how to make nesting boxes more attractive

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chickenbythesea, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. chickenbythesea

    chickenbythesea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ok, so my hubby made our coop with nesting boxes that you can get at from the outside. We've done golf balls to entice them in. They HATE the golf balls.. wouldn't lay in there, threw them out etc. So we left a few of their eggs in there hoping that, that would work. I was so excited one morning to find 1 of our 9 laid an egg in the nesting boxes. Today, I went out and the "dummy" eggs were pushed out of the nesting boxes and on the floor of the coop. That's where they constantly make nests and lay their eggs. I guess I can keep sticking my head in the pop door and retrieve the eggs, but it would be so nice not to have to... that and hubby did build me very nice nesting boxes. SO, I would appreciate any advice on how to entice these silly birds into their nesting boxes. Thanks [​IMG]
     
  2. georgiagail

    georgiagail Chillin' With My Peeps

    I suspect you can't entice them anywhere.

    Our "big girl" coop has four nestboxes. All seven hens use one.

    Our bantam coop has three nestboxes. Six hens use just one. Sometimes when I remove their eggs they try to get sneaky and build a nest under the pop door (which opens downward) and will lay eggs there.

    Gail
     
  3. pics and dimensions of the nest box openings please. [​IMG]
     
  4. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    What do you use for the nesting materials? I use wood shavings in mine, and they seem to like that. I use straw everywhere else.....Maybe try a new nesting material.......

    Is it cold where you are? Maybe the nest boxes are a little bit chilly? I'm just guessing here!

    Happy Holidays,

    Sharon
     
  5. chickenbythesea

    chickenbythesea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    the boxes are just over 1 foot square... they can fit in them just fine as they're able to kick out the eggs and golf balls. We use pine shavings for bedding. The boxes are on the south side, so if anything they should be warmer then the rest of the coop... plus there's trees for windbreak and shelter. They just seem to love building a nest in the one corner of the coop... they all lay all their eggs there. I guess I shouldn't fight it and just resign myself to the fact that they'll never use the boxes.
     
  6. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One thing I noticed is you said the fake egg was out of the nest and on the floor. How high off the floor is your nest? I've noticed these hen I have really like a nest to be sorta on their level. They all seem to like just walking in as opposed to flying up to get to the nest. I have an old dog house I put some straw in to make a nice bed and now all the chickens want to lay in there and completely ignore the nest boxes. It might have something to do with one of the hens settin in one of the nest boxes. She should have 8 more days and she's going in the dog house whether they like it or not.

    But nest material and distance of the nest off the floor is about all I can think of.

    Yeah, and a picture would be nice, too.[​IMG]
     
  7. stoopid

    stoopid Chicken Fairy Godmother

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    I find I have to make all the nest boxes a little different from each other.
    One a little smaller, one larger, One girl likes pine chips, another prefers hay.
    Another kicks out everything, and lays on the bare wood.
    Some have curtains for privacy.
    Try a little of everything to see what works best.
    I even have some girls that prefer flower pots.
     
  8. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Why not try putting some straw in the nesting boxes then, since you use pine shavings normally.....Sometimes chickens really like a new type of bedding and they might just lay eggs in there.....

    Sharon
     
  9. DazeGoneBy

    DazeGoneBy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've heard chickens like a bit of privacy, so if you put a 3-in. board along the bottom edge, when they squat down, they'll have mostly just their head up above the board. This might get them in, and would also prevent tehm from kicking eggs out (fake or not!)

    I read about that "privacy" trick on these forums. Some even put a nest box cover that has just a hole cut out big enough for them to get through. Maybe that is for a broody hen, though? [​IMG]
     
  10. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    My thought, with the information provided, is that the "lip" is too small. My hens step down about 4" into the nest box. There is about an inch of shavings in the bottom. I don't think they could kick the golfballs out if they wanted to! I have put burlap curtains over the entrances and they seem to like that. Check out the pics on our sister site here: http://www.theeasygarden.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=32411&p=4
     

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