How to make chickens use layiing boxes

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by lsherack, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. lsherack

    lsherack New Egg

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    Sep 25, 2008
    Sydney Australia
    How do I get my chicken to lay in the laying box or at least away from where they roost. I have two nice laying boxes that my old chickens (now gone) and my bantam always used to use. The new chickens started using the laying boxes but then I suspect the Astralorps have gotten too big to fit in the boxes and the other chickens are following suit. I even put a box with low sides and no top where I had the laying boxes and the young chickens still make a nest in the corner where they roost and lay their eggs there. I then have to get a rake and pull the eggs across the litter I have down for them that also has chook poo on it. Is there a way to force them into the boxes or even the box with low sides and no top or will they just keep laying where they want to?
     
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    I haven't had this problem so far. [​IMG] All my girls took to the nest boxes right off.
    Make sure that the height of the nest boxes is lower than the roosts. A chicken likes to go as high as possible to roost at night and will forego the nest boxes in favor of a higher roost. Also, try adding a golf ball to each nest to give them the idea. It's also important to make sure you have enough nest boxes for the number of hens you have. Some of the larger, more dominant hens could be chasing others off.
     
  3. Frogdogtimestwo

    Frogdogtimestwo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 21, 2008
    I will be watching this post closely, my new layer refuses to use the boxes and are laying where they poop. HELP!!!
    *edited to add tried all the tips I could find in search. Golf balls, lower than roost, extra bedding in the box, replaced old box with a new style, not let out until done laying....
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2008
  4. lsherack

    lsherack New Egg

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    Sep 25, 2008
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    does each chicken need a laying box or how many boxes per chickens?
     
  5. mrandmrschicken

    mrandmrschicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This brings to mind a good question. How high is too high for a nest box? Our bantam Sebright hen has a nest box that is about 5 feet off the ground. I built a box and attached it to a 4x4 post. She usually uses the box to sleep in, sometimes not. She is almost 6 months old. I am really trying to encourage her first egg. Is this too high for her? During the day, she "babysits" our month and a half old bantam chicks even though they are in their own cage, 16 of them, always sitting on top of their large cage, watching them. She will go outside and roll around in the dirt for awhile on warm sunny days, and beg for treats. I let the chicks out of the pen almost every day to peck and scratch and Mrs. Chicken leaves them alone. She does not like them in her space however! Is being around the chicks good for her? She does not mother them, and she will wallop them if they stray into her space. Too much pressure?
     
  6. HuestisFarm

    HuestisFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 23, 2008
    Fly Creek, NY
    I think five feet off the ground is a bit much - especially for a bantam. I would think 2 feet would be sufficient. You can even go as low as 6 inches from the ground.

    Mine are about 3 feet.


    And I have a nesting box per every 5 birds just to make sure I have enough. And I've got a couple larger boxes - as some hens, I've noticed, like to be near another hen when laying.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2008
  7. MamaDragon

    MamaDragon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    "the young chickens still make a nest in the corner where they roost and lay their eggs there. I then have to get a rake and pull the eggs across the litter I have down for them that also has chook poo on it."

    A couple of ideas for you.....

    move one of your nesting boxes to the corner, on the floor, where they keep building a nest. They obviously like that corner. Most chickens want to be in a quiet, dark corner to lay. You may also have one going broody, my broody hen did the same thing this summer when she decided to set a clutch.

    If they start using That Nest.... let it be for a week, then GRADUALLY start to move it to where YOU want them to lay. move it 6 inches or so at a time, along the ground until it's under the position you want to hang it, then start raising it up on bricks, boards, etc... until it's the height you want.

    re-position your roost temporarily so that they are not pooping onto the nest.

    as for the height of your laying boxes... make sure that the hen's head in the box is lower than the bottom of your roosts, and that you have the ramp at a shallow enough angle that the hens can easily go up AND down again without any difficulties. If they have to fly up to the nest.... I wouldn't raise it over waist-high, especially for bantams.

    (I've heard about hens "tag-teaming" a clutch.... several laying AND setting the same clutch of eggs)

    Good Luck!
    Kathy
     
  8. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:The rule of thumb is 1 nest box for every four hens. I have my nest boxes low, about 20 inches off the ground and my roosts just a little bit higher, but I have brahmas and they are heavy birds. I don't want them injured jumping down.
     
  9. lsherack

    lsherack New Egg

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    Sep 25, 2008
    Sydney Australia
    Maybe my roosting area isn't quite right? We are using a very large bird aviary for our hen house. It worked perfect for my old chickens and the 2 bantams I still have. The aviary is about 10 ft long by 7 ft wide and 8 ft high. It has 3 sections. In the front section is were the chickens water and food are, it's a dirt floor now but once was grass. There are a couple little tree's in the corner, that get just enough water when it rains from the sides of the pen Also in the front corner is another little room and this is where I keep thier feed, meds etc. In the back section which I can close off with a sliding door if I wanted to is the length of the whole pen and about 3 ft wide. The section where they roost is cut off with a half wall from the rest of the pen and is about 3 1/3 ft by 3ft in size and solid walls not wire like the front and sides.
    I have 4 rungs hung at various heights and two nesting boxes up against the half wall on bricks, maybe the laying boxes aren't high enough for these new chickens, the old chickens I had, never had a problem using them. They all get up on the perches happily and roost even the bantams. Does this make sense? From the side door of the pen around the back they have a HUGE area that is fenced in amoungst the tree's on the back of our block. they would have about 1/8 acre or so to forage around in. Some shade and some sun. This is for 6 layers and 2 batams.
     

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