Nesting box questions


9 Years
Hay/straw or regular pine bedding?

We're nearing the POL and are working on something fixed for nesting boxes. Did we miss the boat for introduction of nesting boxes? I know about putting the golf balls in the nesting boxes, etc. How long does it take (on average) for them to figure it out? I am not convinced they will want to use the boxes, and I worry about ending up with a bunch of egg eaters- anything that is "new" gets thoroughly checked out, of course, and my mind keeps going to them attacking and eating all the eggs that are laid before we can get the out!




8 Years
Aug 21, 2011
West Fork
Well, I am new to this too, but we installed our nest boxes when the girls were about 17 weeks. We filled them with pine bedding and put a golf ball in each of the four. We have nine girls who are 22 weeks old. One of them started laying at 18 1/2 weeks, and she laid in the nest box the first time and every time since. She has been laying now for almost a month and the other girls have been "free loading." Many of them are really starting to show the signs, so for the last few days we have been letting them out to free range early, and then putting them back in around 10, when Annabelle usually makes her way to the hen house to nest. This morning I observed 5 different chickens go in and investigate the nest boxes while she was laying. One of them even got in the nest box with her. I know they will lay when it is time, but the wait is making me crazy. Plus, Annabelle needs some help!!!


9 Years
Quote:We're at 20 (on Wednesday), 19, and 18 weeks, so we know this can happen any time. They are out several hours in the afternoon until they go to bed. We have some free-standing nesting boxes that I think we'll just put out there until we get the permanent ones settled. I will have to look for golf balls. (I know, can you believe it, we have no golf balls!) I should dig through the garage and see if I can find our colored plastic easter eggs, since I know we used to have a lot of those. Of course, now when we need/want them, we can't find them.

They all go in and out of the coop during the day, so I'm hoping they'll discover the nesting box and use it when they are ready.....


8 Years
Jun 4, 2011
Congratulations on nearing POL!!
It's quite exciting.

I built the nest boxes when my girls were probably 17-18 weeks old. My friend helped me and insisted on building 8 as I was planning on get more chickens (and I did
)and he just wanted to knock them all out at one time. I TRIED to explain to him that you could have 30 boxes and they all will most likely use the same one.

When they did start laying, they knew *exactly* where to do it. Even when they free range, when the urge hits 'em, they scurry back into the coop straight to the box.

and as a side note: They all pretty much do use the same one. Once in a while I'll find an egg in another box, though.


9 Years
Quote:NICE! Yes, we are *terribly* eggcited, to say the least.
We've been taking turns going into the run every few minutes, it seems, to check.
My youngest (7) has taken to modeling the behavior, by squatting and clucking, breaking into egg song periodically. So far, it hasn't worked, but she is intent upon trying.

Hunny has been dreading the permanent fix, because he was thinking he would have to remove and re-mount the roost, but I am pretty certain he doesn't need to. Wonder if we could get away with plexi-glass back so we could see when the boxes are occupied.... hmmmm.....

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