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training to use nest boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Oscgrr, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. Oscgrr

    Oscgrr In the Brooder

    May 14, 2010
    Cape Cod
    Please forgive me, I have a terrible memory and I don't recall if I posted this question already. Can a chicken be trained to use a nest box? They're using the boxes now but they don't have any options. My birds just began laying and I've been keeping them confined to the run so I don't have to search the woods or my yard for eggs. I tend to believe that if any eggs were left in the woods overnight it might entice predators to concentrate their attention on the run and coop and I don't want my dogs developing a taste for fresh eggs. If I keep the chickens in the run and coop until they are all laying on a regular basis will they be trained toi the boxes? If I let them out to free-range (they love it and I like the pest control) are they likely to return to the coop to lay an egg or are they more likely to just lay wherever they are when the urge hits? I know there are no absolute answers, I'm just looking for a tendancy.


  2. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Songster

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    I always supervise my chickens when they free range. I've seen them go back to the coop & lay.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I think your question is that some are laying and some have not started. If you let them free range, will the ones not laying now start laying in the coop when they start laying.

    I've been in that situation. Most of mine lay in the coop when they start. I keep a fake egg in the nests at all times to give them an idea where to lay. Most days I let them out of the coop and run to free range from about an hour after sunrise until they go to bed at night. Almost all of mine start laying in the nests, at least once they stop dropping those first eggs from the roost or on the ground. I have had a few start to lay somewhere else later, not initially. In some cases, they seek out a hidden place to start a nest but I think in some cases, one accidentally drops a surprise egg and starts laying there or another one sees it and figures that is good place for a nest.

    I try to keep all eggs not in the coop picked up so others don't see them and think it is a good place to lay. That is not always easy. When I find that one is laying somewhere other than where I want them to, I lock them in the coop and run for two or three days to break them of that habit and get them used to laying in the nests. I don't have to know which one is laying out there. I just lock them all up.

    So the tendency of mine is to lay where the big girls are laying when they start.

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