How to get chickens to use the nesting boxes?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by switters, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. switters

    switters In the Brooder

    Nov 3, 2008
    Our chickens laid their first eggs today. Hooray! We have nine pullets that just turned 6 months literally today, and we found 5 eggs this morning. Problem is, we found them at the base of a tree in the yard, in the bushes, and in their run. We have two nesting boxes in the coop but apparently they didn't get the message [​IMG] How can we encourage them to use the boxes?

  2. cw

    cw Songster

    Jan 11, 2009
    green co.
    put fake eggs or golf balls in the nest boxes
  3. KandJsmama

    KandJsmama Chirping

    What if the golf balls don't work? Mine seem to be ignoring them and sometimes they bury them in the bedding. [​IMG]
  4. gsim

    gsim Songster

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Confine them to coop for a week and be ready to have a mess inside too. As long as roost is higher than nests, they will not confuse nests for a place to roost. They should imprint on that and begin to lay inside and to prefer it. If you free range tho, always do a walk around to the likely places because some will always do that rather than go back to the coop. That and losses to predators are two things that are inseparable from free-ranging. [​IMG]

  5. Put some golf balls or easter eggs in the nesting boxes. Lock them in their coop for a few days or at least lock them up in the morning until they lay their eggs. Maybe if you are down there and see one of them laying then put her in the nesting boxes.

    Hope this helps!
    Merry Christmas!!

  6. switters

    switters In the Brooder

    Nov 3, 2008
    Our nesting boxes are lower than the roost. However, the chickens have taken to roosting on top of the nesting boxes. What's the best way to prevent them from doing this?
  7. mrandmrschicken

    mrandmrschicken Songster

    Sep 14, 2008
    NW IA
    Quote:Slant the top on the nest box so they have no place to sit. Mine are recessed into the coop wall so there is no place to sit. Have one small hen that will sleep in the boxes however. She is not a good flyer so doesn't roost very often. Just means you gotta clean the poop out so the eggs aren't all nasty.
    ETA: I also keep mine in the coop until they lay.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2009

  8. arherp

    arherp Songster

    Sep 29, 2009
    Put two of the eggs you found in each box and confine them for 3-7 days.
  9. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I agree with the other posts and would keep them shut up in their coop for 2/3 days. Also I have golf balls in my nest boxes. Some people use fake or wooden eggs.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

  10. ArizonaNessa

    ArizonaNessa Joyfully Addicted

    Apr 7, 2009
    I agree with everyone else on the golf ball/fake egg thing but I have found that I don't run into this problem if I expose the chickens to nest boxes starting at about 6 weeks old. They play around in them and take naps and whatnot but when it comes time for laying I have never had to train them as to where to lay [​IMG]

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