I freaked out my chickens tonight. :(

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by PhatChicks, Aug 15, 2014.

  1. PhatChicks

    PhatChicks In the Brooder

    Apr 25, 2014
    Earlier this evening I put a basket in their coop with some golf balls and fluff as a make-shift nesting box. I have 7 chickies about 5 months old and a couple of them have been squatting and spreading their wings when I go to pet them. After reading on here that that is a sign they are ready to start laying, I thought putting a basket in the coop might be a good idea in case they wanted to try it out. It was out there a few hours before bedtime. Once they started to put themselves to bed, I could tell they were nervous of it being in there.

    A couple chickies went in the coop but the others were very hesitant. Then they started making strong clucking noises and actually LOUD clucks! They kept doing that back and forth, then one chickie came back out of the coop. I decided to take the basket out and they all went in but they had a heck of a time getting settled on the roosts. As I closed/locked the door, I could still hear squwaking and flapping their wings.

    What's a good way to introduce a nesting box for them? I seriously think I freaked them out tonight. I thought having it in the coop for a couple of hours would help them get used to it.

    :( Thanks for any advice!
  2. lightchick

    lightchick Crowing

    Apr 3, 2014
    I'd leave it and maybe put treats beside it to make it not look so scary. They'll get used to it.
    1 person likes this.
  3. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Here's the thing about nest boxes and laying. Nest boxes need to be a permanent fixture in the coop and they need to be a place where hens feel secure and safe from the rest of the flock's constant activity. Private space.

    Also, pullets need time prior to onset of laying to explore the nest boxes, several weeks at least, to feel them out and get familiar with them. It's a lot like "playing house", and when the time comes for a pullet to lay her first egg, she will know exactly which box she will do it in.

    Sticking a basket in the middle of the coop isn't going to cut it, I'm afraid. There's nothing wrong with using a basket for a nest box, just about any sort of roomy container will do. But it needs to meet the criteria of private space.
  4. PhatChicks

    PhatChicks In the Brooder

    Apr 25, 2014
    Of course, I didn't think that by just sticking a nesting box in the coop would make them start laying. I wanted them to see it and start to get used to it, that's why I put it in there yesterday and of course, start getting in and out of it over the next few days/weeks or how ever long it will take them.

    I know know they need private space for egg laying so I partially covered it with a curtain and put it in the corner. I am only able to work on my coop on the weekends so don't have everything set up completely which is why I'm still missing the nesting boxes. I'm sure I need to move the roosts around to make a better spot for the boxes as you suggested.

    Thank you for the advice!
  5. krista74

    krista74 Songster

    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    Chickens are super-curious, and whilst they might be nervous about a new addition to their coop, by morning time they will all be lining up to have a look at that weird thing in the corner!

    I'd pop it back into the coop early in the day, and let the chips fall where they may. They will get over it, I promise!

    They are very much creatures of habit and any new change will cause chaos. I know when I adjusted my roosts there was a lot of talk and flapping going on, but they still used them. I think they like to let us know that "We know what you've done!"

    It's OK- they will adapt to the nests being there. I regularly freak out my chickens with new food, new entertainment, & additions to their coop [​IMG]

    - Krista
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014
    2 people like this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: