What’s wrong w/nest boxes?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Beakrr, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. Beakrr

    Beakrr In the Brooder

    Mar 12, 2019
    Please share your thoughts about these nest boxes. The hens don’t use them. I’m new to this. The chicken tractor was given to me. I didn’t design it. Before I start a ‘remodel’ I’d like to hear what you think. Sorry for the mess. It’s been very cold! The hens lay in the two farthest boxes occasionally, but they’ve never sat on a nest. They also lay on the ground down in between the 2x4’s. I had one hen get broody down on the ground in early January. She sat for ~12 days then gave up. The 15 degree temps were no good!

    They lay on my boat. They lay in the corner of the shed. They lay under the Ford tractor.
    208DDCB8-C327-4B63-B7C7-3951DBFE9A39.jpeg 208DDCB8-C327-4B63-B7C7-3951DBFE9A39.jpeg 721C8E12-48E2-481F-BE69-118BD724E053.jpeg 0AB6E97D-3703-4627-B2EF-F3D4839447DD.jpeg
    Do they hate the nest boxes because of the wire bottoms? I’m thinking about putting plywood down in the bottom and leaving the back 3” exposed for cleanout. Shove some straw or pine shavings in there and see what happens. I’m also thinking about laying some plywood over the entire floor and I don’t know what to keep them from laying down there. All thoughts are welcomed. Thanks
    chickenmeadow and Mimi’s 13 like this.
  2. crazy4ChickensNducks

    crazy4ChickensNducks Songster

    Dec 16, 2018
    west, michigan
    The hens are very uncomfortable laying on that mesh, I would rip it out and replace with plywood and put lots of pine shavings or straw in their. You might have to put in a few golf balls or fake eggs to entice them to lay there again once you make improvements
  3. Mimi’s 13

    Mimi’s 13 fuhgettaboutit

    Jan 6, 2018
    Centre, AL
    I would buy some of the plastic nest box “trays” to put in those boxes. Then put some kind of nesting material in the nests. I believe once you do that the hens will be happy with them. I don’t really think the “open” concept of the nests are favorable.
  4. pibb

    pibb Chirping

    Dec 12, 2018
    Knoxville, TN
    I'm guessing its because of the wire bottom. See where they made a nest on the ground where the staw is kinda swirly. Put some straw a few nests to where it covers the wire to test. They may roost there if that is the highest point so you will need roosting bars higher than the nest if that is the case.
  5. wamtazlady

    wamtazlady Crowing

    Jul 18, 2013
    Kalispell MT
    I agree with covering the mesh bottom. I noticed that the 2 nesting boxes they do occasionally use are darker than the other boxes. Chickens like a sense of privacy when they lay. You might add a partial curtain to each box to give them that privacy.
  6. 7acres

    7acres Songster

    Feb 7, 2012
    You might just cut some squares of plywood and lay in the bottom, put in some nesting material and fake eggs or golf balls as suggested.
    chickenmeadow and Rocky-Acres like this.
  7. puffypoo

    puffypoo Like Machine

    Oct 3, 2015
    I agree, it is definitely the wire mesh bottoms that deter them.
    ColtHandorf likes this.
  8. Thejperez

    Thejperez Crowing

    Oct 7, 2014
    At the very least put nesting materials in the them. Most birds make nests, that includes chickens. That's why they're laying on the ground, it feels safe to them.

    Think like a chicken! You have to lay just about every day. You don't want to be eaten and you want a nice, insulating, covered area to lay in. Something with mesh underneath is very discouraging, wire cages are actually used for breaking broody's.

    For right now add some nesting materials so they associate them with laying and add plywood bottom when remodeling.
  9. imnukensc

    imnukensc Songster

    May 22, 2017
    SC Midlands
    There's no nesting material in those boxes. Hens aren't going to lay on wire mesh. FWIW, those PVC roosts should be changed to wood, also.
  10. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Songster

    Jan 24, 2016
    What is the size of that coop? It looks like it has enough nest boxes for about 20 hens but is no where near big enough for that many, at least by the looks. Pics can be deceiving on sizes though.....
    puffypoo likes this.

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