Training Free Range Pullets to Use a Nest?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MayberrySaint, May 12, 2007.

  1. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

    Mar 7, 2007
    Mount Airy, NC
    It is still a few months until our first egg but as I watch my pullets range all over my backyard, I have become increasingly concerned that they won't use the community nest in the coop. What will keep them from laying under every bush in the yard. They already love to hang out in the brush and high weeds and only venture into the coop for a few minutes to eat and drink and then to sleep at dusk.
    Is there anything I can do to prepare or train the pullets to lay in the nest? Will I have to confine them to the coop in the mornings when they start to lay so they find the nest? Any opinions or experience would be appreciated...

  2. jmantoo1

    jmantoo1 Songster

    Apr 11, 2007
    hi when i train my chicken to lay in nests i put fake eggs in the nest and they will use them mostly you may have some that will lay out side then it it hide and seack:D
  3. fowlweatherfriends

    fowlweatherfriends Songster

    Mar 14, 2007
    The Sunny South
    Hi, Here's what worked for us:

    Kept pullets in the coop with covered kitty litter boxes full of oat straw. They weren't allowed to free range for a couple of weeks and they regularly started laying eggs in boxes/nests. Started freeranging them and leave the coop doors open. They will go back to the boxes to lay every time. I just had one of my girls run in the coop a few minutes ago. She ran in, got in the box, no egg, got out. Came back a minute later and "plop", dropped her egg and ran out again to gather her freerange yard goodies [​IMG].

    I think if you (and the pullets) can stand it, try cooping them up with the boxes or nests you want them to use. Try it for at least a week if they are smart and co-operative [​IMG]. Try it for two if they are less intelligent and stuborn.

    Don't know if this helps, but mine are gamebirds and they are as regular as clockwork about laying and going into the coop at night.
  4. SandraChick

    SandraChick Songster

    both previous suggestions work...however with my EE's they love to go hide their eggs.....despite the fact they've all laid their eggs in the coop before.

    The rooster also is the rooster, his job is to find good laying areas and then he lovingly shows the girls the good hidey places he's found.

    But one thing a chicken can't help but do, is lay where other eggs are already. Wether it's part of their unconscious trying to make a "clutch" or the thought that the other egg is doing well (from predators and such) so it must be a good place to lay, I don't know.

    I keep a golf ball in my nest boxes... They really do think it's an egg! Also, golfballs are great for breaking the egg eating habit that some chickens can I think of it as a two for one punch..."lay here chickie chickie" and "ouch, it's not worth pecking at an egg"


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