When do I need nesting boxes?

Katanahamon

Songster
Jun 25, 2021
590
1,392
186
Sorry you have been so misinformed. Not every pullet of a certain breed starts laying at the exact same age. Breeds have tendencies and may have average ages they start to lay, but some can start way earlier than average, some way later. Start date for individuals can be all over the place. Months apart.

About a week before they start laying many pullets start looking for a safe place to lay. Not all do that but many do. If the nests aren't available when they start looking you may be training them to lay somewhere other than your nests. The earliest I've had pullets start laying is 16 weeks. I'd have the nests ready before that.

There's another reason I want the nests open early. It may tell you if you are going to have problems so you can fix those problems before they start laying. Part of their looking for a safe nest often involves scratching. If you find the bedding or a fake egg on the coop floor it may be telling you that you need to raise the lip on your nest to stop them scratching real eggs out when they show up. If they start sleeping in the nests it tells you in time that you can ix that problem before you get poopy eggs. I don't see any benefit in delaying putting the nests in there. I like to fix things before they become a problem, it's less stressful.

Fake eggs do not guarantee that a pullet will lay in the nest. It can help show them that it is a good place to lay but it doesn't guarantee they will lay there. Look at it as an encouragement. I saw a fake egg gets scratched out of a nest onto the coop floor after they had been laying a few months. A hen laid an egg next to that fake egg. When I put that fake egg back in the nest (and raised the lip a bit) she went back to laying in a nest. I've seen hens "hide" a nest, lay somewhere other than in the nest. Other hens start laying in that new nest. Having a fake egg in the nest did not stop that hen from deciding to start laying somewhere else and did not stop other hens from following her. I'm convinced that other eggs in the nests can encourage them to lay there but it won't guarantee that they will. Some seem to like laying in there own nest. Each chicken is different.

I use fake eggs, golf balls. I keep one in each nest all the time. I don't see where it hurts. Many people have flocks where practically all the eggs are laid in the same nest. I usually have one nest that is more popular (and which nest that is can change) but I think my fake eggs get the eggs more scattered into other nests. Not that all of the eggs being laid in one nest is a problem, but some people seem to think it is.

The way I see it fake eggs do not hurt and in some cases can help. I just don't see the harm.
My first girl just started laying..she spent three days scoping out a corner of the coop, just outside the lovely nest boxes, she pulled fibers out of the nearest nest box, complete with its brown ceramic egg. After one egg laid in the corner, less than 24 hours later she made the connection and was in the nest box. So far, three days in a row..I’ll see today if she continues her delightful streak. I left my boxes boarded up until week 16, given how distrustful they seem, I could have opened them sooner, however..she still only laid one egg outside the box..I’m thinking that constantly having a ceramic egg in each nest reinforces the inedibility factor..every time they touch it with their beak it says “not good food.”
 
Jul 22, 2021
251
524
148
Sorry you have been so misinformed. Not every pullet of a certain breed starts laying at the exact same age. Breeds have tendencies and may have average ages they start to lay, but some can start way earlier than average, some way later. Start date for individuals can be all over the place. Months apart.

About a week before they start laying many pullets start looking for a safe place to lay. Not all do that but many do. If the nests aren't available when they start looking you may be training them to lay somewhere other than your nests. The earliest I've had pullets start laying is 16 weeks. I'd have the nests ready before that.

There's another reason I want the nests open early. It may tell you if you are going to have problems so you can fix those problems before they start laying. Part of their looking for a safe nest often involves scratching. If you find the bedding or a fake egg on the coop floor it may be telling you that you need to raise the lip on your nest to stop them scratching real eggs out when they show up. If they start sleeping in the nests it tells you in time that you can ix that problem before you get poopy eggs. I don't see any benefit in delaying putting the nests in there. I like to fix things before they become a problem, it's less stressful.

Fake eggs do not guarantee that a pullet will lay in the nest. It can help show them that it is a good place to lay but it doesn't guarantee they will lay there. Look at it as an encouragement. I saw a fake egg gets scratched out of a nest onto the coop floor after they had been laying a few months. A hen laid an egg next to that fake egg. When I put that fake egg back in the nest (and raised the lip a bit) she went back to laying in a nest. I've seen hens "hide" a nest, lay somewhere other than in the nest. Other hens start laying in that new nest. Having a fake egg in the nest did not stop that hen from deciding to start laying somewhere else and did not stop other hens from following her. I'm convinced that other eggs in the nests can encourage them to lay there but it won't guarantee that they will. Some seem to like laying in there own nest. Each chicken is different.

I use fake eggs, golf balls. I keep one in each nest all the time. I don't see where it hurts. Many people have flocks where practically all the eggs are laid in the same nest. I usually have one nest that is more popular (and which nest that is can change) but I think my fake eggs get the eggs more scattered into other nests. Not that all of the eggs being laid in one nest is a problem, but some people seem to think it is.

The way I see it fake eggs do not hurt and in some cases can help. I just don't see the harm.
Nobody has given me any info directly, most of what I've found is from reading about different breeds online. I had assumed age for laying was in general terms but like all living things we tend to reach maturity at different times though I didn't know it could be that early. I'll get nesting boxes up by 15 weeks in case I have any early layers. 5 are in a 4×8 ft coop, we'd planned to have a second one built since I have 12 more chick being introduced but 9 of them have turned out to be boys so everything is on hold until I figure out what to do with them if the store wont take them back. They were labeled pullets so somebody messed up pretty bad here and I definitely can't keep them all.
I would build them as soon as you can. we covered our nesting boxes up until we found our first egg. We did not want them hanging out and pooping in there. The next day they started laying in the nesting box. I prefer the nesting boxes that are built onto the outside of the coop. Many of the nesting boxes inside the coop create more flat surfaces for the chickens to poop on. the only flat surfaces in my Hen house are the roosting bars and the floor. Since the floor is covered in deep litter it is simply to clean out.
View attachment 2808073 View attachment 2808074
I want them outside also, the coop is just tall enough for me to walk in and stang without bumping my head, just have to duck at the doorway but I don't want to be climbing in to get eggs. The last 3 weeks my husband's only worked 1 day a week because of rain so I'm looking at building a simple box with the scrap wood I have on hand until work picks up and I can get the materials to build exterior nesting boxes.
Overall, lots of helpful advice here from everyone. Hopefully everything goes well.
 

suburbanfarmermi

Songster
Aug 11, 2021
103
362
116
Jenison, Michigan. USA
My Coop
My Coop
We built 3 nesting boxes for our 6 chickens. The far back box is the smallest and as I expected this is where we get most of our eggs. Sometimes I see two chickens crammed in there at the same time. We put a fake egg in the middle box and now we sometimes find eggs in the middle box. The biggest box was made big enough to house a heated waterer for the winter time. Not sure that it is a good idea to have the water inside but I left this as an option. I also thought about sealing it off and using the space for storage as they only lay their eggs in the two places. Also we opted to put the out side access door in the side of the coop instead of lifting the roof/lid of the nesting box. It seemed easier to seal up and also given the height of our raised coop it is a great height to give easy access to collecting eggs for everyone in the family.

Good luck on your build!



1629769270610.png


1629769920542.png
 

Attachments

  • 1629769866911.png
    1629769866911.png
    1.1 MB · Views: 1

suburbanfarmermi

Songster
Aug 11, 2021
103
362
116
Jenison, Michigan. USA
My Coop
My Coop
I want them outside also, the coop is just tall enough for me to walk in and stang without bumping my head, just have to duck at the doorway but I don't want to be climbing in to get eggs. The last 3 weeks my husband's only worked 1 day a week because of rain so I'm looking at building a simple box with the scrap wood I have on hand until work picks up and I can get the materials to build exterior nesting boxes.
Overall, lots of helpful advice here from everyone. Hopefully everything goes well.

If your looking for some cheap simple solutions YouTube has lots of videos of people making nesting boxes out of milk crates, 5 gallon buckets, rubber made containers etc...

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=cheap+nesting+boxes
 
Jul 22, 2021
251
524
148
Jul 22, 2021
251
524
148
I have these bins the kids like to collect scrap wood in for building blocks I was thinking about putting in there. Idk if I should leave them stacked or separate them and make a top or leave them open? Then they'd be off the floor a little but away from roosting bars so they wouldn't poop in them unless they climbed in.
20210823_221932_HDR.jpg
 

Carson213

Songster
Aug 31, 2020
699
1,047
171
West Coast
i use back roll outs. i don't use fake eggs...they all figure it out eventually. you'll get some eggs on the floor. personally, i just toss those in the field.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
17,850
35,751
1,062
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
I have these bins the kids like to collect scrap wood in for building blocks I was thinking about putting in there. Idk if I should leave them stacked or separate them and make a top or leave them open? Then they'd be off the floor a little but away from roosting bars so they wouldn't poop in them unless they climbed in. View attachment 2809359
When stacked, what's the height clearance between the floor of lower bin and the bin above? Might be too low but hard to tell without a solid reference for height.

They could be used un-stacked for sure, as long as you put something on the bottom to prevent chicken toes from getting caught in the grid. Something like used feedbags folded to fit would do the trick, and you can toss them if they ever get soiled.
 
Jul 22, 2021
251
524
148
When stacked, what's the height clearance between the floor of lower bin and the bin above? Might be too low but hard to tell without a solid reference for height.

They could be used un-stacked for sure, as long as you put something on the bottom to prevent chicken toes from getting caught in the grid. Something like used feedbags folded to fit would do the trick, and you can toss them if they ever get soiled.
I'll check the measurements in a bit. To my eye it does look like too tight of a squeeze. As for covering the bottom, would the sides along the bottom need to be covered too or just the area's they would be stepping on? I threw away the feed bags already and store it in 5 gallon buckets, of course I'll get more next month but cardboard should work fine right? I've been using pine shavings in the coop, do you use the same for nesting boxes or is there something better?
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
17,850
35,751
1,062
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
I'll check the measurements in a bit. To my eye it does look like too tight of a squeeze. As for covering the bottom, would the sides along the bottom need to be covered too or just the area's they would be stepping on? I threw away the feed bags already and store it in 5 gallon buckets, of course I'll get more next month but cardboard should work fine right? I've been using pine shavings in the coop, do you use the same for nesting boxes or is there something better?
Cardboard would be fine too. If possible cover some of the sides but the bottom is the main issue. The only reason I recommend feed bags is because it's an easy way to reuse them and I don't feel bad at all if I need to toss one that's soiled, and for a hard bottomed nest box (wood) it provides extra padding for eggs as well, all for free.

I do use wood shavings (aspen) in the nest boxes. I'm out of shavings now so probably switching to hemp after this as I don't use shavings for anything else.

Oh and as for the measurements, anything shorter than 12" between the two and I'd say it's too short for standard birds.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom