When do you introduce the nesting boxes?


13 Years
Mar 29, 2009
Coastal Southern California
My girls are only 16 weeks old, so probably another month or so before we'll get an egg, I'm guessing.

Our coop is designed so the chickens spend a lot of time at counter height, as you can see from this photo:


Here is the nesting box set-up. We are planning to add a shelf above them to give it a more enclosed feeling for them and to add more storage:


They are very used to using the ladder to access the counter top and roosts. The nesting boxes are on a separate counter that we've thus far been using for storage. When it's time to introduce the girls to the nesting boxes I will set up the other ladder so they can explore.

Should I wait until I see the "squatting" behavior others have described? Or should I set it up now so they can poke around and get used to the area?
I'd suggest you put in the nesting boxes now, including fake eggs. It is possible they could lay as young as 16 weeks, but it is not likely. I got my first egg at 18 weeks.

If you put them in now, you will have time to see if you have problems and correct them, such as chickens wanting to sleep in the nesting boxes. The first egg will very likely be on the floor, as if the pullet did not know what was going on, but you do want them to learn to lay in the nesting boxes as soon as possible so you don't have to break bad habits.
Speckled Sussex, Australorp, Buff Orpington, and Delaware. 20 total pullets.

I have a second one that started laying at 19-1/2 weeks. I think the first one to lay was an Orpington and the new one a Delaware but I'm not sure.

This is the first egg. It had a yolk the size of a nickle. She laid about two eggs every three days for 11 days before the egg got to a normal size.

Ahh, thanks for the info. I'm pretty sure my Buff Orpington will be the first to lay of my group, too. My Delaware might be second. Hard to say. Neither she nor my EE seem to have much going on as far as a comb, which seems to be a harbinger. I've read that Light Brahmas are slow to develop so I'm not expecting anything from her for awhile...

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