How will my girls know to use nesting boxes?!

Cooley gypsum

In the Brooder
Mar 30, 2016
Is there something we can do to make sure the girls know to use the nesting boxes? We have 6 hens, no roosters. We put a perch in front of the nesting boxes so they could see in there and thinking they'd be able to get into them easier. Should we put a ramp in? How on earth do they know that's where we want them to lay eggs? We put a fake egg in each box too?! Are chickens really that smart? There 16 weeks old now, so we hope soon they'll start laying! Any thoughts/advice appreciated!


8 Years
Jul 17, 2011
North Central Kansas
Welcome to BYC! Happy you joined us. If your birds are cooped (not free ranging) they seem to naturally seek out a dark and covered space like a nest box. Some people place fake "eggs" such as golf balls or the like in the nest boxes to show them the place to lay. Should do the trick. Once they start laying in the boxes they return, even if they free range. This and more info on egg laying behavior can be found here
Good luck to you!:weee


Flock Master
8 Years
Jan 10, 2013
so glad you have joined us.

@redsoxs has given you the answer.

But some will be floor layers at first and usually will eventually move to the nests. You may also find the first eggs to be a surprise not only to you but the one who lays
. My gals have laid a first egg by the water fount and one laid walking down the chicken ramp from the coop
. The first in my small flock to lay was a floor layer - in the coop near the nests, but she did start to use the nests after about 6 months. The addition of curtains over the nests did make a difference.

Good luck with your flock and wishing you many wonderful eggs to come.

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