Nesting box questions

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by erinkwilliams, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. erinkwilliams

    erinkwilliams Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 19, 2013
    Phoenix, AZ
    I am a newbie, have 2 RIR and 2 EE's, 10 weeks old. Wondering when I should have their nesting boxes ready, their coop has been a work in progress, converted the kids fort into the coop, last thing to finish are nesting boxes. Thanks!
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    :frow Welcome to the forum! :celebrate Glad you joined us! :frow

    Like practically every topic on here, you will get varying opinions on this. In many ways, it is personal preference a lot more than a right or wrong way to do it.

    I personally don’t see any reason to wait, though I’ll put a modifier on that in a bit. You don’t know for sure when they will start to lay. I’ve had a very few start laying as early as 16 weeks. I’ve had some that took 9 months for the first egg. Most of mine start around 20 to 24 weeks, but I sure don’t know what yours will do.

    I want the nests open when they start to lay. Sometimes when they start they don’t seem to have a lot of control over it and may drop an egg about anywhere anytime, from the roost at night or walking around the coop or run. But most of them usually get it right and look for a nest to lay that first egg in. They are creatures of habit. Usually where they lay that first controlled egg is where they want to lay the rest. I want the first controlled egg to be in the nest box, so I want it open and I want a fake egg in there to help induce them to lay in there. I use a golf ball.

    Another reason I want it open early is so if I have a problem with the nest box design I can fix it before it causes problems. They will often get in the nest and scratch around before they start to lay. Sometimes they are just in there scratching around looking for food. Sometimes they seem to do that just before they start to lay. If they scratch the fake egg and bedding materials onto the floor, you probably need to put a higher lip on it to hold that stuff in.

    The other thing is that your chickens might decide to sleep in the nests instead of on the roost. They normally try to roost in the highest place they can get but not always. If they start sleeping and pooping in the nests I want to know that before they start putting eggs in that stuff so I can work on the problem. I’ve had some chickens be so brutal on the roosts that the weaker chickens leave the roosts to find someplace safer to sleep. That just might be a nest.

    Here comes my modifier. My chicks often don’t start sleeping in the roosts until they are maybe 10 to 12 weeks old. I’ve had some start a lot earlier and some wait even longer, but normally 10 to 12 weeks is about right. If they have started sleeping on the roosts they will probably keep doing that when you open the nest boxes. But if they are sleeping on the floor, you might want to keep the nests sealed until they start roosting on the roosts. I’ve had chicks sleep in the nests a few nights when they are transitioning to the roosts. They are creatures of habit. I’ve had a few decide to stick in the nests and not move on up to the roosts.

    In summary, I want them open when they lay their first egg and I want them open enough in advance so I can fix a problem if it shows up.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I used 2 rectangle cardboard boxes, and but them small end down, with the flap taped up across the bottom of the box...that is all. I threw in a little hay and there ya go. My feeders are made from house hold refuse as well. An old laundry detergent box, and a couple of chocolate milk containers. I love the cheapness of chickens.
     
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  4. erinkwilliams

    erinkwilliams Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 19, 2013
    Phoenix, AZ
    Thanks! Great advice. Mine have been sleeping on their roosts for a while now, so should be good there. Thanks so much!
     

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