When to open the nesting boxes


9 Years
Jul 21, 2010
NOt sure which method.... open the boxes and put them in there now BEFORE they start- or wait until we find an egg in the coop THEN put them in the nesting box and open them.... both methods seem to work as to showing them where to lay eggs.... hmmmm
I have 3 younger chickens - 3 weeks younger... so not sure how this will efffec their habits of sleeping in the boxes... maybe Open the boxes during the day? With the fake eggs/golf balls - then still close at night until they are old enough to use the boxes for laying?
We have 2 15 week olds and 3 12 week olds... it is too early to open up the boxes for the 12 week olds isn't it????
I know i am probably making it complicated - but that is what i do
We opened our nest boxes at around 16 wks and put plastic eggs in them for a hint in the main coop. they were curious cause they moved the eggs around everyday. but 2.5 wks later we started getting real eggs. We have only found 2 eggs in the run and that was early on they all use the nest boxes now. Also we have a tractor with 4 younger hens living in it Have had the nest box open for like a month with fake eggs in it, I am pretty sure they havnt even went in it yet. If they are all roosting on the roosts already you shouldnt have to worry about them camping out in the nest boxes. Hope they lay for you soon.

ETA You want the nest boxes open before they start laying for sure.
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I wasn't expecting the girls to begin laying as soon as they did (mid-July), so I still had the cardboard blocking the nest box entrances when I found the first egg on the coop floor in the morning.
I put the cardboard in the bottom of the nest box for cushioning, then shredded newspapers and a fake egg nestled inside.
I have never closed off my nesting boxes as I didn't know I should. My chickens are not laying yet but will be soon. They have never messed up the nest boxes so I didn't see a reason why they should be closed off. They do not go into them. Was I supposed to have blocked them??
I think if they don't use them and are roosting, then i'd not bother... I had to because as soon as we opened up the coop and had decided we would block off the nesting boxes - we put paint cans in them - with a 5 gallon paint can in the boxes and thinking we are all set - one of our chickens squeezed herself on TOP of the paint can!! Can you picture that? it was so funny looking! but then we realized that this particular chicken would sleep in there without even trying out the roosting bars
Ours have been sleeping on the roosting bars now for a a few months so we have decided to keep the nesting boxes closed off at night, open them during the day for investigation - then in another week - leave them open all the time....
Some people close them off - others don't - it is to avoid them sleeping in it and getting them all poo'd up... and estabilishing good nesting habits... FUnny, my friend in Ireland is like, "what is with Americans and thier problems with poo in the nesting boxes" LOL so country to country, things are done differently and all the chickens do fine... I'm trying not to make it complicated... but then that is my nature

Good luck with your chickens

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