question about nesting boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lorain's fids, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. lorain's fids

    lorain's fids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At what age do you get the nesting boxes ready for the girls? Mine are 19 weeks old. Right now I don't put anything in them. What do you use in them--pine shavings, straw, hay? Also do the chickens know what the boxes are for, or do you have to place the chickens in them for them to know it is for them? [​IMG]
     
  2. M.sue

    M.sue Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2011
    Michigan
    I had mine ready and open at 18 wk. I put a golf ball in each. I use pine shavings in the boxes and on the coop floor. I did put a few of mine in there when I first opened them just to see what they'd do but chickens are curious and nosey and they'll figure it out on their own. When they do start laying don't be surprised if you find an egg or two on the floor...it happens but like I said they get the hang of it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    At 19 weeks, I usually get them ready. I use yellow straw, but others use shavings, either will do. I don't put the nesting boxes up too high. That can come later when they are more mature. I usually start them placed just a few inches above the ground. Take care they don't sleep and thus poop in them.

    If there are no laying to teach them, from the pullets to mimic, I find golf balls give them an instinctive visual clue. It works. They're gonna nest, they're gonna lay, it's just a matter of working with their instincts and channeling them in the right direction.
     
  4. LT

    LT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You should definitely get them set up now. We use pine shavings, and that has worked well for us. We cut a piece of cardboard to put in the bottom of the box as an added precaution. Then we layered about 3 inches of pine shavings on top of that. We used golf balls in our nest boxes. The girls see the golf balls and think they are eggs, and this tells them, "this must be a good place to lay an egg!" We haven't had any problem with dirty boxes or eggs, but I still change out the shavings about once every two weeks. Good luck!
     
  5. luvinmychickens

    luvinmychickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2011
    Ohio
    Yeah, set it up now. I would use pine shavings. That's what my girls have. For them to know where to lay the egg, you should put a golf ball in each nesting box or even just a plastic egg. Make sure the plastic egg is taped closed. Good luck! [​IMG]
     
  6. cravenchx

    cravenchx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine are 20! weeks today. I have pine needles in
    our boxes. I hope this is ok. We have 3 boxes for
    13 pullets, and I have 2 golf balls in each. I had read
    the girls prefer "clutches" I'm still on the big learning
    curve.
     
  7. luvinmychickens

    luvinmychickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2011
    Ohio
    I have 3 nesting boxes for 6 girls. They only use the same 2 boxes. [​IMG]
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    lorain's fids :

    At what age do you get the nesting boxes ready for the girls? Mine are 19 weeks old.

    It is time. I usually make sure mine are available by 16 weeks. They can possibly start laying that age, but it is rare. But you want them available when they do start laying. Some pullets don't seem to be able to control when or where the first eggs are coming, but they usually get the hang of it pretty quickly. And some start out in control. You want that first controlled egg in a nest box. They are creatures of habit. Once they get used to laying in a certain spot, they often want to continue laying there. That might be a corner of the floor or even just where a shadow makes it look safer. It may not even be in the coop at all. You want to give them every opportunity to lay that first controlled egg where you want them to lay it.

    Another reason I like to have them open a bit before they start to lay is to see if I can recognize a problem before they start to lay if one exists. For various reasons, some may decide to sleep in the nest boxes. They poop a lot when they sleep. You don't want them pooping in the nest box, then laying eggs in that poop. Or maybe they play a bit in the nest box and scratch the nesting material and fake egg out. I had that happen and had to raise the lip on the bottom that holds in the nesting material so they did not scracth it out. I find a 5" to 6" lip about right, but some people can get by with a smaller lip.

    Right now I don't put anything in them. What do you use in them--pine shavings, straw, hay?

    You can use whatever you want. It doesn't matter that much. Some people even use Spanish moss. I've tried shavings, straw, and hay. They all worked, but I have pretty much settled on hay. Actually it is just long grass that I cut and dried. It's free. They will scratch around in it and form a nest, so make sure it is plenty deep. You want the bottom of the nest still protected by nesting material after they have have formed that nest. If you get it too full, they will just scratch out the excess.

    Also do the chickens know what the boxes are for, or do you have to place the chickens in them for them to know it is for them?

    You do not need to put the chickens in them. They will find them. But I strongly believe in a fake egg in the nest. I put sand in those plastic Easter eggs and glued them shut and those worked for a while. Eventually they split open though. I now use golf balls.

    Good luck!!!
    [​IMG]
     
  9. lorain's fids

    lorain's fids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    New Jersey
    Thank you for all your suggestions. I just filled the 3 nesting boxes with pine shavings-I have no golf balls, but I do have plastic eggs that I'll place in there(I just gotta get them out of the Easter decoration box) I am looking foward to the day that I find the first egg in there.[​IMG]
     
  10. lorain's fids

    lorain's fids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Me too!!!!!
    I am learning as I go--and I must be getting it right-my chickens are healthy and happy![​IMG]
     

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