Not using nesting boxes


In the Brooder
7 Years
Jun 11, 2012
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
One of my hens finally started laying! I think that was the longest 22 weeks of my life! the problem is she's not laying in the nesting boxes. She's just laying in the corner of the coop. Is there something wrong with the boxes that I build. I have noticed that some of my other chickens are actually sleeping in one of the boxes at night. They are younger birds only about 15 or 16 weeks old. Is that maybe why she's not using the boxes? they are about 12 deep x14 high x18 wide so they should be big enough. Are they too big maybe? I've lined them with about 3 inches of pine shavings. should i be using a different type of bedding?

Chickens will lay their eggs where THEY feel the most comfortable.
Sometimes that will be in the middle of your rose bush.
Since she is just starting to lay, you can encourage her to lay in the nest box by leaving a few eggs in a particular nest.
Chickens like to lay in the "popular" nest box.
They will even wait in line for a turn to lay their egg in the popular nest.
If you do not mind having her lay in the corner of your coop, you might want to provide a little nest there.
A simple wide planter you have laying around will do; or even just a cardboard box.
Use whatever is laying around, and they'll love it.
Pine shavings is fine to use.
If you've got trees shedding leaves this time of year, you can rake some up and toss 'em into the nest boxes.
Smoosh a little indentation in the bedding and put the eggs there to make it look more inviting.
Have fun!
I put a couple of golf balls into my nest boxes before my hens started laying and they took the clue and always lay in the nest box. My hens free range and even go back to the nest to lay their far. I am hopeful they have established a habit of going to the nest box to lay! I use wheat straw in my box...not sure if hens prefer straw to pine shaving as i have not tried anything else. Might be worth a try to switch the nest box bedding with straw and see if it is more appealing to them.
Thanks! I'll try putting a few of her eggs in one of the boxes. Maybe that will help her. Or at leave get the others to start laying there. The problem with her laying in the corner of the coop is that the way I built the coop it's the hardest corner to get at! ugh...
I know what you mean, my tractor is raised up off the ground about 2 feet, I didn't think about it when I was building it. It would be a REAL problem if my chickens decided to lay under there....
I would put a golf ball in there too and just leave it there then the other ones coming up to begin laying will see it and hopefully lay in the box and not follow her lead. They all seem to want to lay in the same box so if you can make the box "the popular" spot everyone will want to use it...including your "rogue layer"
I had a hen who did that for months. She just finally started using a nest box a couple of weeks ago. Maybe she finally figured out that all the other eggs in the boxes were showing her where hers should go?
Just wanted to add a little smile.

I couldn't find any fake eggs when it was near time for my girls to start laying so I bought some silly putty - you know, it comes in a plastic egg. Well I put the empty putty egg in the nest box and waited. They laid on the floor of the coop, under a bush in the run, in the grass, and even in the poop tray. FINALLY they started using the nest box. The funny thing is - the plastic egg won't stay closed... and my girls are still laying small 'training' eggs .... so every day I go down there and collect a couple of eggs - and then check the plastic egg. Somehow, with the jostling of feet and bodies, someones egg ends up inside the plastic egg every day! It's just so funny and cute - open the plastic egg and out comes a real one.
It took a week of putting her eggs into the box but She's finally laying in the nesting box! I also got another one laying in the mean time but she has yet to lay in the boxes. I'm hoping she does today. :)
Sorry if I'm too late but I have great nesting boxes with hay and ceramic eggs in each but they still won't lay in them. They lay in the corner of the coop or out in the run somewhere. I don't know what else to do. Any ideas? Thanks!
I got back from vacation and my girls are laying in the corner of the coop. It's not a large coop but I still have to use a fireplace shovel to gather them... I'm going to leave the ceramic egg in the box to entice them.

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