new layers - nesting box question!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ColoradoChicks, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. ColoradoChicks

    ColoradoChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2011
    I've got 10 hens, all 4 months 8 days old and they just started laying! I'm so proud! I didn't even have the nesting boxes in the coop yet. So of course the first egg was laid on the roost and fell to the poop board. Quickly installed nesting boxes that day with straw and golf balls. Next day, again, one broken egg on poop board. Today, one egg in nesting box, two broken on poop board.
    My questions are:

    Should I be hopeful that they'll all use the nesting boxes soon?

    and

    I have a sand floor in the coop and run, which I love. They have scratched the straw out of the nesting boxes numerous times and it's all over everywhere (even the one laid in the box was slightly cracked because they had scratched all the straw out. The boxes are 12" tall and have about a 4" lip to prevent this kind of problem. Could I put sand in the nesting boxes too?
     
  2. Hunter0704

    Hunter0704 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If I understand you correctly, you have 12" high nest, but it has a 4" lip to keep the nesting materials inside? That only gives a hen 8" to sqeeze into the nest between the top and the lip. Perhaps they need more room to get into their nests????
     
  3. ColoradoChicks

    ColoradoChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2011
    I've been watching them, and none seem to have a problem getting in or out. They've all gone in to investigate...and proceeded to scratch all the straw out onto the coop floor.
     
  4. goldies99

    goldies99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    that size is about right.....i have nest boxes the same size and all my chickens lay in the boxes
     
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    My Coop
    I have one box for my Aussies that is quite small, as I didn't know what I was doing at first when I installed the boxes in the new coop. [​IMG] It is barely 10"x10" with a big lip on the front. However they squeeze in there all the time. I have since put in a 15"x15" box for them and half of them still prefer the tinier box. So I don't think size is the problem.

    I put fake eggs in the nest boxes long before they started laying so that when the time came, they would know where to put their eggs. They have all laid every egg in the boxes. However if I remove the fake eggs from the boxes, even though they have been laying in them for 3 months, they freak out and tear up the coop and nest boxes, just as your are doing and don't know where to lay their eggs. So you might try the fake egg thing and just leave them in there. Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
  6. idispatch4911

    idispatch4911 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a couple of golf balls in our lay boxes for a month before my girls were even thinking about laying. The girls free range during the day and my first layer liked a tipped over garbage can for the first few weeks to lay her egg. Once they got the idea about what it FEELS like to lay, they laid right near the golf balls. I compare it to toddlers and potty training. Egg laying accidents happen, they don't know the sensation. Once they figure out what's going on, they can get to the "toilet" faster!
     
  7. ColoradoChicks

    ColoradoChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2011
    Thanks for the help! I'm going to be the detective tomorrow morning. My daughter and I are going to take turns watching the nesting box (from the window) to see who is laying where!

    I think they're very smart chickens [​IMG] so I think they will get the hang of it soon. I keep on putting the golf balls right on top of the straw (after I've put more in the nesting boxes) so I'm sure they'll come around.

    I am still wondering about sand in the nesting boxes. Maybe as a bottom "cushion" and a small bit of straw on the top?
     
  8. nickie

    nickie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 5 of 6 laying and 3 do it in the nests. The two that still lay in the corner (grr) are the two that just started... So all I can say is give it some time. Once one of them gets the whole process down and shows everyone else how comfy the neat is then maybe they will all head there (thats my hope anyway).
     
  9. fenceman48

    fenceman48 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 13, 2011
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    I have RIR's who will lay brown eggs. Will white golf balls be ok, or do I need to get brown colored fake eggs??
     
  10. nickie

    nickie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Golf balls are fine.
     

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