oh, why wont they all lay in the nesting boxes? sigh...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hemlock end, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. hemlock end

    hemlock end New Egg

    2
    0
    7
    Sep 23, 2010
    ipswich, ma
    i have 6 chickens that are all almost 6 months old the live in a well ventilated, dry and secure yet not so lovely first construction attempt 5'x5'x5' coop inside a huge run complete with permaculture compost pile. they free range out through the yard for several hours most days. they want for nothing. 2 months before they were expected to start laying i put in 3 well constructed nesting boxes each measuring approx 12"x11"x10" with a 3 inch lip in the front and a roosting bar 4 inches in front of that. our first eggs came early - actually 2 weeks after i put the nesting box in. every few days we had more. all the nesting boxes were being used. we find 3 different in one box on some days. but the past 2 weeks, i have 2 layers who refuse to use the boxes. both are the last hens to start laying. one (a plymouth rock) lays next to the nesting boxes in a small space between the boxes and the big people door, not a big deal. but one of my ameraucanas is laying in a far corner under the big roosting ladder in a pile of poop. it's gross. how can i get her to lay in a box? should i add more boxes? shouldnt 3 be enough for 6 chickens?
     
  2. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,168
    31
    201
    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    The ingrates! You do all that good stuff for them and they insist on being chickens. [​IMG] More boxes probably won't help--the more birds I seem to have the less nesting boxes they use, preferring to squeeze into one or two even if it means sitting on someone's head. Remember the chickens lay not for you but for reproduction purposes so they'll find places to hide eggs to keep them from being stolen. Maybe, eventually, they will lay were you want them to but, until then, you'll have to find the eggs and clean them off. Chickens aren't trainable. Sorry.
     
  3. phaethona

    phaethona Chillin' With My Peeps

    417
    0
    119
    Apr 13, 2010
    Missouri
    3 should be fine for 6 of them. I have 11 and 6 boxes, there's times where I'll go out there and 2 will be in one box with the other boxes empty [​IMG] silly chickens [​IMG]

    try leaving the eggs that are laid in the boxes in there for most of the day for a couple days and see if the others see them get the hint.
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    458
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I'd sure find a way to close off the spot the Ameraucana is using. Stick a cardboard box in there, 5 gallon bucket, whatever you have lying around. Make her choose another spot then deal with that. I have one spot piled full of JUNK -- unused plastic waterer, empty poultry dust cans, 2x4 scraps, etc. They did give up on it!

    They certainly aren't trainable.
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    458
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Quote:I agree -- actually for 6 chickens I'd either have one or two nests. You could always try golf balls if you haven't already, or plastic easter eggs, whatever.
     
  6. hemlock end

    hemlock end New Egg

    2
    0
    7
    Sep 23, 2010
    ipswich, ma
    thank you all for the advice. i am going to try the obstruction idea just because she's laying in such a hard to access and dirty place.
    though if it comes down to a war of the wills i have a feeling i will lose.
     
  7. Swampwood

    Swampwood Chillin' With My Peeps

    218
    0
    111
    Apr 25, 2010
    Krotz Springs, LA
    LOL.. I only haqve 2 that are laying so far.. One lays in the same box everyday(like a good girl) the other one lays in the middle of the dirt run(dumbbutt). I just stocked(2-3ea) the lay boxes with golf balls..We'll see if that works.
     
  8. Uzuri

    Uzuri Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    Because if they all laid in the nesting box it wouldn't annoy you.

    ...

    Oh wait, I'm thinking of cats.

    ...

    No, I'm thinking of chickens. Maybe mine are just taking lessons from my cats.
     
  9. carrlr

    carrlr Chillin' With My Peeps

    703
    1
    131
    Mar 31, 2010
    Southern Illinois
    Because they're chickens. It took mine a little while to lay in the nest boxes, and usually they do, except for an occassional one in a remote hard to reach area of their run. Although some of mine are young and just now laying, so it might be an oh no I can't make it to the nest egg. Anyway, I have 12 hens and 4 connected nest boxes and they all lay in the same nestbox. I think they stand in line and wait there turn. LOL!! I got them to lay in the boxes with golfballs, but for some reason it doesn't work for the three other boxes. Oh, well they are easier to collect this way.
     
  10. Nostalchic

    Nostalchic Chillin' With My Peeps

    Did you try putting some fake eggs in the boxes? I have open "community nests" and my chickens seem to always choose 2 or 3 super-desirable (apparently) spots to squabble over. But if I leave some fake eggs (I have these floral painted wooden eggs so that it's easy to tell them from the real ones when I'm collecting the eggs) in the other nests, they will settle right in to those, too. They do seem to seek nests that already have eggs in them (real or otherwise) which must suggest a safe, undisturbed location. (By the way, this backfires if you're trying to discourage a broody)
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by