When do I uncover the nesting boxes?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ChxSwaggah, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. ChxSwaggah

    ChxSwaggah Hatching

    May 25, 2014
    My 6 Buff Orpingtons are about 3 1/2 months old. They are out in the coop which is about 6x5 feet big, also have a small covered pen for them. Inside the coop, I have the 3 nesting boxes blocked off with a piece of plywood. I think I seem to have read here at BYC, that I should block the nesting boxes off so they don't move into them and get used to sleeping and pooping in them. Well my question is when do I unblock the openings to the nests? I figure that I have at least 2 more months before they are mature enough to lay, so when do I make the nesting boxes available?

    Also, just want to let anyone who happens onto this thread that I truly appreciate any advice given. This website and forum has been an unbelievable source of knowledge for a rookie chicken farmer that would have been struggling without all the info. I hate to jinx myself, but the experience so far has been so enjoyable and kinda relaxing thanks to all the contributing members of the forums. From the design of my coop, to my horizontal watering nipples on a five gallon bucket, and my five gallon bucket feeder, and all the info on treats! I really couldn't have done it without all of you!!!

    People at work think I'm nuts. [​IMG]
  2. eckowes

    eckowes In the Brooder

    May 22, 2014
    I'm new to all this chicken stuff too and I agree this place has been amazing!!! I want to know the answer to that same question so figured I'd chime in so I get the answer as well [​IMG]
  3. ChucktheChick

    ChucktheChick Songster

    Sep 24, 2012
    The coop
    As long as your nest boxes are close to the ground, and have perches up high, they will probably choose the higher option. I keep my nest boxes at six inches above the ground and I have roosts a lot higher. I keep it that way so it's low enough so they won't roost in them and high enough they have to jump yo to get to it. Hope this helps, this was my best try. Also, :welcome
  4. mortie

    mortie Songster

    Feb 16, 2014
    The Frozen Tundra
    If they are roosting now and have been for a few weeks you will be fine. If they are sleeping on the ground I would wait.
  5. blippitydar

    blippitydar In the Brooder

    Jul 20, 2018
    Baton Rouge LA
    Hi are you still around on this site? Mind if i ask what you eventually worked out with uncovering the nesting boxes with your buffs? My three are 4 1/2 months old now and I'm thinking they're getting close [but not sure really] and have no idea when to uncover. Thanks if you see this!
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Personally I'd open them today before it is too late. Many pullets have control of the egg laying process when they start and may start searching for a safe place to lay their eggs a week or so before the first one shows up. If you don't have your nests open they may not consider them. In essence you are teaching them to not lay in the nests. Some pullets seem to not have control of that process and may drop their first eggs anywhere, from the roosts or just walking around. As complicated as the entire egg laying process is it's surprising how many get it right to start with, but many do.

    My guess is that you are keeping the nests closed because you are afraid they will sleep in the nests. If your roosts are higher than the nests that's not very likely unless you don't have enough roosts or there is another problem. If they are already roosting at night on roosts higher than he nests it is highly unlikely they will switch to the nests.

    If you are going to have problems with your nests I'd want to know before they start laying, not after. If you find the bedding and a fake egg scratched out onto the coop floor that tells you that there is something wrong with your nest. When pullets are looking for a place to lay they often scratch to see how suitable it is. If they scratch the bedding and fake egg onto the coop floor that probably means your lip on the nest is not high enough and you need to raise it. I'd want to know that before I found a real egg on the coop floor.

    It's possible some chickens will sleep in your nests and poop in there. If they do there is a reason. If they are sleeping in the nests I'd want to know so I could fix it before I started getting poopy eggs.

    My suggestion is to put the bedding and a fake egg in the nests and get them open today. See if you have anything to worry about. If your roosts are higher than the nests you are probably fretting over nothing. If you do have a problem let us know and maybe we can help you fix it.
  7. blippitydar

    blippitydar In the Brooder

    Jul 20, 2018
    Baton Rouge LA
    Thank you for taking the time to reply! Yes, my concern with uncovering too early was to avoid a bad habit of them sleeping in there. They seem to be fluid in their sleeping habits; sometimes in the coop, sometimes on the roosts in the run - so I didn't want to give them yet another option. But I have uncovered them now and we'll see how it goes!
    Ridgerunner likes this.

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