the 3 that are close all did a walk through in the nestboxes. Can't wait!
I don't understand but it seems like people try to make this whole chicken thing harder than it really is. I built a two hole nest box and put it in the chicken house for 9 hens ( I am going to build a little larger one 3-4 nest boxes) then when they started laying they laid a few eggs on the floor of the chicken house but now I go out and usually there are 6-8 eggs in one of the nest boxes daily. I didn't cover it or anything they just decided to go in and lay their eggs.
Also you can mark an egg and leave it there for a few days for the hens to recognize as the place to do it. That is if you don't want to go get a golf ball. Just change the eggs out before they get too old and maybe become a mess. The Mark is so you know which is the old one.
Oh yeah I got my first 2 eggs today from my second group of girls today...... Jersey Giants...... the eggs were on the floor. Hmm maybe I need some golf balls.
First Chickens................Four of my six will be about 20 weeks end of July; two others about two weeks younger. Have been covering nesting boxes, but open during the day to air out. Chickens have been more and more interested in boxes. This site very helpful; will uncover boxes now and try the fake egg thing in a week or two. Great information everyone; thank you.

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