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nesting box training? help me please!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kgdubois, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. kgdubois

    kgdubois Songster

    Apr 26, 2011
    West Texas
    i have a mixed flock of chickens, which are just over four months old. i went out yesterday evening and found my very first egg [​IMG]! i am super excited, it was one of my EE hens and the egg is a very pretty light teal color.

    i am worried, however, because we have not had time to get our nesting boxes up yet (i was not expecting eggs until my hens were at least 6 months old, silly me!). this egg was in the sawdust on the coop floor, in which they are closed up at night. during the day they free range all over our pens (i live on a large ranch & the pens are pretty big). there are many, many places where these hens could be laying, if in fact there are more than this one hen who picked the floor of the coop to drop her first egg. we are putting the nesting boxes in this sunday, which is the absolute earliest time we can dedicate to getting this done.

    can anyone give me some tips or advice on how to get the hens to lay in the new boxes once we get them up? i have purchased some ceramic eggs to put in there, but i didn't know if maybe i needed to lock the chickens in the coop for a few days? it is a very large coop, plenty of room for them to roam in & not beat eachother up, but i work during the day so they would be on their own until i get home in the evening if i did keep them locked in there.

    thank you everyone...i am really worried that i've "ruined" my hens or something and could use any advice y'all have!

  2. chi-rn

    chi-rn Chirping

    Jun 11, 2011
    The fact that one hen came to the coop to lay is a very good signal that they know where to lay. I wouldn't shut them up inside the coop if you already have pens. That might stress them out & cause them not to lay. [​IMG]
    Until you get the boxes up, put one or two nice-sized dish pans inside the coop, line with straw, put in a ceramic egg & I'll bet your girls know what to do from there!
    Good luck!
  3. kgdubois

    kgdubois Songster

    Apr 26, 2011
    West Texas
    @chi-rn -- thank you! the reason the hen laid her egg in the coop is because my father forgot to let them out yesterday morning (i reread my post & realized i forgot to put that in there). knowing that, should i still just put the hay-filled pans in there like you said? the only place food is available to them is in the coop, so i know they head back in there pretty regularly throughout the day.

    thank you again! i really appreciate it [​IMG]
  4. riveroflovefarmstead

    riveroflovefarmstead Hatching

    Aug 25, 2011
    After only one year with chickens, I have learned that hens like to lay in hidden away spaces. Because of that, they are most likely to lay in the coop first and will usually keep laying in the same general place. They like to lay where others have laid eggs, too. It helps to place some fake eggs, or some store bought eggs where you'd like them to be laying. When we didn't have nesting boxes, we used some small tubs tipped on their sides filled w/ straw. They like to nest small circles in the straw before they sit down to lay, and don't need much training on where to lay (just in my own experience). Out of my 10 laying hens, only one lays in odd places. I don't mind about it though because she just seems to enjoy variety- one day in the corner of the coop, another day in a nesting box, and another day inside the duck house. She's a funny one. All my others lay their eggs together in the same spot, so I call my odd one our non-conformist/rebel [​IMG]

    Lawrence, KS USA
    River of Love Urban Farmstead: Home to 7 Indian Runner ducks, 9 assorted chickens, 2 Flemish Giant rabbits, 4 dogs, and 4 amazing kids big_smile
  5. momofchicks

    momofchicks Songster

    Apr 23, 2008
    I use golf balls in my nesting boxes and one of my 8 hens just layed today in the box by the golf ball. So I think they work well. I would like the other posters said get something in there and the ball, fake egg or whatever. That should help.
  6. taprock

    taprock Songster

    Nov 1, 2010
    Northern L.P. Michigan
    My girls wouldn't use the boxes until I put cloth on the front to make them dark. My son also builds them little shelters out of boards all over their yard that some of the new layers will use until they figure out the nest boxes. If we hear anyone doing an egg song that is wandering around we put her in a nest box. It only took them a couple weeks to figure it out.
  7. CamanoChicks

    CamanoChicks Hatching

    Jul 11, 2011
    My hens have started laying but refuse to use their box. I read on another post to go in and mess up the shaving on the coop floor each day, so I'm going to try that.

    There is one however that doesn't prefer the privacy of the coop and lays her eggs out in the wide open for everyone to see! She is my little exhibitionist. Whats funny is that she doesn't lay them in the same spot in the pen. I'm gonna have to put up a hen cam to find out which one it is out of the 14 ladies.

    Who said chickens weren't funny? LOL

  8. Hooligans7

    Hooligans7 Chirping

    Jun 30, 2012
    North-central Arkansas
    "Amelia" is a six-month-old Barred Rocks and has laid her first two eggs -- in the wood crib! I have three very nice nest boxes in the coop that I'd like her to use, so I didn't let her out today in the hope she'd go into one of the boxes. They're dark and cozy, but she has no interest in going back "upstairs" into the coop. Instead, she's pacing and clucking down in the run and freaking out! What should I do???
    Oh, #*&$%!! She flew out of the run and laid it in the wood crib again! I'm obviously doing something wrong. Any suggestions are appreciated!

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