will I totally confuse my hens?


In the Brooder
10 Years
May 11, 2009
Jefferson City, MO
The nesting boxes that we put into our coop were quickly adopted as sleeping quarters for many of our chickens. Now, just in the last week, my chickens have begun to lay eggs. Fortunately, they are not laying them in the nasty "nesting boxes", which are full of poop but they are laying them on the floor of the coop--equally not good. I found some great ideas for alternative nesting "boxes" and have the perfect place to put them in my lean to (where I found a stash of eggs today anyway!).
My question is, in order to get my hens to lay their eggs where I want them to, I was thinking that after I let them out in the morning I could shut off their access to the coop for the day and let them find the places that I want them to lay in instead. Will that just totally mess them up and confuse them? Will they not lay if they are confused or not comfortable with new laying areas?

Also, if a hen doesn't want you to go near her eggs, does that mean she's broody or do hens just like their eggs and don't want to share them?
I can't answer your first questions, but for your broody question:

My light brahma will NOT let anyone or anything near her eggs while she is in the nesting box. She will puff up like a blowfish and scream if I try to take her eggs or if another chicken dares to come in the coop while she's in the box.

But she doesn't stay on the nest for more than a few hours. I've been waiting and waiting to have a broody, but no luck. So I bought a bator.
Why not break them of sleeping in the nestboxes? To me, that seems to be the easiest way. Add more nestboxes and they're likely to sleep in them too.
I had to put a broom stick across the nesting boxes just before dark for a couple of weeks so that they'd hop up onto the roosting perch above. Once they got the hang of it, they stopped sleeping in the boxes. I also have a storage area that is very small and hard to get to but one girl insists on sleeping there. I've pretty much given up on her since she never uses it to lay in. Try breaking them of the habit first.
My hens won't go any where near the nesting boxes inside their coop. I found out they had been going under my shed to lay. So,I got all kinds of things blocking the bottom off. Well,the next day,a hen started going nuts when she realized she could no longer get under the shed. She circled that shed for 2 days,all day long. This was last weekend,that hen has yet to lay an egg now. I'll see her go to all different places and sit a while,then all the sudden she'll jump up...no egg there. Hopefully she'll start laying again soon.
I too may have a problem headed my way. I made a mistake, OK a couple. When I built my nest boxes I put a flat top on them. I raised my 10 GC's along side of 15 CC's. The GC's avoided the CC's by sleeping on top of the nest boxes. Now that the CC's are in the freezer I thought they would use the roost but they don't. Thinking of closing off the top of the nest boxes there by forcing them to use the roost. The roost is made of 2 by 2's I'm wondering if I should replace it with 2 by 4's for the winter months or should I just let them sleep there. The boxes are on the south wall along with the single pane windows and am thinking it's going to be too cold at night. I insulated behind and underneath the boxes when I built them. Any input would be greatly appreciated
My BR's use to do the same thing sleep on top of the nesting boxes. My husband put up a piece of plywood at an angle so that they wouldn't be able to hop up there and it seemed to work. Also I learned from this site that it's better to have the roost higher than the nesting boxes.
Thanks mk4lh for the info!
I'll use chicken wire so as to not block the sunlight, going to have some PO'd GC's tonight. Hope they adjust OK. Also had the first egg laid on top of the nest boxes this AM it was teetering on the edge. My BFF's 5 year old asked while we were on the phone last night if they could come and see the chickens again. Last time they were here I waited and let her gather the eggs and give them treats, think it made an impression:D. He's thinking of getting a few feathered friends now too. It's a sickness I tell ya! Can't be more happy that I decided to raise them! What a joy! Thanks again!
Well I put up a 3 foot high fence around the top of the nest boxes. It was that cheap plastic stuff. The next morning they were in the nest boxes making a mess but leaving open the ones they laying in. There was about a 1 1/2 foot gap at the top and one hen was trying to desperately balance herself. She couldn't go forward nor backwards I had to pick her up and set her down. It was pretty funny but felt bad too.
:( I wondered if she had been up there all night? Poor Baby! So I took the fence off added a lip around it and added wood chips and straw. 4 eggs up there yesterday 2 this AM. Guess that's the way it's going to be. Think if it gets to cold they'll move but don't think their going to use the roost, we'll see. Might add some more nest boxes just for sleeping or maybe a wide open one so they can cuddle. Now that I've typed it I think that might work. Slanted roof this time. Should have never raised them with the CC's.

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