Should I open their nest box???

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by melliott, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. melliott

    melliott Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 22, 2012
    North West Ohio
    Our Chickens are 16 weeks old and the last couple of days they have been digging bowls in the shavings in their coop and covering themselves in shavings. We have had the nest box part of their coop blocked off since we moved them in. They all use the roost to sleep every night so should I unblock the nest box and put something in there. Also what should I put into the nest box? Should I use the same shavings or is it better to put in something else?
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I use hay and golf balls. Truth is, I just like the idea of hay in nests and pine on the floor. Lots of folks use the same pine shavings and no egg, plastic (sand filled helps), or ceramic eggs. They might be more inclined to kick pine shavings out of the nest than hay or something else. This is a good time to find out!

    You could try it, though I'd check around dusk to make sure no one decides to sleep in one -- and if they did I'd pick them up and set them on the roost. Maybe if they don't sleep in them, they'll actually lay in them when they start! So often it takes them about a month to figure out the whole egg laying thing.

    I have 2-5 year old hens who decided a couple of weeks ago they're tired of the nests and prefer a couple of corners in the coop, after years of rarely using anything but the nests. Crazy chickens....
  3. melliott

    melliott Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 22, 2012
    North West Ohio
    When you say hay are you useing actual hay or straw. I only ask because some people say hay when they are talking straw.....Thanks for the reply.
  4. aggiemae

    aggiemae Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2012
    Salem Oregon
    Since it's a new flock in a new coop I open mined after they started laying but I thionk we should have done it sooner. The problem was that then we had to break three of them of laying all over the yard. One actually laid on a patio chair until we took the cushions in in October.

    We have sand on the coop flow and towels and pine shavings in the (two) nest boxes. The hens scratched the shaving out at first to rearranging things but now they pretty much hop in get down to business and get out.

    BTW because of the sand floor we have never had any poop tracked into the nests.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    It just sounds to me like they're trying to dust bathe in the shavings. I don't think it's at all related to nesting.

    That said, they're old enough they might start being interested in checking out nest areas. You can use whatever you have in the boxes, some type of bedding is good. Lots of folks just use whatever they have for bedding. Like flockwatcher, I use pine on the floor and hay (yes hay, not straw) in the nest boxes. My reason for this is purely practical for me. I buy big bales of shavings and use the whole thing on the floor of the coop each time. I also have horses and always have loose hay, so I just pick up some hay from the barn floor and freshen the nest box when needed.
    1 person likes this.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Agrees with dust bathing theory. Lots of options, do a search on 'dust bathing' and you'll find lots of ideas and opinions.
  7. melliott

    melliott Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 22, 2012
    North West Ohio
    thanks everyone

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