Will they ever use the nesting boxes?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mmccoy, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. Yes

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  2. No

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Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. mmccoy

    mmccoy Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 2, 2014
    Red Oak Texas
    I have 5 girls laying since the 4th of July. They have all decided to nest in the roost area. I have done everything I can think of to get them to lay in the boxes but they are not having it. I have nesting pads, dry grass, fresh herbs, fake eggs and golf balls in there. Any other ideas? I think they just don't care. They lay in the roost area. I have sweet pdz up there and have even tried adding that to the boxes. They will get in there and eat the grass/herbs but refuse to lay in there.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  2. mpguay

    mpguay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 27, 2011
    I've found that my girls must have privacy. My nesting boxes are open to the front. We happened to have a small chicken tractor that I used for a broody. when we let her and her chicks out, we propped it up with bricks. Now my 20 other hens go into the little tractor which has a secluded nesting area. Its dark, and you can hardly see a hen in there. But they LOVE it.

    I bet if I put a curtain or even leaned some plywood up against the open nesting boxes, they might come back.
    So that would be my question - is your nesting area secluded?
     
  3. mmccoy

    mmccoy Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 2, 2014
    Red Oak Texas
    [​IMG]

    This is their nesting boxes, they are very dark and secluded. We have them built into the wall with outside access for us to get the eggs. They are roll out nesting boxes as well just in case we get egg eaters.

    Where they are currently laying they have no privacy and are out in the open. It seems they could care less if everyone is watching. Crazy girls!!
     
  4. mpguay

    mpguay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 27, 2011
    Ha! Looks like perfect nesting areas. The little dopes.

    I dont know. I've had hens that just wanted to be contrary. No matter what I did to get them to nest. they insisted on finding their own place. And I think that when one does it, others tend to follow.

    Good luck.
     
  5. ronmauldin

    ronmauldin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 25, 2014
    Rhode Island
    I've come to the conclusion it depends on the individual chicken. I have some that used the nesting boxes since egg one and others that refuse to no matter what I try.
     
  6. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Mar 9, 2014
    Oregon
    My Coop
    While it is true that they usually like dark, private places - it would seem your girls are showing they are comfortable with a more open and light area for laying. I would suggest maybe putting a rubbermaid nest box with no lid on it out there for them to get used to going "in" to somewhere through a door similar to that on your lovely boxes....having the lid off will give the box a more open and inviting (to them) feel.
    It also looks like your girls enjoy each other's company while preparing to lay - perhaps you can open up things a little so that they can have the option of a communal box *or* a private box?
    Or, if you have the time, I would suggest sitting out in the coop with them during their normal laying hours - as you see them starting to nest down in the roost area in preparation for laying, pick them up quietly and calmly and place them in the nest box. If they are truly in the mindset of laying they will generally just settle down in the suggested area and carry on with their mission. It may take a few days of this before they start going in on their own when they feel the urge to lay, it's all about building the habit and association you want for them - urge to lay = go int the box.
    I recently had two start laying and they wanted to be floor layers not nesters. After over a week it was clear they were not going to change their minds on their own. I used the quietly move them method - one took only one move/day and the other took two moves/days -- now they both just hop up in the nest, do their thing and go on about their day. I just waited quietly while they went through their "nest" search all over the coop floor, they finally picked their spot and settled in with "the look" of a hen waiting on her egg and once they were clearly in the right state of mind I simply moved over quietly , picked them up carefully and placed them in a nest box. Neither of these are my friendliest birds, to say the least, and are quite flighty under normal circumstances, but a hen ready to lay is in a different state of mind and neither of them put up any bit of a fuss about it at all.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
  7. Liddy

    Liddy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 31, 2014
    Thank you, Ol Grey Mare! [​IMG] That is excellent advice and now that the marvels of youtube have educated me so I will recognize the Egg Song, I will pay attention and try this.
     
  8. Liddy

    Liddy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 31, 2014
    Today I found two eggs, one in the morning when I opened up the coop and pen, and one a few hours later. The first one was IN A NESTING BOX!!! [​IMG] It was also full-sized at 2 ounces. The small first effort was on the floor of the coop, under one of the hanging feeders.

    Yesterday I filled all 6 of the nesting boxes with shavings, added a rail in front (because I found one of the inserts on the coop floor) of each row of boxes, and spent a little time grabbing pullets and stuffing them into the boxes. :) Three of them spent time there, rearranging shavings and hunkering down. The one in the nesting box was snuggled next to the cedar egg I put there as encouragement.

    Today I bought a pack of the practice lightweight putting balls and distributed them in the other boxes. We'll see if they get the message!
     

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