nesting boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Deanna, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. Deanna

    Deanna New Egg

    Jul 12, 2009
    We have 26 ISA Browns. Coop is approx. 9 X 8 with two windows, light on a timer. We originally had 5 nesting boxes. Sometimes they were waiting "in line" or even two in a box so we added 5 more. They refused to use them even after several weeks. We removed three of them and placed the other two attached to the original 5. Still refused to use those two. Confused yet? I sure am.
    We feed layer mash and supply crushed oyster shells and lots of water. Egg production averages about 23 per day but now some are getting broke. They still won't use the additional boxes. We have recently found an egg several times outside the coop. Also, the eggs are many different shades of brown and once in a while one will be almost white. The sizes vary greatly. Some make me say "ouch" that's gotta hurt! Last question is about egg shell texture. Some are smooth and glossy, some are rough, some have bumps on them and some come out looking wrinkled. This is my first attempt at being a farm girl and I admit I am thoroughly confused and perplexed. Is there some way to entice them into using the additional boxes?
    More info...we live in Michigan...they have plenty of outside area completely fenced and protected from predators cause we do live in the country (near Lansing)
  2. KMHunter

    KMHunter [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Cr

    Jun 12, 2009
    My Coop
    Have you tried golf balls in the new boxes, or hard boil a couple of eggs and put them in there for a few days. That may make them think that others have used it and it is ok. I have two boxes for 5 girls, and only 3 are laying, but I found one on the coop floor the other day. It was the first time, so I guess she couldn't wait. My BO lays eggs that have little bumps usually on one end, and my ISA Brown sometimes lays eggs that look like they have slight wrinkles in them. They are very unpredictable birds so unless one looks exceptionally weird or they lay shell-less eggs all the time, I wouldn't worry. Do you collect eggs more than once a day? with that many layers you may have to, if you can. Sorry about the broken eggs. I would try putting real hard boiled eggs in the new nests first, because they are used to seeing those eggs in the nests. Good luck!
  3. Deanna

    Deanna New Egg

    Jul 12, 2009
    Wow...what great ideas others have.
    Right after reading about placing hard boiled eggs in those unused nesting boxes, I boiled four eggs and placed two in each of those nests. The next morning we had eggs in both boxes. We had to go away for the day and when we returned I checked and there were more eggs....only in the newer boxes. I think these chickens are comedians.
    As far as broken eggs on the coop floor, we think it might because the piece of wood attached to the bottom front othe boxes didn't reach all the way to the end. That has been fixed so now we will see what happens.
    Thanks for your worked!
  4. Metanoia

    Metanoia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2009
    South Australia
    They'll tend to pick a nest box for the following reasons
    1. Is there an egg there already - they'll usually lay where someone else already has
    2. No eggs? Then they'll choose an area they are most comfortable in which is probably the old faithful nest boxes and not the strange new ones.

    I have 6 ISA browns and 2 next boxes... I've occassionally seen them with 2 to a box, but they sort themselves out. Its nothing to worry about. I usually get home to 4-6 eggs in one box and 1 or none in the other.

    I had one girl take to laying on the floor of the coop and not in the nest box... but one day I saw her doing it, and picked her up, plopped her in the nest box and she has laid in there ever since.

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