Nesting Boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chickensforkids, Oct 30, 2015.

  1. chickensforkids

    chickensforkids Out Of The Brooder

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    How do I get my chickens to lay in the nesting boxes? We're trying to use 5 gallon buckets, and I put some chopped straw in them. The girls are just starting to lay. (So far 2 are laying) and they are not using the buckets. 2 eggs have broken so far. Any suggestions? Will the buckets work or do I need something else?
     
  2. Free Spirit

    Free Spirit The Chiarian

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    You could try and place a ceramic egg or golf ball in there to encourage them to use them. Chickens are sometimes fussy and will choose which nest they want to lay and it will usually be permanent.

    I have 3 nesting boxes and all 7 hens share the same one and ignore the other two. For the first week they laid where ever was convenient (center of the coup, center of the yard, on the ramp). But they finally worked it out.

    Did they have a nest they were using before? If so, maybe it will take them some time to readjust. If not, then give them a little time to "figure it out" using the fake eggs as encouragement. Once they get used to laying in the buckets you can remove the fake eggs. Do they have a bar in front so they can get in and out easily? Is it private or at least semi private? This may also make a difference.
     
  3. CherryAdventure

    CherryAdventure Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I used golf balls, and mower catchers. My hens were in there from the start, and when they started laying, I never got an egg on the ground. And the hens I raised from chicks did the same thing. My hens won't lay if they feel exposed, so a deep box on it's side might help with that. The buckets or boxes or whatever you choose could be up high, to help with that safety feeling.
     
  4. Free Spirit

    Free Spirit The Chiarian

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    Another thought, is there light shining though the buckets? Chickens like a dim (or even a dark) area that's secluded and safe.
     
  5. yochickiemomma

    yochickiemomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a hen that took almost a month to figure out that she wasn't supposed to lay her eggs from the roosting pole. I probably lost a dozen eggs before she figured it out. It was like a kid learning how to use a training potty. It takes time for them to figure it all out. I also found egg suprises all over my coop and run for a couple of weeks when my girls first started to lay. :)
     
  6. chickensforkids

    chickensforkids Out Of The Brooder

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    I wouldn't say that the buckets are super bright, and they are about a foot off from the ground and located under their roost. I'm having a hard time keeping the straw in them because it keeps sliding out. I'm also wondering if maybe they could be too small. The area that she has chosen is square, and the buckets are obviously rounded at the bottom.

    My husband really wanted to do the buckets because they were cheap and they will be easy to clean. I've been apprehensive the whole time about the buckets...

    I'll try putting in some golf balls or fake eggs to see if it'll help.

    Is there anything I can do to help keep the straw in, or is there something else that I can use to put on the bottom?
     
  7. chickensforkids

    chickensforkids Out Of The Brooder

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    What is a mower catcher?
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    You can use part of a lid cut down as a front lip to keep bedding and eggs in the bucket.'
    ...but...

    It really helps to have a perch 6-8" in front of nest to land on before entering nest....
    .....and....
    I found the buckets to be too small to turn around in and get settled, even my smallest bird did not like them.
    Tho lots of folks use them successfully, I opted for larger nests(14 x 14 x 14").
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Floor nests
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Free Spirit

    Free Spirit The Chiarian

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    If the straw is sliding out then perhaps they are having trouble getting in and needs a bar across the front. Here is a couple links to some pictures I pulled from the web to give you an idea. The last one is another idea you could try for ease of cleaning.

    Scroll down and you'll see a large chicken going into one so I don't think size is much an issue.
    http://squashblossomfarm.blogspot.com/2011/02/bucket-brigade.html

    Here's one from BYC member wsdareme were she used bins: scroll down the page to see it.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/459379/buckets-as-nest-boxes/10

    If you want to see more then go to google or bing and type your search as "chickens nesting buckets" and choose to search images and you'll notice lots of great ideas.
     

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