Trying to ensure my new hen,a Black Australorp, will lay in the nesting boxes in the coop.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jjdent, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. jjdent

    jjdent Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 20, 2013
    Rustburg, VA
    I've made a small and I believe well-designed coop. (I had some experience building coops professionally long before I considered owning chickens.) I have only the Black Australorp hen and rooster right now. I'm wanting to use fertilized eggs to begin gradually building an Australorp flock. I've got a large free-range area. It is fenced in, however, due to neighboring dogs and too-close neighbors who would not appreciate them wandering into their yard. I recently noticed the hen squatting frequently. The rooster has not yet caught on to what he is supposed to do, however. The hen has the really developed and red comb and wattles. Has not made the laying song yet, however. She is actually really, really quiet. Having noticed these other indicators, and having been told by the lady from whom I purchased them that the hen was about due to begin laying at any time, I reduced their free-range area down to a 100ft square temporary fenced area immediately surrounding the coop to narrow down the hen's laying options to in the coop, in the nesting boxes, and under the coop, really, as opposed to in the surrounding bushes and in the fenced-in wooded area included in their free-range area. I would really like to be sure she lays in the boxes attached to the coop. I put golf balls in the boxes and have a straw-leaf-wood chip mix in them, the same I use in the main coop area. Is there anything I could do to further increase the likelihood I'll be able to get her to lay in the boxes on the first time, thereby ensuring she'll be likely to continue laying there in the future?
     
  2. ellie32526

    ellie32526 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 21, 2012
    North Texas
    I have not had any trouble with my hens laying outside of the nest boxes. I have 5 BAs and 8 others. They all use the same three nest boxes, taking turns. I did have a couple times when it was beastly hot that they dropped one in the chicken yard, but I put some fans inside and got some air circulating and they were fine again. I would say your hens will do fine. Sometimes we worry like 'Mother Hens' for nothing. They do what comes natural without our help. We just need to provide a nice clean dry place protected from predators and extreme temps and they can do the rest.
     
  3. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    Aug 29, 2012
    Australia
    I would take the wood chip out and just use straight straw to make it both more attractive as a nest site (they like being able to adjust the straw about) and so its different from the floor.

    They won't poop where they lay so there is no need for the absorbency of the wood shavings etc.

    As long as its a nice dark spot they should find it. Mine like to be totally enclosed and ignore anything I've tried without a roof/top.

    Good luck!
     
  4. jjdent

    jjdent Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 20, 2013
    Rustburg, VA
    Well thank you guys. It's my first go at chickens, so I just want to be as sure as I can be that they'll use the boxes. Put a lot of work into it. Haha.
     

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