How to get them to use the stacked nest boxes?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by PJCluck, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. PJCluck

    PJCluck Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 17, 2010
    Living Free in NH
    I have 14 hens. No roos (anymore). Using deep litter of pine shavings, now about 6-8 inches deep throughout. Got my first two eggs yesterday (found in the middle of the coop floor). Today there were four eggs. Two had fallen through the roost to the shaving-covered floor (fenced off from hens) and those shells were very thin, so they were ruined. Found two others in a corner of the coop, UNDER the 3x3 nest boxes, which are suspended from the wall (some have ecelsior pads, some have those plastic pads from farmtek). How do I get the hens into the nest boxes? Each has a perch, the three lowest are visible from the floor by the birds. Should I put those fake eggs in there? Do they really work? Do I need a 'ladder' up to the upper nest boxes? Help!
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2010
  2. tuesdays chicks

    tuesdays chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2010
    stuart florida
    thats a hard 1 because the birds are going to like the deep litter to make nests in, and I don't know why people say to raise the nests boxes, I'm no expert but I see it as more natural for chicken to have nest boxes at floor level, If I were a hen going to build a nest I wouldn't put it where the chicks wouldn't be able to get back in when I took them for a stroll, a chicken is going to look for the darkest corner to lay her eggs and 1s 1 lays her eggs in that spot the next 1 is going to follow suit. you can put a curtain over the top nest boxes to see if that would work to make them darker and more enticing.
  3. chicks4kids

    chicks4kids Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2009
    Northern Indiana
    I have a ladder going up to the nest boxes as well as a golf ball in each one. My new layers are stubborn sometimes and lay their eggs where ever they please, but eventually they have all come around to laying in the boxes.

    I think you should definitely put some golf balls or fake eggs in your boxes. Chickens don't need a ladder, but like I said, I have one for my girls and they use it rather than jumping/flying up to get to the boxes.
  4. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Some of mine prefer the highest nest boxes and others will lay on the floor or in the floor level nests. Lots of people use golf balls or other fake eggs as it seems to tell the chicken, this must be a good place to lay. Just depends on the chicken, but I'd give them the option. They are just learning the ropes and will settle down in a few weeks. The soft shelled eggs below the roosts are most likely an oddity and will not happen again often if at all; most likely the hen had no warning.

    So I'd get a few golf balls and make one nest floor level and give them some time.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Agree with Ddawn. When I put in a third nest box above the lower two, several hens switched to the high one immediately. Some kept laying in the lower ones. Some like them high and some like them low.

    I had a hen that was laying in the nest box lay an egg in front of the nest box when a fake egg got scrtached out. When I put the fake egg back in the nest box and raised the lip a bit so they had more trouble scrathcing it out, she moved back up to the nest box. Fake eggs do not aolve all of your problems but I consider them a good weapon in your arsenal.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2010

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