Nesting box problem, stubborn hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by buckabucka, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. buckabucka

    buckabucka Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 13, 2010
    Fairfield, Maine
    My Coop
    We have a large (2'x4') community nest box on the floor of the coop. 3 of 16 hens like to lay in there, -it is dark and private.

    Earlier this winter, we had a problem with a white leghorn pullet laying her eggs off the roost at night, resulting in broken, frozen, or at least dirty eggs. We put a nest box up on the poop boards in hopes she would use it if she had the need to lay an egg at night. It seems to have worked, - she uses this "poop board box", and while it could be coincidence, the night laying stopped.

    The problem: 12 other hens INSIST on using this single box, and that box ONLY. There are fights every day, sometimes with blood drawn. [​IMG] I am thinking about taking the poop-board box away entirely, or at least setting it on the floor by the community box.

    My question: If I suddenly take this box away, am I setting myself up for chaos (eggs laid all over the floor, poop boards, etc) ? As a first attempt at a solution, I did try putting a similar single box, elevated about a foot off the floor, over next to the community box, and no one will use it. I put wooden eggs in it, and they do get in it and check it out, but when it is time to lay, they head up onto the poop board to fight with whatever hen happens to be in that box. It is rare that 2 hens peacefully share the space. Should I take it away?

    I appreciate any advice!
  2. valley ranch

    valley ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Greetings, We have 10 boxes available yet there is one box that they all seem to prefer over all the others. colored fake eggs helps with a couple hens.


    A couple times we have had hens bloodied and had to keep them in the house for a day or two.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2011
  3. Captain Carrot

    Captain Carrot Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 25, 2011
    I'd move it out of the way, maybe put a few other smaller boxes about the place.

    good luck
  4. MareeZoCool

    MareeZoCool Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm not sure. I find chickens have such strong personalities! you might need to try a few different nesting ideas. I had one hen that insisted on nesting under a chair! Yet anothwer just had to have a huge box.[​IMG]
  5. buckabucka

    buckabucka Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 13, 2010
    Fairfield, Maine
    My Coop
    Thanks for the replies. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one with hens that draw blood over nesting boxes!

    I decided to go for it and move the box. Right now, next to the community box on the floor, I've put a large cat carrier (maybe a foot wide and two feet deep), on top of that is the formerly favorite box that came off the poop board, and on top of that is another single box that they previously refused to use. DH screwed them to the wall, so they won't topple. They all have fresh shavings and fake eggs.

    In addition, they have a small community box that is hung under the poop boards. It has been there for a long time and no one uses it, -it isn't very deep, but it is certainly another option.

    I'll be very interested to see what happens tomorrow!
  6. buckabucka

    buckabucka Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 13, 2010
    Fairfield, Maine
    My Coop
    Success! [​IMG] After much loud whining about the moved nest box (I swear the Brahma is going to be hoarse!), the hens have laid in 3 different locations today. No one has used the "pet taxi" box yet, although they moved the wooden eggs around in there. I'm hoping this settles the major fighting at laying time long-term!
  7. catdaddy66

    catdaddy66 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 18, 2009
    Lugoff, SC
    I have had the exact same problem myself. 6 perfectly good boxes and 99% of eggs are in the upper right box. Just came from egg gathering and all were in one except one lonely egg in the nest next door. It's been this way for 2 months now but we check daily so it isn't a big headache yet. [​IMG]
  8. memahenny

    memahenny Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 24, 2009
    Western South Carolina
    I have 4 hens that want to lay in an old corn basket or something old kinda tappered at one end. I rigged it up with bungie cords for time being since they have just started back laying, but them being big fat hens all could come crashing down LOL. I don't see how they manage in that anyway. I secured it a little better today. I am off work Tues and have built new nest boxes, since I am remodeling again. With that being said I will have to go through the new ritual again!!!!, The wind is blowing really bad here in SC last couple of days so I wanted to wait a while. Still cold and haven't taken the tarps off the sides yet. I hope to get it cleaned, they gonna be mad when I start redoing everything again. The rooster make all kind of fuss.[​IMG]
  9. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Some of mine like open front, some like open top, some prefer to wallow out a hole in the floor litter, some jump on top of the pile of hay and make a hole and lay. Some of them switch around fairly regularly. Chickens....

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