Will My Hens Ever Find Their Nests?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mapa, Oct 17, 2008.

  1. mapa

    mapa In the Brooder

    Oct 5, 2008
    Mc Gill, Nevada
    My girls have wonderful nests in their coop - but they don't go in them! They just started laying eggs and they lay them on the ground. I put golf balls in the nests to give them the idea - but still they are not interested in the nests. They don't go on their roosts either!!
    Any advice?
  2. Rte.66_chicks

    Rte.66_chicks Songster

    Feb 22, 2008
    Kingman, AZ
    How high up are your nests? Mine are set up on cinder blocks, so are maybe 8" off the floor. They can see into them and get in easily.
  3. mapa

    mapa In the Brooder

    Oct 5, 2008
    Mc Gill, Nevada
    My nests are about 18" off the ground. Should I lower them?
    I am also concerned that they don't go up to the roosts either. Should this be a concern or not?
  4. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Songster

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    They'll find the roosts eventually. You can also pick one of the chickens up and set them on the roost to give them the idea.

    What do you have inside your nesting boxes, shavings or straw? I had shavings inside mine and the girls always kicked them out. I also had several hens that would lay eggs on the floor. I put straw in my boxes 2 days ago and they like it a lot better. I haven't been finding nearly as many eggs on the floor.

    The downside to straw, of course, is that it gets moldy and mildewy and needs to be changed out every so often. But as long as I don't have to hunt around for eggs anymore, I'm happy.

    Edited to add: Yes, lower your boxes! Mine are about 6 inches off the floor. You can even set them right on the floor if you like.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2008
  5. mapa

    mapa In the Brooder

    Oct 5, 2008
    Mc Gill, Nevada
    Thank you for your help!!! I am learning so much from this forum - and you are all so willing to share information. I appreciate it!
    I am going to lower my nests today - placing them on cinderblocks - great idea!! This morning there were a bunch of feathers in one of the nests. Maybe making it more comfy??? I have packing material in the nests - kind of like spun raffia. (came with the nests ) Should I change out to something else?
    Hard to get straw here.
  6. Curlita

    Curlita Songster

    May 22, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    My girls still don't get the roost and nest box thing -- they can roost on our glider and poop all over it, but hop up on the roost in their coop? No way!

    WHen mine started laying, they did so in the corner of the run in a big pile of stray. Once the weather turned, though, they started laying in the corner of their coop. I gave up on them using the raised nesting box built into the coop and built a new nest box. I put it in the corner where they had been laying. I had to catch one of them getting ready to lay and put her in the nest box to convince her that it was a good idea, but now they lay in the box.

    Sooooo... if your boxes are portable, maybe try putting one where they usually lay and then moving it gradually to where you want it to be permanently?
  7. kpara

    kpara In the Brooder

    Oct 18, 2008
    South Carolina
    Quote:mine started laying a few days ago. Mine have always layed in the nests. Maybe your nests are to high, what kind of birds do you have???
  8. riderbecky

    riderbecky Songster

    May 4, 2008
    Ottawa Valley
    The height of the nest boxes doesn't matter as long as they are lower than your lowest roost. To encourage them to roost you need to place them on them at night. It took about a week for all of mine to get the hang of it.

    For laying I used the bucket nests idea I got from this site. "Bucket o'chicken" I call it. [​IMG] They like a quiet dark corner to lay in. Mine are 18 " off the floor of the coop in the corner behind the door. I had some laid outside but I just kept them inside until the late afternoon and they're starting to get the idea. I think that the ones who have been laying for a while now are showing the ones that are getting ready the ropes...so to speak.

    I'm sure they'll figure things out. Good luck!
  9. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap

    We have 6 nesting boxes for 6 hens and they all use the same one except for our SSH. She took the straw and built her own nest in the corner and she is the only one that uses it.

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