Laying Boxes

Holself

In the Brooder
Oct 9, 2018
2
14
18
Hello everyone I imagine this is somewhere in this site but I didn’t find... I have tried large round feeders, plastic dish pans, plastic milk crates and even a small wooden bunny box and my hens (4) will not lay in any! I’ve moved things around to where they often lay but then they lay beside it. They make a little “nest” circle and more than ones lays. I’ve used fake eggs and find them outside the nesting box and still don’t use. I place clean straw in the box every couple days because someone always poops in it! Any ideas?? Thank you
 

EggWalrus

Free Ranging
Aug 14, 2017
2,104
5,156
567
Southeast Alabama
What kind of material are they making nests in and laying in now? If they are used to straw or shavings, and you're using hay in the nest, that may be why they won't use it. :idunno
It may also help to make it darker in whatever box you use for an egg nest. Try turning a milk crate on its side, add some straw, then cover the whole thing with an old towel but leave them a narrow gap that they can get in through.
Most girls like some privacy when they are doing their thing! :old
 

gtaus

Crowing
Mar 29, 2019
1,791
5,847
387
Northern Minnesota
My Coop
My Coop
Welcome to the BYC forums :welcome

I had great success with...

1. Ensuring all hens were sleeping on the high roost bar at night before I ever put nesting boxes in the coop.

2. Building the nest boxes off the coop floor about 12 inches, but well below the height of the main roost bar which is at 4 feet high.

3. Adding 2 fake eggs in each nest box so the young hens get the idea that this is a good place to lay her eggs.

I use plastic dish bins with pine shavings for my nest boxes. They are easy to clean and/or replace. All my chickens sleep on the roost bar at night, so I don't have any hens sleeping in the nest box and messing in it at night. I have 3 nest boxes for 10 chickens, and contrary to many people's experience, my hens lay in each of the 3 boxes more or less equally.
 

EggWalrus

Free Ranging
Aug 14, 2017
2,104
5,156
567
Southeast Alabama
Hello everyone I imagine this is somewhere in this site but I didn’t find... I have tried large round feeders, plastic dish pans, plastic milk crates and even a small wooden bunny box and my hens (4) will not lay in any! I’ve moved things around to where they often lay but then they lay beside it. They make a little “nest” circle and more than ones lays. I’ve used fake eggs and find them outside the nesting box and still don’t use. I place clean straw in the box every couple days because someone always poops in it! Any ideas?? Thank you
Your roosting bars need to be higher than the nests, they naturally will want to roost high as they can get. If the nests are the highest, they will sleep and poo there. And since they don't want to lay where they poo, they won't lay in their nests.
But they could just need more training if they are really young.
 

rosemarythyme

Free Ranging
Jul 3, 2016
7,244
14,162
642
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
First off, how big were the nest boxes that you've tried? Exact measurements would help.

Other than straw have you tried any other substrates? They may not like the straw for some reason. I use wood shavings.

Are your chickens sleeping properly on their roosts at night or are there birds sleeping in the boxes, and that's why you're finding poop? Two obvious fixes to birds sleeping in the boxes is 1) elevate the roosts so they're higher than nest boxes and 2) block off nest boxes at night so they can't sleep in them.

Photos of some of your nest boxes plus your coop might help.
 
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