Nest boxes with golf balls that disappear!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Phyrst, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. Phyrst

    Phyrst Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not sure this is the right place to post this but my problem seems to touch on this!
    My hens should be laying eggs by the end of the month or so. I have a couple of roosters who are trying (and seem successful) at breeding these hens. I figure eggs should start pretty soon. From the start the hens seem reluctant to go in the nest boxes. They'll lay all over the floor or even on the spare straw bale underneath the nest boxes. The straw bale fits pretty close in so it doesn't give the hens much room to maneuver. I heard that putting golf balls in the nest box will sometimes help encourage a hen to lay or at least sit in the nest box. So I put a few golf balls in each box. Here's the weird thing. Some of the golf balls have disappeared! I've cleaned out the entire coop, several times, thinking somehow the golf balls are getting kicked, scratched or bumped out. But there's no sign of them. My first fear was rats but we've set traps and nothing gets caught. I don't feed inside my coop so there is no food or spillage. If it was warm weather, I might consider snakes but it's pretty cold here right now - low 30's at night. I've caught a few hens moving around in the nest boxes but not really laying down yet. Can't say they are doing normal hen behavior because they still seem to go to a corner or just flatten out a place on the floor. There are 5 nest boxes in a row with a little 2" wood piece they sort of have to step on or over to get into the nest box. The 2" front of the nest box was just built that way to help keep the eggs or chicks from falling right out. A perch stick runs the length of all the nest boxes so they can step in and out easily. No signs, chewing, tunnels that could be rats, no poop or anything to make me think we have rats inside the coop. We did have problems with mice for awhile but haven't even seen them now for days. I don't see how a mouse could move or eat a golf ball! My chickens are all bantams, not that big so surely they're not eating the golf balls! Any ideas?
     
  2. Rustywreck

    Rustywreck Chillin' With My Peeps

    a lost golf ball is a stroke plus distance penalty.
    That is really puzzling. They must be hid somewhere - I can't see any way a chicken could eat a golf ball. I suppose a mouse could have eaten the coating off of the ball, but then there would be either ball of rubber bands or a solid rubber core left.
    Good luck with this riddle.
     
  3. TurtlePowerTrav

    TurtlePowerTrav T.K.'s Farm

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    My Coop
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Have you taken all the nest material out of the nest. I have fake eggs in mine and found one under/into the nest material. I looked all over the coop. Found it a couple of weeks later when I replaced the material.
     
  4. Phyrst

    Phyrst Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just switched material in all the nest boxes from straw to pine shavings. That was recommended by someone else here on the site. I used pine shavings when the chicks were little and first hatched so I thought they might like it and go for it. No golf balls in there - it's pretty easy to search the nest box now. I keep wondering if a different critter is getting those golf balls, something I'm not thinking of or would look for. It remains a mystery and I won't put any more golf balls in unless I can figure out what happened to these!
     
  5. Razadia

    Razadia The Odd One

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    I've had the same thing happen in my coop and I've found 2 of them in the very back of my yard. One in a hole dug by an armadillo and at the very back of the property laying on the ground. My chickens don't free range, so my bet was that the chickens kicked them out of the coop and then the pen following that. I suppose said annoying creature found them after that. My hens don't like the golf balls being in the next boxes so they kick them out. I gave up on them after that. [​IMG]
     
  6. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Interesting--I keep straw in my nest boxes and shavings on the floor. Straw definitely keeps eggs cleaner, and my chickens prefer it for nest material. You might also want to post pics of your nest boxes. Someone else did that recently, and got suggestions about height, etc. that seemed to really help. The first day after she changed the nesting height she had eggs in the boxes.

    I have no clue about your golf balls! I think someone's messing with you. Do you have a significant other or teenage children?
     
  7. Phyrst

    Phyrst Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ha! I think Razadia is probably right. Golf balls got kicked out and I just haven't found them. I've noticed lately that nest boxes now have a bit of straw in each one, I think the chickens are kicking straw down from overhead. Perhaps they do prefer straw over pine bedding! I've read posts from members that have tried both the pine bedding and straw so I thought it was worth a try to mix it up a bit! Still no eggs but I may be counting early. I have 8 hens and 5 nest boxes. No pics of the nest boxes. With the cold weather and less sunlight, it seems to be normal if hens don't lay. I'm just so anxious - and wanted my own fresh eggs for Thanksgiving! Can't wish a hen into laying...!!
     
  8. Ruth10

    Ruth10 Out Of The Brooder

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    I too am using golf balls in my nest boxes to encourage the chickens to lay there. They keep throwing the golf balls out of the nest and the coop itself. I am finding them in the run under the coop. Apparently they don't like them. Not sure what else to make of this. The chickens aren't laying yet, but hopefully soon.
     
  9. JayRodNU

    JayRodNU Out Of The Brooder

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    I have the same thing happening only with two wooden eggs. I have searched everywhere and have no clue what happened to those eggs! It's maddening!
     

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