when to open nestboxes?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Monstro, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. Monstro

    Monstro Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our nestboxes are currently closed off since our oldest 2 of 4 are just now 6 months.

    Both of them are getting the redder comb, but i dont think its there yet. Only one thinks about squatting and thats only been the last couple days.

    Should i open nestboxes since its nice out this weekend or wait a bit still?
     
  2. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

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    I think you should go ahead and open up and outfit your nest boxes. Sounds like you can expect some eggs soon and they need time to discover and explore the nests.
     
  3. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd open them now. Even before they actually start laying, they will start to check out the nest boxes. They may fluff around in them, perhaps even poop a little. They spend some time checking it out and getting used to the idea of laying eggs in the nest box. If you have them, you could put an egg, golfball or fake egg in each of the boxes. We've never done that and usually it's not a problem. If you wait until they actually start laying, you may or may not have some difficulty teaching them to use the nest boxes because they weren't an option in the weeks leading up to their actual first egg.

    We did have one pullet start to lay a month ago or so. She was laying on the ground in the (covered) run next to the feeder even though four nest boxes were available. One day I finally caught her sitting there (trying to lay) and I picked her up, put her in a nest box and she's laid there ever since. Most pullets will take to it right away without any such intervention, but some of them may need some coaxing. Out of the 30+ layers we've raised so far, we've only had about 3 or 4 that ever laid outside of the nest boxes and were able to train even those to use them.
     
  4. Monstro

    Monstro Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you much. We did open and prepare them today. No one explored while we were out there, im sure they will soon.
     
  5. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

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    When you are out there they are hoping for treats or interested in seeing what you are doing.

    I have a camera in the coop and when they were alone it was a riot to see them explore the nest boxes. Do add fake eggs or golf balls and nesting material in the nests to give them the idea. But don't be surprised to find your first egg or eggs in strange places. When they lay the first they really don't know what is happening and can drop it anywhere. Once the first is laid they will look for a suitable place. Some will be floor layers others will start in the nests.

    Hope yours start out in the nests.
     
  6. Monstro

    Monstro Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Im think I've seen fake eggs at the local rural king, I'll pick some up.

    We're using straw for the boxes, hope it works well. Not sure what else to use, pine shavings wouldn't work, they'd fall out since the removable 2x4 on the front is an inch or so raised.

    Thank you again.
     
  7. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The fake eggs I've seen were rather expensive. You could also put in store-bought real eggs and change them out after a few weeks.

    I've not used straw, but have read to avoid it, especially in the nest boxes, because mites commonly hide in the hollows of the straw. Hay apparently doesn't have this problem. If you can limit/avoid/reduce mites, all the better. They're easy enough to treat, but why invite them if you don't need to? Pine shavings works for us, plus it's been heat treated for mites, etc., if sold as animal bedding. You could also just lower the 2x4, or simply add another one to make a deeper nest. We use about 6-8" of shavings in each nest, which tends to get compressed down as they use the nests.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    You can use golf balls as fake eggs too.
    I use straw, holds together nicely against scratching(tho maybe not so much with new layers).
    Pests could be brought in or hide in it, but they can also live in the cracks and crevices of the nest construction itself(mine are made of wood).
    I sprinkled a lot of DE in the bottom of the nest, cramming it in all the crevices and sprinkle a bit more over the new straw when I change it out every couple months.
     
  9. Monstro

    Monstro Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've seen DE mentioned a lot on this site. I'd like to get some, but where do you get it, local or order online ?
    Thanks
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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