when to give girls acess to nesting boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Irmasmom, Jul 4, 2016.

  1. Irmasmom

    Irmasmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello! I have 15 hens. Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, White Leghorns, Ameri-Auracana, Buff Orphington, Black Austrolorp, Jersey Giant. They were all hatched approx April 1st 2016. (they are about 13weeks now) I have had the nest boxes blocked off this whole time so they didnt get into a habit of sleeping in them but Im not sure when I should allow access and start providing bedding for them. I have the flooring as pine shavings.. I didnt know if pine shavings are ok in the boxes also or should I use something else? Any help is appreciated! Thank you!!
     
  2. CluckerCottage

    CluckerCottage Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG]Some of my 14 week old pullets appear to be coming into lay.
    Red faces & combs, squatting, etc. It's mainly my Silver Laced Wyandottes and my White Leghorns.
    Just yesterday we uncovered the 4 nest boxes in their side of the coop.
    Those particular girls are going in and out of them, making that deep cluck and checking them out pretty good.
    We shall see what they do in time.

    Your shavings are fine for nest box material.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Are they roosting yet? Are the roosts higher than the nests? Are they currently sleeping higher than the nests?

    I want the nests open well before they start to lay. If they are going to be sleeping in the nests I want to know before they start laying so I can fix the problem before I get poopy eggs. I also want them to start out laying in the nests, not somewhere else where I have to break them of another bad habit.

    Most of the time if your roosts are higher than the nests and you have plenty of roost space, they don’t sleep in the nests. One reason you read about it being a problem so much on here is that a lot of people with just a few hens have those tiny prefab coops with the roosts the same level as the nests or they don’t provide enough roost space. Integrating younger chickens with an established flock can also cause this. With 15 pullets the same age I don’t think you have those problems, but I don’t know what your coop looks like or how it is arranged.

    I could go through a whole lot of “if’s”. Instead I suggest you open the nests and see what happens. If you have a problem get back with us. You can PM me if I don’t see your post.

    We use all kinds of materials for nesting material, wood shavings, straw, hay, carpet, rags, Spanish moss, shredded paper, one guy uses a feed bag made out of some kind of cloth. Your pine shavings should be fine, just don’t use cedar shavings. Cedar might cause problems.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Irmasmom

    Irmasmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes, the are roosting and sleeping higher than the nesting boxes. They are in a 12z12 horse stall with an outside attached run. They have a ladder type roost and all fight over the top bar. They've been "burrowing" nest like areas in the shavings lately so I wondered if this was a nesting behavior. I guess I'll have to open them and see what happens! Thanks
     
  5. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If they are already roosting, yes, open the boxes and put in some fake eggs (golf balls work too).

    I put hay in my nest boxes.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    At 13 weeks I’d guess they are either dirt bathing or just scratching for food or grit. I’ve had pullets lay as young as 16 weeks, some people report 15 weeks, but that’s pretty unusual. There is no telling when yours will start, they lay when they lay, but you should have a bit to go.
     

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