Will My Hens Ever Find Their Nests?

mapa

In the Brooder
11 Years
Oct 5, 2008
12
0
22
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?
 

Rte.66_chicks

Songster
11 Years
Feb 22, 2008
869
4
149
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.
 

mapa

In the Brooder
11 Years
Oct 5, 2008
12
0
22
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?
 

ChickenToes

Songster
11 Years
May 14, 2008
2,141
7
191
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.
 
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mapa

In the Brooder
11 Years
Oct 5, 2008
12
0
22
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.
 

Curlita

Songster
11 Years
May 22, 2008
158
2
121
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?
 

kpara

In the Brooder
11 Years
Oct 18, 2008
65
0
29
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???
 

riderbecky

Songster
11 Years
May 4, 2008
235
0
119
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.
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!
 

debilorrah

The Great Guru of Yap
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Aug 25, 2008
39,693
122
423
The Carpal Tunnel Rehab Center
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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