Training to use Nesting Box?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CarolB865, Aug 30, 2016.

  1. CarolB865

    CarolB865 Chillin' With My Peeps

    81
    2
    51
    May 10, 2016
    Knoxville, TN
    This is my first flock, all around 16 weeks old and looking forward to eggs sometime in the future.

    Mine free range in my yard which includes some overgrown, wooded areas. I'm concerned that when the girls do start laying they'll be everywhere but the lovely nesting boxes in their coop. I don't want to leave them cooped up all day but wonder if there's a way to get them to lay in the nesting boxes rather than under a bush somewhere?
     
  2. 8MerryHens

    8MerryHens Chillin' With My Peeps

    80
    24
    51
    Jun 27, 2016
    Iowa
    I worried about that too. I have a similar situation with lot's of cover/woods/etc., they are free ranging most of the day, yet when the first of my mixed flock started to lay, they used the nesting boxes from day one. I have 2 laying regularly but several others are paying short visits to the nesting boxes so hopefully the daily count will increase soon. They seem to like the security of their coop and getting away from the others when they are ready to lay. I had golf balls in each nests to help them associate the nesting boxes with "eggs". Hopefully yours will cooperate as well as mine have so far.
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    17,261
    5,204
    476
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    As long as they feel comfortable and safe in your coop and it's not over crowded they should lay in it. Keep fake eggs in your nestboxes, and make sure your nests are a good size, easy to get in and out and slightly darkened, make sure they aren't facing a window. I've had lots of new hens and most lay in the boxes or very close to them.
     
  4. CarolB865

    CarolB865 Chillin' With My Peeps

    81
    2
    51
    May 10, 2016
    Knoxville, TN
    I need to get some fake eggs then! I have curtains on the nesting boxes and they are definitely dark and secluded. They have been in them before so hoping they rather have a little privacy rather than a public display!
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    34,596
    7,804
    596
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I don't buy the 'privacy' thing..chickens are not 'modest' as humans might be....but they do want to feel safe.
    They don't need darkness either, my nests face a bank of windows and they have no problem using the nests.
    But my nests are roomy, 14 x 14 x 16 and have a 10" diameter entrance hole,
    helps keep the bedding and eggs(real and fake) in the nest no matter how rowdy the new layers get trying to dig thru the bottom of nest - haha!
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    17,261
    5,204
    476
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I have two separate blocks of nestboxes in two separate pens, my hens generally prefer to use the ones in the darker pen, but some choose the ones where it is lighter, but as a whole the darkened ones are preferred, that's how I come to that conclusion, but it doesn't seem to be a deal breaker.
     
  7. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    I never use fake eggs....Chickens figure it out on their own...Sometimes I have a hen that likes a corner in the coop over the boxes? I just collect the eggs and never really think that its wrong? I had a young pullet who laid out side in the run for two weeks and then she started using the boxes.....They seem to know what to do...
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by