is there anyway to get the hens to use another nest box?????????

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by okdfarms, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. okdfarms

    okdfarms In the Brooder

    Oct 4, 2010
    i am at my wits end. i have 30 hens in a 10 x 40 foot house. they also have a half acre of yard to peck around in. i have 7 nest boxes spread out over the barn for them. their boxes consist of a 20 gal rubbermaid, perch in the front, under their poop table/roost.

    they ALL lay in one box. i have tried changing the location, shape, bedding........ even removed their favorite box. of course you can appreciate that i have more broken eggs than good ones. anyone have a suggestion as to get these hens to use another box?? thanks

  2. Jloeffler

    Jloeffler Songster

    Jul 22, 2011
    Northeast NC
    When my hens were doing that, though not quite on that scale since I have far fewer hens than you [​IMG] , I put fake eggs in the other nests and they went right to them. I've heard some people say they use golf balls and those work too, I just happened to have some fake eggs - leftovers from Easter. Good luck and I hope it works for you!
  3. jeepguy982001

    jeepguy982001 Songster

    Oct 4, 2011
    athens, wv
    idk but i have used golfballs to get my hens to lay in the nest. I got mine at walmart they came in a bag they where with the golf stuff but there made of plastic and look just like a golfball just lighter a bag of about 12 costs me like 1.99
  4. LizaBlue

    LizaBlue Songster

    Oct 26, 2010
    Wee Acres
    I don't have anywhere near that many chickens, only 7 hens on 2 acres, 12X16 coop, 6 inside nest boxes, 3 outside that rarely got used this summer. The inside nest boxes are 3 over 3 wood cubes, and they all seemed to want the bottom middle or end, which the turkeys show a little too much interest in for my taste. Since this is our first year and these are pullets, we had started out with 3 fake eggs together in the bottom middle to train them, then moved one each into the bottom 3. I recently moved the fake eggs to the top (after they had been laying for about 7 weeks) and the hens followed the fake eggs. Now I just toss the eggs anywhere as I fluff the nests, and they are never alone when I collect eggs.

    Maybe the "nest egg" idea would be helpful for you, I've seen wooden eggs on Amazon at decent prices. The only other things I can think of would be totally pricey and require a complete overhaul of your set-up: trap-nests so only one hen could use nest, or boxes with a tilt bottom so the egg rolls out to a collection area.

    good luck!

  5. okdfarms

    okdfarms In the Brooder

    Oct 4, 2010
    well, off to walmart tomorrow i will go. i will give the fake eggs a try. thanks to all responders.
  6. blondiebee181

    blondiebee181 Songster

    Mar 21, 2012
    Boise, ID
    I think I will try the fake egg thing too...I have a slightly different issue though...on Thursday this past week, I brought home a Silver Laced Wyandotte from an old family friend of ours that used to have 2 hens and then the other died and thought "Silver" would be happier with some companions. I currently have four 3 1/2 month old pullets that haven't started laying yet. Silver is about 5 years and is still laying so I uncovered the nesting boxes that are located at the back of my coop. I wasn't expecting an egg on the first day or even the second. This evening, Silver started getting a little fussy and pacing around the yard, I wasn't sure what to do. Finally it was getting close to coop time so I put all the girls in the run and stood watching Silver for a few moments. She walked over to the waterer and started drinking a lot, and 30 seconds later, she straightens up, puffs out her feathers and out pops an egg. We were all very pleased of course, but I also concluded that maybe she was looking for her old nesting box to lay in, and that's why she was acting more stressed. Will placing golf balls in my boxes encourage her to lay there? should I place her in the box a couple of times to let her know it's there?
  7. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Blondiebee, chickens really are creatures of habit. They also like to lay eggs where they believe it's safe, which is why the fake eggs or golf balls work so well. "Oh, somebody else laid there? It must be safe, then!" With no other layers right now, I'm sure a golf ball would help encourage your new hen to lay in the nest box(es).

    For the OP, other folks find "communal" nest boxes useful. Like a big wide drawer, no separators in the box. That way they can all lay together and have sufficient room for more than one hen at a time.

    I did invest in a "roll away" nest box system (for some of the nests) and the chickens use 'em just fine. The eggs roll away to a collection tray directly in front of the nest and below the perches at the front of the nests. Nobody steps on the eggs and they stay very clean. .

  8. blondiebee181

    blondiebee181 Songster

    Mar 21, 2012
    Boise, ID
    Thanks gryeyes, Silver layed her second egg on Monday in the box! Woohoo!!
  9. crchickens

    crchickens Chirping

    Jul 9, 2011
    Blue Ridge, TX
    well, my older rescued girls are using the nest boxes, without issue, but my pullets are starting to lay, and they are doing it on the floor of the coop. I have golf balls in there, and they older girls are setting an example, so what can I do to get the youngsters to lay in the boxes?

  10. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member 7 Years

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Usually the pullets will eventually start to use the nest boxes after awhile especially if you just leave a golf ball in each box. I have some extremely low pecking order chickens who will occasionally still lay in the floor, or some who want their fave nest box and can't wait.

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