So many nest boxes...only ONE is the right one!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by FirewifeJess, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. FirewifeJess

    FirewifeJess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a question. My coop has amazingly wonderful nest boxes (2 of them) in the coop, with external retrieval lid and all. I had a rabbit hutch in the chicken run and eggs began to be laid in the hutch. I put a basket in there to soften the landing and now that all 9 of my girls are laying, they ALL lay their eggs in that one basket and basically fight over it all day long. Why won't they use the coop boxes? Or anywhere else for that matter? I've also set up other baskets around the coop and run to see if they would be used (in case I could change something up so that they would lay elsewhere) but only one girl has laid one egg inside the coop in a file cabinet drawer. ALL nest boxes have dummy eggs in them, although when I put them in the "real" nest boxes in the coop the girls eject them onto the coop floor! Ugh.

    I guess my question is: what happens when someone inevitably goes broody and needs the rabbit hutch? Do I just lock her in it with food and water during the morning and force the rest of the girls to find a new place to lay? Move a broody into the coop? I want them laying in the coop and I'm afraid if I took the rabbit hutch away they would boycott laying eggs, or find an equally unsuitable place to lay :( Any thoughts that could help me out? Will it be too stressful to take away entirely a favorite nesting place so that they will lay where I want them to?
     
  2. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Seems pretty standard, actually. We have 2 boxes for 6 hens and every one of them uses the same one.

    Have you tried locking them in the coop for a while? Often if you do that and put a fake egg or golf ball in the other nests, it'll encourage them to use that. Then take away the place you don't want them laying.
     
  3. melonies

    melonies New Egg

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    What are you placing inside your nesting boxes? I have 24 chickens and have gotten three eggs so far in random places. They keep pulling out the grass and anything else I put in the nesting boxes.[​IMG]
     
  4. FirewifeJess

    FirewifeJess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All of the nest boxes including the favorite have straw in them. They are literally all exactly the same, but they'll only use the one in the run, and none of the ones in the coop. I would prefer them to lay in the custom nest boxes of course! LOL

    Would it be too mean to put a feeder and waterer in the coop (usually in the run) in lock them in it for a few days just during their peak laying times? It's only 35s/f plus nest boxes and I have 11 chickens. Perfect for sleeping but not necessarily great for being cooped up!
     
  5. TXchickmum

    TXchickmum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have four nesting boxes for three chickens in one coop. -figured that each girl would have her own place. -gave them ample choices. Nope. All three of them lay in one nest box, and at times literally all of them climb in there at once. Go figure.....
     
  6. FirewifeJess

    FirewifeJess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not asking anyone why chickens share nest boxes. I know there's always going to be the favorite one. WILL IT STRESS OUT MY FLOCK IF I TAKE AWAY THEIR FAVORITE NEST BOX? Thanks, please help! I don't want to cause undue stress on them, but I'd like the rabbit hutch out of the chicken run so I can use it elsewhere.
     
  7. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Take away their favorite spot, and they'll find another one.... you just hope it's in another nest box and not in the feral cat house or in an old tire where you don't find them for many weeks. [​IMG]

    LOL
     
  8. FirewifeJess

    FirewifeJess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Haha! Yeah I bet! When I do take it away I think I will keep them confined to coop and run and make sure the only "hiding" places for nesting are inside the coop where they belong. Thanks!
     
  9. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Good luck! If they are used to having sun up to sun down range, you'll be sure to hear the cranky birds whine in those days. LOL
     
  10. tinkerbell13013

    tinkerbell13013 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oh, chicken minds! Probably I would lock the broody in the rabbit hutch and have the others lay elsewhere.[​IMG]
     

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