1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

The Nesting Boxes are done

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cravenchx, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. cravenchx

    cravenchx Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,869
    12
    143
    Aug 7, 2011
    Piedmont of NC
    So, our nesting boxes are finished. Our ladys
    are 12 weeks old, so we have ~6 weeks before
    we expect our first egg...Brucilla may be ready before
    that. My question is - Do I prepare the boxes with
    shavings/straw now, or do I leave them empty til
    closer to laying time? Thanks for the help![​IMG]
     
  2. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    7,950
    269
    321
    Aug 20, 2010
    Colmesneil,TX
    I'd go ahead and put straw in them. Sometimes they like to "practice" before they start laying and putting straw and a golf ball in there will let them know that This is the place for when they do start to lay.
     
  3. JodyJo

    JodyJo Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,788
    24
    188
    Sep 27, 2010
    Colorado
    you can leave them empty, mine slept in mine for a while, then I had to break them of it...if you still have 6 weeks, I would leave them be.
    Are they higher than the roosts? If so, they will sleep in them anyhow...they need to be lower.
     
  4. cravenchx

    cravenchx Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,869
    12
    143
    Aug 7, 2011
    Piedmont of NC
    Yes, they are lower than the roosts, and I don't want
    to have to "break" them from sleeping in there. Actually, I don't
    have a perch in front of the boxes yet, so they really haven't
    even checked them out.
     
  5. JodyJo

    JodyJo Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,788
    24
    188
    Sep 27, 2010
    Colorado
    great, that sounds perfect, I would leave the perch off for a while yet...add it when they are just about ready to lay....! How exciting, its a long wait isn't it! [​IMG]
     
  6. cravenchx

    cravenchx Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,869
    12
    143
    Aug 7, 2011
    Piedmont of NC
    Quote:Oh my, yes. But we are closer than we
    were![​IMG]
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,935
    3,093
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It won't hurt anything to put the nesting material and fake eggs in. It does give you a better chance of trying it out to see if there are problems while you have time to fix the problem. A couple of examples.

    Some will probably go in the nest, exploring and scratching, looking for something to eat. Or maybe they just like to play. If you find the nesting material and fake eggs on the floor of the coop, that means you need a higher lip on the nesting box to hold that stuff in. Once they start laying, they will scratch and rearrange the nesting material to make a nice cozy nest. If the lip is not sufficient, a previously laid egg could wind up on the floor.

    Sometimes some of them do want to sleep in the nesting boxes. The nesting boxes don't have to be higher than the roosts for that to happen. Sometimes, when they are transitioning from sleeping on the floor to sleeping on the roosts, they spend a night or two in the nests. Some can get in the habit of sleeping there instead of continuing to the roosts. I have had the problem that the ones lowest in the pecking order get beat up so much by others on the roosts that they look for a safer place to roost. The nesting boxes can look like a pretty safe haven. This is after they have been on the roosts for a while. I've especially noticed this with broody raised chicks that are fully integrated with the flock and are used to roosting on the roosts with Mama to protect them. But after they are weaned, they may get picked on and find a safer place to roost. It has also happened with brooder raised chicks, but these are the ones that get stuck in the nesting boxes and never make it to the roosts because of the older bullies. It does not happen every time, but it has happened.

    So my suggestion is to go ahead and prepare them. You probably won't have issues, but in case you do, you have a chance to fix them.
     
  8. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

    812
    34
    133
    Apr 12, 2011
    NJ
    Another option is put a veil over the nests until they are ready to lay.

    My first pullet (an RIR) did not start until 23 weeks and the last (an EE) at 26 weeks. Actually, there are a Polish bantam and a Silkie that are not laying at 28 weeks, but I am not holding my breath.
     
  9. cravenchx

    cravenchx Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,869
    12
    143
    Aug 7, 2011
    Piedmont of NC
    Quote:I did think about this. What do you think the bedding should be?
    I was thinking shavings for the boxes, so as not to get them confused
    with the straw on coop floor.
     
  10. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

    812
    34
    133
    Apr 12, 2011
    NJ
    I use hay in the nest. Had used wood shavings in the coop but switched to sand.

    I have seen shavings used in nests. I think it is the snug feel and privacy of the nest that the chickens are looking for.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by