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Nest boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by crooked stripe, Jun 22, 2008.

  1. crooked stripe

    crooked stripe Chillin' With My Peeps

    846
    3
    161
    Jan 14, 2008
    N.E Ohio- Suffield
    Is there something in a hen that makes her want to go into the nest box to lay. I have 7 hens and 3 nest boxes. I placed a golf ball in each nest box which was recommended here at BYC. The hens are now 19 weeks old and show no sign of being in the boxes. No feathers, poo and the bedding stays as neat as if I just placed it there, never dirty. I am wandering if they will show interest when the time comes. John
     
  2. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps AutumnBreezeChickens.com

    How far off the ground do you have your nesting boxes and what size are they?
     
  3. @migocontodos~

    @migocontodos~ Chillin' With My Peeps

    John,
    Depending upon the breed and nature, those will be the two contributing factors to nest box activity. However, at 19 weeks old it's time for them to show some interest.
    If free ranging, chickens will choose the best location that gives them the best sense of security. IF cooped, they will MOST OF THE TIME lay were the human provices them nest and it doesn't matter if the nest in laying flat on the ground or nailed to the roof of the building. However, some chickens seem to find the best laying location to be the back of the coop in one of the dark corners.
    My nest boxes are set up for comfort (I think) for the hens. All my nest are mounted to the east side of the wall. This keeps the morning sun from shining in them and it helps keep them darker for the hens, becaus a lot of hens lay before noon they seem to enjoy these nest more. I've had nest on the western walls but they are so very seldom used.
    Chickens by nature like to investigate and roost and perch higher up. So, I have ramps leading to and from all nest boxes as well as walking planks in front of them to allow the pullets and hens easy access. My standard hens are the ones who use the walking ramps the most. Where as my lighter weight bantams just fly right up. I have my nest 3' and 4' off the ground. This way I can bend slightly to see what is in them and not reach into a high placed nest and grab a snake (it's not a good feeling)
    Put a nice bedding of straw or hay in them and allow just a few pieces to hang over the side. That will catch their eye and cause them to have to investigate. Be prepared to put in more because after finding them, they will go in, and arrange them as they please and for the first timers all they are doing is scratching and pushing the straw out all ove rthe ground. After they begin to lay they will keep a nice comfortable nest that will be near perfect for laying in.
    It's hard waiting for the "golden egg" but give them time...it'll come!
    Todd
     
  4. cajunlizz

    cajunlizz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2008
    Lafayette, Louisiana
    @migocontodos~ :

    John,
    Depending upon the breed and nature, those will be the two contributing factors to nest box activity. However, at 19 weeks old it's time for them to show some interest.
    If free ranging, chickens will choose the best location that gives them the best sense of security. IF cooped, they will MOST OF THE TIME lay were the human provices them nest and it doesn't matter if the nest in laying flat on the ground or nailed to the roof of the building. However, some chickens seem to find the best laying location to be the back of the coop in one of the dark corners.
    My nest boxes are set up for comfort (I think) for the hens. All my nest are mounted to the east side of the wall. This keeps the morning sun from shining in them and it helps keep them darker for the hens, becaus a lot of hens lay before noon they seem to enjoy these nest more. I've had nest on the western walls but they are so very seldom used.
    Chickens by nature like to investigate and roost and perch higher up. So, I have ramps leading to and from all nest boxes as well as walking planks in front of them to allow the pullets and hens easy access. My standard hens are the ones who use the walking ramps the most. Where as my lighter weight bantams just fly right up. I have my nest 3' and 4' off the ground. This way I can bend slightly to see what is in them and not reach into a high placed nest and grab a snake (it's not a good feeling)
    Put a nice bedding of straw or hay in them and allow just a few pieces to hang over the side. That will catch their eye and cause them to have to investigate. Be prepared to put in more because after finding them, they will go in, and arrange them as they please and for the first timers all they are doing is scratching and pushing the straw out all ove rthe ground. After they begin to lay they will keep a nice comfortable nest that will be near perfect for laying in.
    It's hard waiting for the "golden egg" but give them time...it'll come!
    Todd

    OK . any signs of when hens are approaching time to start laying for the 1st. time ?
    I have 3 hens that are not laying yet . I am assuming they are 4 months old , MAYBE close to 5 months . NOT sure . Hubby came home with 6 Rhode Island Reds . 3 ALREADY were laying and we assumed the other 3 would not be far behind . nothing YET ?
    We know our 29 teens will be awhile before they lay . They are about 13 weeks old , combinations of RIR's , Black Austrolorps , and Rocks .

    Actually question is for the 3 RIR's .................... WHAT SIGNS IF ANY before they lay ?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2008
  5. PineyRidge

    PineyRidge Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2008
    SPOTSYLVANIA,VA
    I just got my 12 hens on Friday. They are about 19 to 20 weeks old. They have'nt looked at the nest boxes either. I put golf balls in them and draped dark plastic down half way from the top of the boxes. I know it will take time. They are trying to get used to where they live now.
    I think my biggest problem is that I go out and watch them to much and I need to let them get used to where they are.
    Some of them were using the nest box rail as a roost the first two nights but last night most of them roosted on the three tier roost. The anticipation is killing me until the first egg siteing.[​IMG]
    I had some wooden craft eggs and painted them this morning. I will put them in instead of the golf balls later today. Maybe that will spark their interest.[​IMG]
    Todd it's nice to see a fellow Virginian here.
     
  6. cajunlizz

    cajunlizz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2008
    Lafayette, Louisiana
    Quote:We moved our flock late yesterday evening in their new coop and run.

    We have 4 that are already laying and waiting patiently for the other 3 to start anytime . I [b]wish I knew if there are signs of them approaching the laying time or cycle . [/b]
    As for the other 29 teens , they are only about 13 - 14 weeks old , will be a while yet . BUT We are assuming the 3 we are waiting on are about 4 - 5 months old .

    As for nest boxes , I lined one side of the coop with the nesting boxes ( they will be attached to wall about 18" from the floor) . BUT I did find 1 egg early this morning and that was very surprising , because they been laying between noonish and 5:00 PM .

    The roost is attached to the opposite side of the coop , SO NO POOPING in the nest boxes ...... LOL

    MAYBE their way of showing us they like their NEW HOME ?
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2008
  7. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Even the high production breeds generally don't lay until AT LEAST 19 wks, and a lot of your backyard breeds don't lay until more like 22-24 wks.

    Be patient....it will happen!!
     
  8. cajunlizz

    cajunlizz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2008
    Lafayette, Louisiana
    Quote:Oh I know , but I know as we are all in the same boat when it comes this close to them starting to lay . Like I said these hens are about 4 - 5 months old .


    Do you know of any signs from the chickens before the BIG EVENT ? LOL LOL do they begin crowing or WHAT ? Making nest ?
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2008
  9. crooked stripe

    crooked stripe Chillin' With My Peeps

    846
    3
    161
    Jan 14, 2008
    N.E Ohio- Suffield
    I took the information from the VA poultry website on building a coop. Nest boxes 13x13x12 deep if I remember 18" off the floor with a roost in front of the nest boxes. The roost they sleep on is 4 1/2 feet off the floor. I too have my nest boxes on the east wall but have a window in the south wall. As soon as first light hits they are out of the coop - run roaming and eating. I hope they go back to the coop to lay. Should I lock them in till a certain time?John
     
  10. cajunlizz

    cajunlizz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2008
    Lafayette, Louisiana
    Quote:NOPE . ... Cut them a small WALK thru door , with a ladder for them to walk up and climb back into the coop . they need to learn to go back in there and LAY and back out .


    ALSO , I read where you never but your roost close to the nest boxes , because they POOP alot while roosting , and gets ALL over the nesting boxes . SO , our nesting boxes are on opposite wall from the roost area.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2008

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