How to get them to lay in their nest boxes?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by the westspartan, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. the westspartan

    the westspartan Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 31, 2011
    I have 8/9 pullets (not sure about on yet) and one rooster. All are a about 17 weeks old. They free-range, completely unrestricted around our wooded three acre lot all day. They all stick together and follow the rooster around. In the evening, I shut them in their coop after they have gone to roost. They have two nice nest boxes in their coop, and there is evidence that they have at least explored inside the nest boxes. They spend a lot of time throughout the day hanging around inside and just outside of the coop.

    I am not sure if they are not laying yet or are just not laying where I can find the eggs. My question is, how do you get them to lay in the nest boxes while allowing them the freedom to roam around the property?

  2. This_chicks_place

    This_chicks_place Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2011
    Upstate NY
    Do you have dummy eggs in the nest?
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Many people put golf balls or wooden eggs in the nest boxes to show that this is a "safe" place to lay (most chickens tend to lay in areas where there are already eggs). At 17 weeks, you probably have a few weeks to go. If you don't find any eggs in the nest boxes by 22 weeks or so, and they have bright red combs, then you may have to do a temporary run to keep them in for a few days to see if eggs are being produced. Hopefully though, all the eggs will go in the nest boxes.
  4. the westspartan

    the westspartan Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 31, 2011
    Thanks! That was quick and helpful! I guess I have to find some fake eggs or golf balls.

    I wasn't overly concerned just yet, but a few of the ladies are getting a little red in the face. Five of them are RSLs and I had heard that they tend to lay pretty early. The other three definite pullets are a Barred Plymouth Rock(very red in the face), a White Leghorn(very red) and a Speckled Sussex(not red at all in the face).

    Thanks again,
  5. arenea74

    arenea74 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2011
    I put egg sized rocks in mine. I had no golf balls and was too lazy to go running around looking for wooden eggs. [​IMG]
  6. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    I agree with can get wooden eggs at a feedstore. Sounds like yours are "practicing" since you see the nest boxes messed with. But they are probably not yet laying.
  7. Tenmore

    Tenmore Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 2, 2011
    Ogden utah
    My white leghorns and black and golden sexlinks are about 17 weeks now and the started this week. Found the nesting boxes on their own so be on the look out it was only one day after they started checking out the boxes that the first 2 eggs came and its benn 1 to 3 eggs everyday since so I say their close if not already laying somewhere else. 2 of my WLH were the first followed by I believe a GSL and today well I got a speckled brown egg dont know who layed that one....Like was mentioned before I would pen them up for a couple day to see if they have started laying good luck. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2011
  8. Ilovemyladies!

    Ilovemyladies! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2011
    Hills of Kentucky
    You could try filling up plastic Easter Eggs with sand. They work great for my Pullets![​IMG]
  9. ChickenAl

    ChickenAl Diagnosis...Chicken-Headed

    Jun 5, 2011
    Putnam cty, NY
    We installed the nest boxes at 16 weeks and put two golf balls in each. Three days later we got our first egg right on target in the nest box. That was yesterday. Waiting for another egg today.

    Are the nests installed under a window or on an opposite wall. Under a window is usually darkest and they like it dimly lit. If they are in a bright place try making a curtain to go over the opening. They will find and use it as long as they feel secure. It is more out of instinct that they will go to it.

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