Not laying in the nest boxes!

coorain

Chirping
May 26, 2020
17
60
66
Atlanta, GA, USA
Hello everyone!

I am a fairly new chicken keeper- this is my first year keeping them as an adult, so definitely still learning about what is normal etc. A few of our pullets (day old chicks arrived end of May, they are Sapphire Splash from TSC) started to lay on Oct. 20, but very few are ending in the nest boxes- one started consistently in the boxes, but it seems her friend has taught her the joys of laying on the coop floor. Yesterday I found one in the run (I am thinking this might be someone's first egg). I know we are still at the start of laying and just figuring things about, but I am sensing that I am not doing a good job helping the girls get to the next boxes. It really seems the first two girls have made a habit of the coop corner for laying!

I have noticed the layers have at least explored the nest boxes, and seem to scratch any bedding I put in there, and my golf balls out. Then they proceed to the corner of the coop and lay their egg. I try to collect the golf balls from the coop, I am almost positive one girl saw a golf ball in the coop and copied it last week. This morning I placed two plant pots in the corner of the coop they have been using in hopes of getting them to the boxes.

Here are some images- please note I just set the pots there, where many of the eggs have ended up, and just added fresh pine shavings to the nest boxes- previously I'd tried a little hay, but they really keep scratching it out. Is my problem just that I need a lip for the nests? The plastic box is a feeder. Let me know if there is something I am missing!

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MarkJr

Change in America begins at the dinner table
Premium Feather Member
Jun 15, 2020
3,367
16,069
461
Elkton, OR
How tall are they? Chickens need to be able to stand to lay and egg. 11-12” should be enough. 10 may not be.

A 3” lip would keep your bedding and golf balls inside the boxes a lot better. Instead of one fake egg per box, try 2-3 for them to start out with.

Good luck in your chicken wrangling!
 

coorain

Chirping
May 26, 2020
17
60
66
Atlanta, GA, USA
Ah thank you- the boxes are 11 inches tall at their lowest (they have a slanted roof) and are 12 by 12 inches at the bottom.

The boxes DO have a lip at the top of the entrance- so that image from the inside of the coop does make them look significantly shorter than they are on the inside. I have noticed they are able to get into the boxes, so I had assumed this was not an issue.

As an aside, I went to check the measurements because we built the coop back in May, and someone had kicked each ball out of all three boxes and laid right in front of the boxes!

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rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
12,607
23,439
792
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
Lip really needs to be at the bottom to prevent bedding & fake egg kick out. Maybe once they stop kicking the fakes out that'll encourage them to use the nests, since the fakes will still be there to say "this is a safe spot."
 

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