Nesting boxes

korlia

Chirping
6 Years
Sep 11, 2013
119
4
73
South Africa
Hi guys, me again!!

Our chicken tractor is almost done and I'm soooo excited. I have read & learnt alot from you guys!

I am awaiting my 3 Boschveld hen chicks. We are on a waiting list and will receive them in about a months time. They will only be about 4 weeks old when we get them. So here is my question.

Should I already fit my nesting box now? Its spring here in SA so I thought the chicks will be able to spend time in the tractor durin the day and hopefully not to long before they are old enough to spend their nights in there also.

I have read alot about hens roosting in nesting boxes and I do not want to make such a mistake. Since they will not even be near POL when o get them I was wondering if I should leave the nesting box out of the tractor to start with or add it from the beginning? What would you recommend?
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
598
448
South Georgia
I'd definitely wait til closer to POL. A first egg is liable to be laid on the ground whether there is a nest box or not, anyway. it takes them some time to figure out the whole egg laying thing.
 

Bens-Hens

Songster
6 Years
Jan 29, 2013
2,552
304
238
Perth, Western Australia
I agree with aart. I put my boxes in and then covered them with wire mesh. That way I would not disturb the birds when I got in there with cordless drills and paint brushes.

When I saw all the signs of about to lay (some wait for that first one on the floor) I removed the wire and placed a golf ball in each box.

First two missed, but since then they seem to have the hang of it.

700
 
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chynasparks

Songster
6 Years
Jun 21, 2013
548
24
118
Texas
I think I put mine in too soon. For a long time they ignored them. They would, and still go to the roost but lately they've taken to digging out all the nesting material. I replace it they dig it out, nesting material all over the place. They are 20 weeks now so I'm watching closely for eggs. But I'm not really sure if its because I put the nests in too soon. Happy Chooks says they are practicing. I can believe that since they ignored them for the most part. They've become very interested in what I'm doing in their little nest house through the access doors. They are so funny.
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
598
448
South Georgia
Chinasparks, do your nests have a lip across the bottom of the front, to help hold the nesting material in? It won't solve the problem of scratching it out, but it might help. I have a 1x4 board across there so that there is a 3 1/2" lip. If they just won't quit, you can replace the hay or straw with that rubberized shelf material, even tacked down if necessary. If it's not taked down, it's certainly easy to pull out, hose off and replace. Some people use old clean rags or carpet scraps. Anything to soften the fall of the egg when they lay. I use hay because when I tried to use pine chips, they kicked it out quickly. With hay, mine sort of twirl it so they end up with a scooped out round spot. Trouble is, sometimes the middle of the bottom is down to the wood.
tongue.png
 

Bens-Hens

Songster
6 Years
Jan 29, 2013
2,552
304
238
Perth, Western Australia
Chinasparks, do your nests have a lip across the bottom of the front, to help hold the nesting material in? It won't solve the problem of scratching it out, but it might help. I have a 1x4 board across there so that there is a 3 1/2" lip. If they just won't quit, you can replace the hay or straw with that rubberized shelf material, even tacked down if necessary. If it's not taked down, it's certainly easy to pull out, hose off and replace. Some people use old clean rags or carpet scraps. Anything to soften the fall of the egg when they lay. I use hay because when I tried to use pine chips, they kicked it out quickly. With hay, mine sort of twirl it so they end up with a scooped out round spot. Trouble is, sometimes the middle of the bottom is down to the wood.
tongue.png

I made mine with a small drop down, but I still had to add another lip to keep material in, they love to toss it about in there!
 

chynasparks

Songster
6 Years
Jun 21, 2013
548
24
118
Texas
There's a small edge on the nest boxes. Obviously not enough to prevent the material from being dug out. I think I'll try the Matt idea. If I put up a higher board they may try to roost on it. I've decided to leave the boxes alone until they actually start laying. I may buy a different style. Considering the kind that secures to the wall with a hole opening. I think the wooden box type I have is too open. I think I have a couple of weeks to work it all out. If someone lays an egg before then I'll try to get them using the boxes.
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
598
448
South Georgia
I have several different styles and types of nests, a sort of motley collection of whatever was handy, and I find they prefer one type for a while, then switch to another. I have large and small, open top and open front. One is great for a broody and chicks, the open top with a dip in the front, which is actually a plastic bin. Used to have a covered kitty litter box which they also liked. And sometimes they decide to lay in a corner of the coop and ignore all nests.
 

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