nesting box drama, the struggle is real!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by calamarie, Nov 10, 2016.

  1. calamarie

    calamarie Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2015
    Oh my hens are driving me bonkers!! We remodeled and expanded the coop because the design of the external nesting boxes was not working, with rain and snow around here when you lift the hatch all the water would dump in the nesting boxes making it gross,and eventually growing mold.

    New design is great I think, and much better for space and what not, but had this great idea (thanks pinterest.... [​IMG] ) to use Rubbermaid totes with lids and stack them 3 on 3 to have 6 nesting boxes. I cut holes in them and then a hand hole in the back so i can open a little window door on the outside of my coop and get eggs..... NOT working.... at first the girls were going crazy during the remodel to find a good spot to lay and as soon as I got 1 tote in I had 2 hens in one box literally sitting on top of each other laying eggs. So I get the other boxes in and it's been a total mess ever since, they slide all over the place trying to get the straw just right and have tossed all the straw out of the boxes every day, lay eggs on the floor in front of the box, flip them over, and the list goes on. I don't want to keep messing with them to try and make it just right but at a loss....Now I also have broken eggs, eaten eggs almost each day, I am not sure if they are getting broke then eaten or if i have an egg eater but I know something is up because my eggs have mysterious yolk on them but nothing left over on the bedding or box.....Here I was so excited for the remodel, but it was working so much better with my wet regular nesting boxes. I have been able to get them to use only 2 of the tubs....what to do?! Wondering about just a boxed in area that doesn't have specific nesting boxes separated out but a deep straw bed and let them make their own nests... worried about more eaten and broken eggs though. [​IMG]
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Are the totes clear? (I recommend a dark color) How high are the entry holes in the front for the chickens to go in? Do they have roosts or platforms in front of each opening for the bird to land on before stepping into the box? If the totes rock or slip at all, you may need to screw them to a secure wood post or some such thing to keep them from moving at all. Perhaps line the bottoms with cardboard. Be sure there is a nice deep layer of straw. It has to be deep enough that the birds don't bottom out. Cardboard will help with that. Birds like a secure dark place to lay their eggs. You may find that the totes are too warm, especially in the summer.
     
  3. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    [​IMG]The only thing I wanted to add to above posting is ... How many hens do you have. 6 nesting boxes is enough for 20+ chickens.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Good Q's.
    Pics would help.
     
  5. calamarie

    calamarie Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2015
    thanks for the reply's :). Totes are teal color, so they are pretty dark, I'll post some pics soon. They are currently sitting on the floor of the coop with a board in front to keep the straw in which seems to help a little, I also turned them upside down so the wide part is down now to give more room, I took out the top row because they didn't use them at all and have decided to lay in 1 box only :-( , but are laying so that's a plus. I did line one tub with a thin piece of wood to keep the straw from slipping so much but no matter what I do they always bottom out, I filled them up big time to try and get more bedding in there but I think its because the sides are slick no matter what the straw slips up the sides...Wonder if i could fill them with old t-shirts or something cloth, I know its unconventional but might be an option? Otherwise i may just bag the totes and go back to wood nesting boxes which seem to work well. I have 17 hens so figured 4-6 boxes would be good but they really only use 1 and when I had wood boxes build in they all only used 4 of the 6.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nah...mine dig down to the bottom too, especially the new layers, not really a big deal...I just fluff it back up into the middle.
    Even when I use thick 'flakes' of the straw and stuff it in there tight and kinda 'bowl' out the center a bit...eventually they will dig thru to the bottom.
     
  7. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Try a small piece of carpeting to line the bottom. It will make the surface non slip, therefore the straw bedding should stay put a bit more. Avoid using old t shirts, or clothing articles instead of straw. You will be throwing out many of them if they get soiled. Changing with new straw or hay is welcoming in my opinion.
     

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