Laying Eggs Without Boxes?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by UrbanScratch, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. UrbanScratch

    UrbanScratch Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 25, 2012
    So i broke a cardinal rule and have no true laying boxes in my hen house. I have 4 roosting rungs and a large floor area that is thick with straw. The girls seem to always lay the eggs in the straw. If i were to build laying boxes in the house would they start laying in them? Or is it too late? Would 4 boxes be enough for 11 hens? My chickens are spoiled, but i feel bad about not providing laying boxes.

    A side question: Would the lack of boxes lead to a lack of eggs? Or will a chicken lay as long as it has somewhere "safe" to lay.

    Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    SW Arkansas
    Having nestboxes would make life easier for you and more comfortable for the hens. They like privacy. I use covered kitty litter pans as nestboxes in my chicken coops. Tried everything else, but I have LF brahmas and they need the larger boxes.

    Four would be enough, but you'll find they prefer to mostly use the same box. You can try seeding the boxes with fake eggs to give them the idea. I use golf balls as fake eggs; chickens aren't that bright and can't tell the difference.

    Does lack of boxes keep them from laying? No. When an egg has to come out, it has to come out. Lack of boxes can lead to a higher risk of broken eggs though and all it takes is a few broken eggs for chickens to discover how wonderful they taste and create a bunch of egg eaters. Egg eating is a difficult, sometimes impossible, habit to break.

    ETA: Be sure your nestboxes are lower than your roosts. Chickens like to go as high as possible to roost. If your nestboxes are higher than your roosts, guess where they're going to roost.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  3. UrbanScratch

    UrbanScratch Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 25, 2012
    Thanks gritsar,

    Two boxes would be easy to build in the area that i have. So i may just build two and see how they do and add more later as needed.

    That's funny about the golf balls. I will give that a try.

    I know first hand about the chickens eating eggs. My one older hen has now stopped laying, but her last two eggs were soft shelled. As soon as i removed it from the hen house and set it down to be eaten by the local cats, my hens gobbled it up in a blink of an eye. They do not mess with the hard eggs as of now.

    Laying boxes it is! Thanks.
     

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