How to get chickens to use nesting boxes?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by SquirrelGirl, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. SquirrelGirl

    SquirrelGirl In the Brooder

    Oct 9, 2009
    Hi everyone!! My husbadn made some nesting boxes for my chickens about 3 months ago but still no usage or laying inside! They seem to only want to use them to sleep on the very top. Today we screwed the boxes to the wall so that they were not laying on the ground. When It was dark I went to check on them and of course...they were not in the nesting boxes but outside of the entire pen on top of the chicken wire. How do I get them to start laying in their nesting boxes? We have 2 acres of land and a whole lot of brush and weeds so It would be impossible to find all of the eggs if they are laying them elsewhere. I just wish they would start using the nesting boxes [​IMG]
  2. Preservation Acres

    Preservation Acres Songster

    Dec 31, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    What worked for me was ceramic eggs. I put two in each of the nesting boxes. Other people have used golf balls with success, but regardless, you need to show them what the boxes are for.
  3. SquirrelGirl

    SquirrelGirl In the Brooder

    Oct 9, 2009
    Ok, so should I lock them in the pen for a couple of days with the golf balls in the nesting boxes? Cause otherwise they are free rangers! [​IMG]
  4. Wynette

    Wynette Crowing

    Sep 25, 2007
    Wooden eggs (from a craft store) have worked best for me. And, if they start sleeping in them, put boxes or wadded up feed bags in at night when they go to roost, and remove in the morning. typically, when one begins to use the nest boxes, the rest follow suit.
  5. SC_Hugh

    SC_Hugh Songster

    May 23, 2009
    Santa Cruz, CA
    I built and installed two nest boxes (18" off the floor) inside the coop when they were just a couple of months old. Best advice I heard on BYC was to close off the nest boxes until they started to lay. I had one egg laid on the floor and then I removed the front cover on the boxes and now all their eggs have been laid in the nest boxes and none of the chickens hang out in there or sleep in there [​IMG]

    They prefer the nest box that is the darkest and farthest from the coop chickens.

    My two mistakes with my nest boxes are:

    1. The roof is not slanted enough to keep them from standing and pooping on the roof.

    2. I have to open the coop door to reach in to retrieve the eggs.

    ONE Solution for my design: Build two external nest boxes and attach to the outside of the coop and retrieve eggs without opening the coop door

    FYI: I put fresh wood shavings in the nest boxes and refresh as needed. Old shavings get thrown out onto the coop waste! [​IMG]

    Last edited: Oct 12, 2009
  6. The scrambler

    The scrambler Chirping

    Jul 8, 2016
    Were you ever able to get them to use the nesting boxes? I am looking for solutions as everything that has been added here is not working for me. (sighs) [​IMG]
  7. jpalmatier83

    jpalmatier83 Chirping

    Jul 15, 2016
    Traverse City, MI
    The best advice I got and what worked for me-

    1-"fake" eggs, I used golf balls.
    2-keep the chickens cooped up until after they've layed. That way they can't find creative places in the yard to lay. In my case this was about 10-11am.
  8. The scrambler

    The scrambler Chirping

    Jul 8, 2016
    Great idea, I will keep them in their coop longer. My girls have been laying everywhere but their boxes.

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