Strange Nesting Boxes

Housefullofhens

Chirping
Feb 22, 2019
29
96
56
Gibsonburg, Ohio
My husband & I spent a nice chunk of money making nice nesting boxes for our chickens. All they want to do in the nesting boxes is roost on the sides of them & poop in them. We started using cleaned out Tidy Cat liter buckets to carry feed in. We would occasionally leave a bucket or 2 of feed in the coop for easy access for us & we would just scoop the feed into the trough that we built. They will ONLY lay their eggs in these buckets. Needless to say, we now have 5 Tidy Cat buckets in our coop & the nice nesting boxes have now been removed. Does anyone else have weird places their chickens prefer to lay eggs?
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cavemanrich

Enabler
5 Years
Apr 6, 2014
12,002
31,491
1,127
Melrose Park Illinois
I don't know how your original nesting boxes looked, so maybe there was a GOOD REASON that the chickens did not use them.
Chickens do like a semi private environment when they lay egg. It can be compared to humans using the restroom somewhat.
If the nesting box is not sized correctly, the chickens will try to avoid it.
When the chickens are in that yellow bucket, it is easy to see that, chicken feels secure, and nothing is about to bother her.
What type of base did you have in your original nest-boxes?
My chickens do enjoy/prefer hay nesting. Other chickens may like wood shavings just as much.
WISHING YOU BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and :welcome
 

Housefullofhens

Chirping
Feb 22, 2019
29
96
56
Gibsonburg, Ohio
They were made of solid wood. The sizing was taken from the measurements we got from here & googling. They were more than plenty big. We had 4 of them that had “roof” on the top & 2 that didn’t. In the summer months we use straight pine shavings in the coop, as it gets colder we start to add straw. Once it was below 32 degrees we went to straight straw. We had them at one time on a large shelving unit to offer many different heights. When they wouldn’t use them, we got rid of the shelving unit & just put them on the ground. They have since been busted & used as fire wood to make room for more bucket. I don’t mind them using the buckets, just wondering if anyone found it strange or if their chickens prefer to lay in a strange place? The 12 hens laid a dozen a day in them all through the summer & fall & only went down to 8 eggs in our very cold winter (with losing 1 to a predator attack). I’m not complaining at all!
 

Spartan22

Crowing
5 Years
Sep 2, 2014
3,664
3,444
442
NE Ohio
My hens prefers Hilfiger towels and blankets In their nests before they will lay eggs. :D
Just kidding.

They are very smart creatures but they still have bird brains - safety instinct. If they feel that their future offsprings will not be safe in the nests you’ve made, they will scout and make their own. I have 14 nests for 30+ hens in different locations and made out of different materials. They use at least 8 of them and pile up eggs on 4 or 5 (I guess their fav) in the last 2 months some decided to make 2 more unreachable nest. One 2 feet up where I store their summer supplies behind the 4 nests, 2nd was 4’ up on a drawer I neglected to set up for nesting and some occasions find 1 or two eggs in the coop corners. Go figure!

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sumi

Égalité
Staff member
Premium member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
39,105
23,913
1,252
Tipperary, Ireland
I've had hens lay in the strangest places too, regardless of whether or not it was private lol And they had more than enough nest boxes, which did get used too...

Some alternative "nests" that comes to mind is our laundry basket, kitchen cupboard if we left the doors open, on our bed in the mornings, sometimes while my ex was still in it (talk about breakfast in bed?) An old washing machine...

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