Obsessed with nesting boxes.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by WoodsChicks, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. WoodsChicks

    WoodsChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 16, 2014
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    My coop consists of 6 hens, 5 are currently laying and 1 rooster. They were all born the first of May. I have 4 1ft x1ft nesting boxes. They have a lot of room in their run.

    Here's the situation. Miss "Fry" is obsessed with the nesting boxes. I put hay in them at first and she decided to remove the hay repeatedly. I thought maybe the kids were accidentally doing it while collecting but there was never any outside the coop. One day we sat there and added hay many times while watching her swiftly removing it just as fast as we could add it in. OK lady, no hay.

    So next I laid pine bedding down. She scratched it out, picked it up with her beak and I'm confident I seen her try to use a hand shovel once. Fine bird, no pine bedding.

    Next I purchased a burlap onion sack, cut it to fit, filled it with pine bedding and stitched it shut with yarn. Well this is partially exceptable to Lil Miss OCD because so far only one has been pulled apart at the seems. I'm however noticing the other "cushions" are showing signs of Miss "Soon-to-be-deep-fried's"s abuse.

    When we go to collect eggs a white streak can be noted in the run and as soon as the collecting doors are open she is there to observe our actions in the boxes.

    Occasionally during the am collecting times she has been known to sit up on the roost and when the collecting doors are opened she hops down intending to startle the invader into an egg dropping panic, hoping they never again return to mess with her boxes.

    She has never pecked at us while we were invading her boxes. She has however broken many eggs while rearranging the laying quarters. The floor is the sticker tile on plywood so its not soft and I would like to have cushion for eggs.

    If anyone has any advice on neurotic nesting box obsessed chickens I will greatly appreciate it.
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Have you tried putting curtains on the front of the nesting boxes? A lot of times that seems to stop the diggers. Also make sure you have a deep lip on the boxes 6" or better. You can put pieces of cardboard, carpet, or that think rubber matting on the bottom of the boxes under the hay or shavings so if they dig to the bottom at least there is still some cushion.
     
  3. WoodsChicks

    WoodsChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 16, 2014
    East Central MN
    I do have lips on the front. I also have a bunch of scrap fabric so I will try the curtains, thanks for that tip!
     
  4. Deckgirls

    Deckgirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i have those nesting box pads that i bought of amazon and they lay nice and snug in my boxes. my very aggressive egg layer will scratch and scratch at those suckers but can't get them up or apart really. maybe something like that?
     
  5. WoodsChicks

    WoodsChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 16, 2014
    East Central MN
    [​IMG]

    These kind? If the curtains are not successful then I will try them.
    Today I was going to staple down the onion sacs but they are not easily cleaned if eggs break or poo happens.
     
  6. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    Use a strip of wood in front of the nest just low enough for the birds to get in and nest, but high enough to prevent kicking out pine shavings. Sand the edges to prevent splinters. A dark, well ventilated coop in a quiet location during the day is more comfortable to hens.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    New layers can act really goofy!
    I use straw as it seems to hold together better against the scratching.
    All my pullets made mess of the nests with their scratching when they first started laying, after they got the hang of it they stopped doing that for the most part.

    You might want to remove any eggs asap until she calms down. I had one pullet that didn't like the fake egg, wouldn't lay in her nest until I removed it.
    It can take up to a month or so for them to figure it all out and get into a calm routine.
     
  8. WoodsChicks

    WoodsChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 16, 2014
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    That's encouraging because I'm starting tofeel like a lunatic in a never ending war with this lady! Thanks for all the tips, going to make curtains tomorrow.
     
  9. boersmamrs

    boersmamrs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I love the bit about her jumping from the roosting pole to scare "invaders" it made me laugh out loud. since winter has hit my girls finally figured out where their eggs were going. Yesterday I was reacging in for an egg and my eldest girl tried to jump on my head to stop me.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Not something you can really 'battle', just be patient, observe and learn about their behavior.

    I'm not convinced curtains help, plus another surface to gather dust, and it's just another strange new thing for them to adjust to when they are already stressed out.
     

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