Our coop will be complete this weekend and though the nesting boxes are ready to go in, should we wait as the girls are only 14-weeks old or put them in as well? Well, the boxes just need the names added to them
Are your girls roosting yet? Will the roosts be higher than the nests?
I would put the nests in now and leave them open. Put the bedding and a fake egg in the nests now. I would not block them off. If you are going to have a problem I'd want to know now so I could fix it before they start to lay or before I taught them to lay somewhere other than in the nests.
Often pullets look for a safe place to lay before they lay their first egg. I want them to at least consider the nests. That inspection often involves scratching. If you find the bedding and fake egg on the coop floor they are telling you that you need to fix your nest. It generally means your lip isn't high enough to keep the bedding, fake eggs, and real eggs in. It's often a simple fix but I'd rather find out before I find broken eggs on the coop floor.
One concern is that your pullets may sleep in the nests. If your roosts are higher than the nests and you have sufficient roosts it's not likely but it can still happen. If some do sleep in the nests there is a reason. If you can find out what that reason is before they start to lay you can fix it before you get poopy eggs.
Good luck! Hopefully it won't be much longer before you see that first egg.
I would get them in asap and leave the nesting boxes open. We have 15 week old hens and opened our boxes last week as one began practicing the egg song. We have a wooden egg that my husband made in each box. They've been quite curious about the boxes, especially one in particular. Good luck and have fun with your girls!
I put boxes in around 15 weeks but we didn’t get our first egg till around 20 weeks. I didn’t have any fake eggs at the time so I used my kids plastic maraca egg and placed into one of the boxes. She didn’t use it at first she found a quiet shaded spot under a small redwood . I actually didn’t know she had been laying until I caught her in the side yard that’s fenced off and found four eggs. Once I blocked it off they got the idea I found eggs in with the plastic one the next day. I have since ordered wooden brown eggs from amazon at a really good price!