Retrain a hen?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 1 acre willows, Jul 15, 2018.

  1. 1 acre willows

    1 acre willows Chirping

    142
    123
    91
    Jan 15, 2018
    Montana
    So our girls free range all day, got no problem getting them to come home every night. But all of sudden I've been having serious issues getting them to lay in the boxes in the coop. And now that I have several new pullets starting to lay they are more inclined to lay outside. I have 8 nesting boxes for them, aside from locking them into the coop and run for a couple weeks I don't know what else to do to try and make them change for ways
     
  2. camochick96

    camochick96 Songster

    127
    131
    111
    Apr 27, 2017
    North TX
    Only one of my hens will use a nesting box. Habits are hard to break... I’ve tried ceramic eggs in the boxes, moving the eggs into the boxes. My boxes have curtains to make it nice and cozy. But nothing’s stopped my girls from laying in the coop floor. :barnie I’m just glad my girls still go in the coop to lay and it’s not an Easter egg hunt every evening!
     
    Coop de Grass and puffypoo22 like this.
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    25,459
    9,238
    707
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I don't know of an effective method other than locking them in. It may work if you keep them in till about noon since most eggs come in the morning.
     
  4. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    18,141
    4,026
    491
    Nov 18, 2007
    Florida
    My Coop
    Have you tried putting golf balls or fake eggs in the nest boxes?
    IMG_0650.JPG
     
  5. 1 acre willows

    1 acre willows Chirping

    142
    123
    91
    Jan 15, 2018
    Montana
    I have in the past but I've had to make roll away boxes because of a breaker..... so using ceramic eggs is kinda hard, no pun intended
     
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    18,141
    4,026
    491
    Nov 18, 2007
    Florida
    My Coop
    Just curious.
     
    Coop de Grass likes this.
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    18,141
    4,026
    491
    Nov 18, 2007
    Florida
    My Coop
    I had a coop that had the rollout but removed them and put regular nest boxes in.
     
    Coop de Grass likes this.
  8. Mimi’s 13

    Mimi’s 13 Crowing

    795
    2,669
    292
    Jan 6, 2018
    Centre, AL
    I have been wondering, and worrying, about this very thing. Yep, I had to add the word worrying in there because that’s what I do. I overthink everything, especially if it’s something that’s new to me.
    My pullets are 13 weeks old today and are already out and about in the yard, unlike my original hens who didn’t free range until they were a year old and were seasoned nestbox layers. I hope that I don’t have trouble with the littles trying to make nests and lay in the bushes. I have already thought/worried :gig about it and figured it would be best to leave them up until lunch. Hopefully the majority of them will get the idea. :fl Hopefully.
     
    Coop de Grass and janiedoe like this.
  9. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    18,141
    4,026
    491
    Nov 18, 2007
    Florida
    My Coop
    I put golf balls in all of my nest boxes. I had a broody recently sitting on one of the golf balls.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    51,748
    32,581
    1,192
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Lock em up.

    Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for a week or so can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop and maybe run 24/7 for a few days to a week, provided you have adequate space and ventilation, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.


    You could bed the nests and use fakies until the youngsters get in the habit,
    then slowly remove bedding to go back to roll away.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: