How to teach a hen to use a nestbox?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by AliciaM, Jul 5, 2010.

  1. AliciaM

    AliciaM Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2010
    Yelm Washington
    Weve got 3 hens that lay there eggs on the floor of the coop or outside in the dirt.. Weve had one of them only about a week and the others a couple of days.. Im pretty sure that the reason for the first one doing it is because that is what she is used to.. When we got her, there were only a couple of nest boxes and a hole dug in the ground with lots of eggs in it..
    As for the others, Im not sure what kind of environment they lived it..

    All 3 are big healthy young birds.. about a year old. 2 of them are jersey giants and the other is a black copper marans.

    The nest boxes we have arent up all that high.. They were built so that a 4 yr old girl can see into them and collect eggs... so maybe 3 feet off the ground... The rest of the chickens use them all the time..

    So... how can I teach these 3 to use the nest box? Should I put a couple boxes on the floor with bedding?

    Thanks for any suggestions..
  2. Hippie Chicks Mom

    Hippie Chicks Mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2010
    Near Old Forge NY
    We too got our girls as adults. They lived in a big coop with 160 other chickens. I'm sure it was every girl for herself! They have nesting boxes here, but prefer a loose bail of hay!!! I use it for bedding and they decided it was great to just fluff a hole in the loose hay and lay there![​IMG] So, I just let them do what makes them happy. They may in time change where they lay. Offer boxes etc and let them do their thing! Good Luck
  3. blueseal

    blueseal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2008
    i get eggs layed on the dropping boards time to time also. broke of course.
  4. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    You can keep raking up any casual nests, or block off the area so they're difficult for the hens to get to, (or more difficult at least) but if you do any of those things, they may look for even more difficult spots to nest in where you can't find them to ruin their spots which would make your life difficult too...

    I'd leave the nests where they are, gathering eggs religiously from them, but also put a golf ball or two in each nest to encourage them to lay there instead of the floor nests or hay bales. I use real golf balls, NOT the plastic eggs or ping pong type balls... they're heavier and the hens seem more convinced they should set on them. You can also get wooden eggs or marble eggs from web-stores or from some feed stores, but golf balls seem fine.
  5. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Are your nest boxes big enough for the Jersey Giants? Maybe they need a bigger box with a ramp.
  6. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:VERY good point emys!!! Larger birds aren't all that willing to get up too high!
  7. AliciaM

    AliciaM Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2010
    Yelm Washington
    Thanks for the advice... The boxes are plenty big enough for the jersey giants..but I think i am going to have to put up a ramp... I was wondering if they were a bit big to be hopping up to the nests like the rest of them......

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by