When do I need nesting boxes?

Jul 22, 2021
251
524
148
My oldest chicks are 10 weeks old and we built the coop without nesting boxes because we were short of materials but had planned to add them on eventually. I was planning to make a basic box on the floor until we can build the external boxes. 3 are speckled sussex which start laying at 20 weeks and I think a blue orpington which starts at 24 weeks but I wasn't sure how soon I need a nest box or wait until they're almost ready to start laying?
 
Jul 22, 2021
251
524
148
My Bresse hens started laying at 4 months, but my other heritage breeds started laying at 5 months. The ceramic egg is better than the plastic ones and all it takes is one in each nest box to train them where to lay their eggs. I have 9 hens and 3 nest boxes.
I was thinking of using golf balls cause that's what I have currently and fake eggs are out of our budget at the moment. As far as fake eggs go, do I always leave them in the nest boxes or can I take them out after they learn where to lay? Haven't seen that mentioned anywhere.
 

CNJ

Songster
Oct 12, 2020
589
998
196
I took mine out, but put it back to encourage the new hens to lay in other boxes. They like to lay their eggs with other eggs, so some boxes are empty. It doesn't hurt to keep the fake eggs in the nest boxes. I took my plastic eggs out when I started finding them being kicked out.
 
Jul 22, 2021
251
524
148
I took mine out, but put it back to encourage the new hens to lay in other boxes. They like to lay their eggs with other eggs, so some boxes are empty. It doesn't hurt to keep the fake eggs in the nest boxes. I took my plastic eggs out when I started finding them being kicked out.
I have 12 chicks that are 4 weeks old now that are being introduced, so far 9 have turned out to be cockerels so I'll be getting more to replace them as soon as I've gotten rid of the boys but it's good to know the fakes need to be in for new layers. I assumed once the older ones learned where to lay, any new ones would just follow their lead.
 

Chickassan

Wattle Fondler
May 23, 2017
15,570
78,148
1,327
Greenville S.C, formerly Noneya U.S.A
They do.
I'm not sure why folks push the fake eggs so hard if you already have layers.
Truthfully I've not had need of them period, chickens just figured it out on their own.:)
I have 12 chicks that are 4 weeks old now that are being introduced, so far 9 have turned out to be cockerels so I'll be getting more to replace them as soon as I've gotten rid of the boys but it's good to know the fakes need to be in for new layers. I assumed once the older ones learned where to lay, any new ones would just follow their lead.
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,166
17,073
706
USA
As far as fake eggs go, do I always leave them in the nest boxes or can I take them out after they learn where to lay? Haven't seen that mentioned anywhere.

I assumed once the older ones learned where to lay, any new ones would just follow their lead.

I tend to put a fake egg in each nestbox and leave it there. It does not harm, and saves me having to store the fake egg somewhere else. So any hen or pullet that is looking for a good place to lay can see that this nestbox is "safe" (has an egg) even if she's the first one to lay that morning, or I've already collected the real eggs. Also, any chicken that is thinking about eating eggs can peck the fake egg and find it boring.

Whether fake eggs make any difference seems to depend on the flock. Some chickens lay in the nestboxes just fine without them, some chickens lay elsewhere even with fake eggs in the box, and some chickens actually care.

I know of two particular hens (belong to a friend) that were egg eaters, until they were given an egg-shaped stone. I'm told they spent hours every day pecking at that stone, before they finally gave up, and after that they didn't eat eggs either. Most cases of egg-eating seem unaffected by fake eggs.

If I have a broody hen and want her to adopt chicks, I'll let her sit on several fake eggs for three weeks and then give her chicks. I swipe fake eggs from other nestboxes for this, and stick them back afterward.

Fake eggs may not be terribly important, but they last practically forever, so once you have them it's easy enough to just leave them in the nests. It's probably not worth going out and buying fake eggs unless you actually have a problem, or unless you just want to. And yes, if you already have golf balls, those work fine too.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
34,637
282,351
1,642
NY Southern Tier
My Coop
My Coop
They do.
I'm not sure why folks push the fake eggs so hard if you already have layers.
Truthfully I've not had need of them period, chickens just figured it out on their own.:)
Agreed. The only thing I use the fake eggs for now is grafting a broody to the incubation nest.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom