The Ladies are Emptying Out the Nesting Boxes, Removing the Ceramic Eggs, and Laying In Different Areas!

ncomp

In the Brooder
May 26, 2021
8
31
36
Central California, US
Hi All,

Thank you for your support figuring out whether my chickens were pullets or cockerels. It was certainly nerve-wracking as someone who lives in a subdivision! All my ladies are happy and healthy. The four of seven that have actually begun laying (I figure the three others are waiting until spring?) used to do just fine laying in the nesting boxes. Recently, we noticed they were emptying out the shavings, so we removed the ceramic eggs when we refilled the shavings, hoping to give them some more room. Well, they started completely emptying out the nesting boxes of all shavings and opted to lay in the shavings in another part of the coop - I even found one in the run! Thinking I had messed up by removing the ceramic eggs, I replaced them, and added new shavings, but again the girls are removing all the shavings in the boxes. I'm about ready to pull my hair out over this. Did I make the nesting boxes feel "unsafe" by removing the ceramic eggs? Is there any way to get them to stop removing all the shavings, and to use the nesting boxes again?

I've also attached a photo of the nesting boxes, and the coop itself from right after we built it (before we put hardware cloth and a roof on the run). We've got four nesting boxes for our seven ladies. It's so strange!
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rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
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I'd add a much larger lip to the nest boxes so that they can not scratch the shavings out.
x2. It's absolutely normal for them to scratch around the nest to make it the way they want it, but a low lip like the one you have isn't keeping the materials in. Build 2-4" lip, and it'll help keep the nesting materials in place.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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ncomp

In the Brooder
May 26, 2021
8
31
36
Central California, US
I'd add a much larger lip to the nest boxes so that they can not scratch the shavings out.
Thank you for your reply. We did that this weekend, against my husband's better judgement that he thought it would make the boxes too high off the ground for them to enter, and I've discovered eggs in the boxes and the shavings staying put! Thanks so much for your help!
 

ncomp

In the Brooder
May 26, 2021
8
31
36
Central California, US
x2. It's absolutely normal for them to scratch around the nest to make it the way they want it, but a low lip like the one you have isn't keeping the materials in. Build 2-4" lip, and it'll help keep the nesting materials in place.
Thank you for the help. We added another 1x2 to the bottom of the boxes this weekend and it's already working marvels!
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
10,588
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North Carolina Sandhills
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There's no reason not to leave the fake eggs in the boxes all the time as a reminder that "this is the laying place". :)

My new layers are also enthusiastically throwing the bedding out of the nestboxes despite the 2" lip. I made it harder for them by cutting some long grass -- like 18+" long -- from the fencelines where I can't mow, drying it, and forming nest wreaths from it. That holds the shavings in place better.
 

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