What to line the boxes with?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by EsKezzy, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. EsKezzy

    EsKezzy Out Of The Brooder

    54
    2
    43
    Apr 30, 2013
    Eastern San Diego, CA
    We had planned on using straw, but the chickens keep scraping it all out into the coop, until there is nothing left in their boxes. We've not had any issues with them breaking the eggs in the box, but I am concerned about the future.

    While I'm asking about laying -- we have one hen who keeps laying her eggs outside of the coop, in the yard. I find them in the side yard, cracked. I'm not sure why my other chickens all knew where to go to lay their eggs but this one seems clueless. We kept them in the coop today, in hopes she'd lay in there. So far, she hasn't layed. How do you teach a chicken where to lay an egg?

    thanks.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,123
    3,323
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    How high is the lip across the front of the nest box? I had an issue with them scratching nesting and eggs out until I raised the lip.

    Is that hen that is laying outside laying in the same spot every day or is she randomly dropping an egg? It’s not that unusual for a hen that is just starting to lay to just drop an egg wherever she is. Once she learns to control the egg laying process she should then lay in a nest.

    If she is laying in the same spot every day, she has decided that is her nest. They are creatures of habit and you may have a challenge breaking her of that one. Don’t leave the eggs out there. That will only encourage her.

    I keep a golf ball in my nests all the time. I find the fake eggs like that help tell them where to lay. So that is my first suggestion, put a golf ball, plastic Easter egg, ceramic egg, something like that to show her when to lay. That probably won’t solve the problem since the others are already laying there and showing her where to lay, but it’s a start.

    My next thought, do what you are doing. Lock her in the coop until she lays an egg. Get her in the habit of laying in there. I’ve had to leave the hens locked in the coop for a week straight to retrain one. They can be pretty stubborn.

    I made my nests so I could lock a chicken in there if I wanted to. That’s actually come in handy a few times. A few times I’ve had a hen that was laying on the coop floor instead of in a nest. I’d keep checking and when I caught her on her nest on the floor, I’d lock her in a nest until she laid. That normally took about a half hour and doing that once was all it took. But I had one that was stubborn. It took her 3 hours to lay her egg locked in that nest and the next day she was back on the floor. I did it again and again it took close to 3 hours for her to lay that egg, but after that she laid in the right nest.

    Raising the lip 2 or 3 inches might be an easy fix to the first problem. That second problem may not be real easy. Good luck!
     
  3. EsKezzy

    EsKezzy Out Of The Brooder

    54
    2
    43
    Apr 30, 2013
    Eastern San Diego, CA
    Thanks.
    Yes, it's not very high - maybe 1 inch. We will try that this weekend.

    The one laying outside was the last one to start laying... She has only layed 3 eggs that we know of (2 outside of the coop). She is our only hen who lays green eggs, so we know that they are her's. We normally let them all roam around, but I guess we'll try keeping them in for a few days. Yes, I found them each time in the same place- right in the middle of the sidewalk on the side yard. I'm not sure they aren't getting kicked out or picked up by our dog though.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by