How to get Hens to lay in a Nesting Box


In the Brooder
8 Years
Aug 26, 2011
I have 8 hens about 4 months old. We built a real nice nesting box with 8 squares and put grass/pine shavings in them, but the hens are laying on the ground. Does anyone have suggestions how to get them to lay in the nests?
sometimes chickens need to be trained in laying in the nest boxes, adding a few golf balls and keeping them locked in for a few days would help until they get the hang of it.

and your nesting boxes are fine, I had 12 boxes for my 21 hens and some can be real territorial at first, so I know I made the right choice in adding more than I needed, once they got used to laying and got the hang of things I took some of the boxes out. now they have a community nesting box which is 3 feet deep and its divided into 2 top and 2 bottom boxes, and they much prefer it that way. I sometimes have 3 hens in each box laying, lol.

I had a few lay on the ground....but here are a few questions. How high off the floor are your boxes? Are they kinda dark or maybe facing a window or something? My girls (10 of them now) have 6 boxes available. They all have favorites and 2 of the boxes are totally unused because they arent very uh...private. They all favor the ones about 2 feet off the ground in the corners. Go figure. I do have golf balls in the boxes too. Once I did that I had no more trouble with eggs on the floor or in the run.
Mine won't lay in their boxes either. I just keep the bedding on the floor really clean. I have golf balls in there but 3 weeks since POL for my RIR and she is very happy laying UNDER the nest box. =/ She lays me an egg everyday so who am I to argue. It isn't out in the run at least.

They won't roost on their pole either. They all sleep in the bottom back corner where they lay eggs.
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I use plastic Easter eggs filled with paper for a bit of weight. They used the nesting boxes to sleep in before I placed one in each box. It really works!
I havent tried the plastic eggs but it sounds like other folks have had good luck with them. Good idea on putting something in them for weight or they might toss them out.
EggRookie2010, had some good points, I had to put a sheet of material, making a curtain in front of my boxes...I have 2, only 2 of them are being used...the rest go ignored. I also have golf balls in them as well...if they are too high, the girls may ignore them as well. The roosts should be the highest point in the coop.

good luck, they will get it!

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