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Re-training to lay in nest boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Highlander, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. Highlander

    Highlander Tartan Terror

    Oct 1, 2008
    I've been finding myself going on an Easter Egg hunt every day as my girls are not keen on using their nest boxes. They are ex-batt hens so clearly they have never been used to them. There are around 8 "special" places that they like to hide their eggs: behind the paint pots in the garage, on top of the barbecue, under a sheet of corrugated metal etc - you get the picture. Well, the novelty of my daily egg hunt wore off today when I stumbled upon another nest with 29 eggs in it! [​IMG] So I decided enough is enough and they are staying inside until they can learn to use the next boxes. I have golf balls at the ready. Does anyone know approximately how long I would need to keep them in for, and any other tips??

  2. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

    Feb 11, 2008
    Waterloo, Nebraska
    When they lay their eggs in the coop you will probably see that they have favorite corners. Wherever you find the piles of eggs, put a nest box there.

    ETA: Keep golf balls or fake eggs in the nestboxes. If they think you have stolen all of the eggs, they will try to hide them in a new place.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2009
  3. crooked stripe

    crooked stripe Songster

    Jan 14, 2008
    N.E Ohio- Suffield
    In my case I haven't been able to stop the behavior. I have 1 Black Australorp out of 8 chickens that uses the nest box. I came across a nest of eggs in a bale of straw. I built a 2'x2' wood frame 12" deep and filled it with straw and they take turns using that. It is funny for the fact no matter where I place the wood frame they use it. They like to dig a hole about 8" deep and lay in the bottom. Good luck with your problem I hope you get some good suggestions. John
  4. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

    Mar 20, 2008
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    It depends on how much time you have on your hands. When I had a couple laying out side the nest boxes, I would find them in the coop on the floor in a nest they made for themselves and pick them up and put them in a nest box. After doing this for a couple of days, they stopped laying on the floor.
  5. Highlander

    Highlander Tartan Terror

    Oct 1, 2008
    The floor of the coop wouldn't be such a problem, but they free-range from 10am until 8pm and they've been laying in all sorts of weird places and probably a few I haven't found yet. Also because I have 67 chickens I need to sell the eggs and if I can't find them then I can't sell them.

    I appreciate the advice so far guys, thanks. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2009
  6. tellynpeep

    tellynpeep Songster

    Oct 4, 2008
    SW New Hampshire
    29 eggs!?!?
    Wow. I only found 15 in the nest under the pine branches yesterday. They were stained from being out in the elements for a week or so, so I couldn't sell/give them away. Very frustrating, isn't it?
    Good luck!
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I shut mine in their coop for a week and put golf balls in the nest boxes. Now they lay in them and I haven't found any hiding places.

  8. ArizonaDesertChicks

    ArizonaDesertChicks Eggstactic for Pretty Eggs

    Dec 8, 2008
    Glendale, AZ
    I let ours out to free-range everyday around 1 or 2 p.m. By then, most eggs are already laid in the nestboxes and easy to collect.
  9. Highlander

    Highlander Tartan Terror

    Oct 1, 2008
    Quote:That's a good idea, I think they would be miserable if they didn't get outside for a while. I might leave it even later than that for a couple of days, say 5pm to 8pm and gradually extend it. Thanks.
  10. CheerfulHeart2

    CheerfulHeart2 Creative Problem Solver

    Apr 8, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    My six black australorps are doing pretty well right now at using the nest boxes. They are just starting to lay eggs so I am only getting 3 eggs a day max right now. Here are a few things I did after finding a few eggs in other places.

    1) Instead of one or two golf balls in each of several nest areas, I consolidated the majority of the golf balls in one nest. The next day that box had an egg in it.

    2) My chickens free range all day, but I do have a small run that I can push up agains the pop door to limit their activities (and keep out cats...not a problem, but just in case). I started pushing the run up and leaving it in place until about 8 a.m. or so. It is a small coup and small run, so I figured that would get them used to seeing the golf ball eggs in the boxes.

    3) I still had one that had made a nest of her own by the shed. I put the waterer there to make it less tempting.

    4) One day 2 eggs were in the run, which they like to use for shelter even thoough they can get out of it if desired to free range. Again, I took those eggs away and kept the run attached a few hours in the mornging to get them used to seeing the golf balls.

    5) One day a golf ball landed on the floor of the coup. I didnt' get it picked up right away and had an egg appear there. I moved the golf ball and took the egg

    Today the nest box with the majority of the golf balls in it had 3 eggs in it!

    Good luck,

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