Should I try to force using Nest Boxes at this point?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by gopintos, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. gopintos

    gopintos Hatching

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    Aug 1, 2014
    New to chickens. Well I had some 30 years ago but barely even remember it. So basically new to chickens :)

    Anyways, they are great about returning to the coop at night. Nest boxes have been in since coop was completed (converted) so for several months now. The girls just started laying this week.

    Trouble is, I had to have the pen shut during the day, due to newer smaller chicks. Coop is next to the barn where 7 barn cats hang out. So far, the cats have not done anything to the chickens though we have chased the cats away because they were "stalking".

    So anyways, pen was shut for this reason and to get the smaller chicks use to their new home. (those chicks hatched May 31) I then started letting them out before dusk, then a little longer each day, in hopes to have this transition complete and out all day before the arrival of our first eggs.

    Well, their first full day I was not able to be home so I had to keep them in the pen, and that was the same day our first eggs arrived.

    Only 2 laying hens, and they are laying by my house. First ones in the grass by the garage, but now using a trash can that we had cleaned out and it was over on it's side. It is fairly close to the garage, and this bunch of chickens like to hang out by my house, they act more like dogs sometimes :) I have a group of 9 meat chicks that dont hang with them.

    The little chicks will be layers and share the same coop so I am just not sure how to make everyone safe and happy. Yesterday I tried to keep the hens in, and everyone else out, but the roosters would not leave the area, so they were just terrorizing the other chicks that hang close to the pen/coop, mostly the little silkie roo. So I went ahead and let the girls out of the coop so they would move on away. Maybe I should have let them have access to the pen also, maybe that would have made the big roosters happy (3 brothers raised together) but I don't have a top on my pen and I am certain they could fly out if they wanted. (maybe they would not want to?)

    So anyways, maybe I should try them in the pen today? Maybe keep the roosters in with them and only let the little chicks out? I just don't know.

    And would it be less traumatic (especially for my little chicks - maybe I am the main one being traumatized - I don't know) but what if I just let the hens keep using the trash can by my house? It is convenient for me to check, the roosters are for the most part happy as they are still close, and maybe this winter when they are mostly kept in their coop they will start using their nest boxes? I just don't know what I should do for them.

    Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. gopintos

    gopintos Hatching

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    Ok so I wasn't sure what to do, so I thought I would just go with it. The two hens of laying age are both using the same trash can here relatively close to the house, so I decided to just go with it. They are happy, it is easy for me to check, so decided why fight it.

    I was concerned because it is just out there though, so I thought I might try bringing it closer and closer to the house until finally it is on the front porch (off in a corner) but we finally got some rain today so I moved it on to the porch. I am not sure how that will work. Might have to move it back now that the rain has stopped and try to slowly move it up here.

    Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks!
     
  3. gopintos

    gopintos Hatching

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    Aug 1, 2014
    Little bit bummed. No eggs today. I hope I didnt mess up a good thing. :(

    I know they saw it on the porch, and were hanging around it at various times today. I just knew they were going to use it. But nothing. I know they don't necessarily lay every day, and it gets later every day so today would have been a late day, so we will see what tomorrow brings :)
     
  4. gopintos

    gopintos Hatching

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    Aug 1, 2014
    I thought (hoped) they might lay in their nest box this morning but nothing yet when I let them out. However once out they made a bee line to the front porch. Happy to say they both laid in the trash can on my front porch.

    Yes I guess I am happy. I spent a lot of money on my front porch and also converting a shed to chicken coop with new nest boxes. Oh well. They seem to like hanging out closer to the house. I am hoping I can get something more compact and tidy - inconspicuous. Maybe this winter they will use the nest boxes. For now I am just happy to not have an Easter egg hunt every day.
     
  5. krista74

    krista74 Songster

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    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    Hi there,

    Sorry to hear things are not working out quite as you had planned. That's chickens for you though - they have minds of their own! [​IMG]

    You could try moving the trash can into the coop, and keeping your girls locked inside until lunch time. I suspect they would lay in it no matter where it was at this point!

    I always keep my girls confined to their coop until at least 10am anyway, to give them a bit of peace and privacy to lay. They are used to the ritual of breakfast, then egg laying, then free ranging later on.

    Good luck!

    - Krista
     
  6. gopintos

    gopintos Hatching

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    Thanks for the reply. I was beginning to think I was just talking to myself lol

    I just decided to leave it on the porch for now. These guys like being close to the house, and I love having them close to the house, and it is so easy to go out on the porch and gather eggs. They are laying like clockwork, about an hour later each day.

    I am hoping maybe as the days get shorter this fall/winter, they might lay in the coop eventually. I did purchase some ceramic eggs and will get those out today. I am hoping that will help the other baby chicks to lay in the coop once they are of age.
     

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