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Nesting boxes and egg laying???

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chick_newbie, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. chick_newbie

    chick_newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2008
    South Dakota
    Why do all my hens think that they have to use the same nesting box? It really makes gathering eggs difficult when they are always in the box. They have 8 boxes to choose from and they all want the same one. The BR will get in and lay and leave even if there is another hen in it. It seems that 1 of the EE will use a different box but that is it.

    Also how do you keep the bedding in it? We use wood chips in there and they keep kicking it out and there is a ledge in the front to help keep it in. We did try to put straw in the nests, but the EE made a busy day of taking it all out. It was so funny to watch and worth the trip to the coop through the slick snow with a sprained ankle.

    So anyone have any ideas?????
  2. kycowgirlchick

    kycowgirlchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    I keep golf balls in all of my nest. But they still prefer one. I only occassionally find eggs in another nest. I have put an egg from 1 day in another nest and got an egg in the other box? As far as the bedding I use hay. Mine dont pull it out. I have to change it because someone seems to like to poo in it daily. I hate that.
  3. DawnSuiter

    DawnSuiter Chillin' With My Peeps

    We're still new to the nest boxes as our are just coming of age... but we packed our hay in there... and I mean packed it down. Using our fingers to push/shake & force the hay into shape. We have two community nest boxes, one can hold 2 hens, the other can hold 3... I packed that hay into there so tightly, then I created dividers out of the hay too, just bunching it up and standing it up... really packing it in there tightly. They can hardly do any damage to it at this point because the hay has been packed down so much... it looks like individual nests.

    I just modeled this after what I see wild birds doing in bird houses... when you clean them out you can see they've made them tightly packed, creating a hole in the middle just big enough for them to fit into.
  4. TaLani

    TaLani ~ Gemini Chick ~

    Oct 2, 2008
    Bryson City, NC
    For whatever reason, they seem to have their favorite nest box and prefer one over the others. They all will scratch around while trying to get comfy to lay their egg. So, I don't have a good answer for you in re to how to keep the wood chips in. I have the same prob as well & believe it's a common problem. I guess it keeps the nests more free of poo though since we have to replace the nest bedding so often. How fine are the wood shavings that you're using? If it's too large of chunks then maybe it's not very comfy?? Just a thought. I buy a big bag of pine shavings from Wmart in the dog section. Such funny hens everyone has! [​IMG]
  5. chick_newbie

    chick_newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2008
    South Dakota
    I am now wondering about taking the divider out of the nesting box that they like so much to make more room. Will have DH look tonight when we can get the girls outside for treats. Maybe then they won't be crowded into one box.

    I will have him read about the hay suggestion too and see if we can do something about that.

    My white rock is such a bigger chicken that her eggs seem to be cracked when we gather them because she can't or doesn't get her bottom down enough to lay her egg.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2008
  6. chick_newbie

    chick_newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2008
    South Dakota
    Quote:I believe that mine would be the same wood chips that you are using, I just get mine from the animal store next to my walmart. They are just a little cheaper on the price.
  7. TaLani

    TaLani ~ Gemini Chick ~

    Oct 2, 2008
    Bryson City, NC
    That's great that you can get them a bit cheaper! My hubby recently told me that he knows someone who has a wood working shop & he wouldn't mind us hauling off his wood shavings, so I hope they won't be either too fine or too big of chunks. Guess I will see what it's like when hubby brings me some home soon. I like bodyflight's idea a lot though. Sure is worth a try.
  8. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:We do the same thing and I don't have a problem with the hay being kicked out. The girls all used to insist on the same box but now that so many of them are laying they've started using the others too.
    As for pooping in the nest boxes, it took me two weeks of going out there every night to move the two hens that insisted on sleeping in them. Now the nest boxes stay clean 95% of the time.
  9. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Quote:Yep, I just make sure that the nestbox is large enuf for more than one. I've found 3 in there before but it was standing room only [​IMG]. I actually made it a few inches wider after that - just in case. Since the box is a cardboard one on a shelf (the birds cannot get on top, behind it, nor on either side), it is easy for me to change the size.

    I know that Dawn's suggestion regarding hay works well but I've had problems with mice in the coop before and I'm really happy with pine shavings this time instead of some of my other litter choices. The nestbox however, would benefit from hay or straw.

    Scratching around is something of a "new layer" habit. They should be less disruptive as they gain experience. BTW - you may have a little bit of a calcium shortage if your White Rock continues to have problems with cracked eggs. Sometimes, they are just prone to thin shells but it's a shame (& a real danger with egg-eating) if the eggs continue to break.

  10. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    I've got 6 nest boxes, and they all prefer to use the same one. In fact, I've seen one hen literally climb on TOP of another and lay her egg, WHILE SITTING ON TOP OF THE OTHER HEN! Crazy girls! The interesting thing is that depending on the season, their favorite box changes.

    I also wanted to mention to those using hay to be very careful with hay; lots of folks' birds have gotten impacted crop from hay, because it sometimes balls up in the crop and cannot pass through. I had a pullet that ended up dying as a result of this, and I don't use hay at all; it must have blown into the run from the field where I feed it to my horses. Not trying to sound negative, just wanted to put that out there.

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