Worried they won't use nesting box

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by tarragon, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. tarragon

    tarragon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 3, 2011
    Bothell, WA
    I have never raised chickens before, so I still have more questions! My little flock (4, soon to be 3 since she is really a he) is 14 weeks old. They are doing really well, and are happy in their home, spending all day in the grass and dirt, or perching on the sawhorse they adopted during construction of the coop. Yesterday I added nesting boxes (2) to the coop. What concerns me is that they never, ever go up the ramp to the coop except to go to bed. The way it is set up is that there is the main structure, which is a roofed A-Frame (old swingset) completely walled with hardware cloth, dirt floor, a wooden platform where the feeder is, and a small cubby with shavings on the floor where they like to hang out for naps or get out of the rain. Above the platform is the sleeping quarters, accessed by a long ramp. The A-Frame structure has a people door which I leave open all day as long as someone is home. This lets them come and go into the backyard, where they can find grass, weeds, dirt, trees etc. We do have a moveable fence which keeps them from going around the whole yard and getting on the patio.

    Since they never go upstairs except to sleep, I am worried that they won't go up there to lay in the nest. It seems like a lot of other people's coops are large rooms and the chickens go in and out all day, so the nest boxes are available easily. Am I just worried for no reason?

    I'll add some pics to illustrate the layout.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] (these are during construction, before the ramp to the upstairs was added)
     
  2. chkinut

    chkinut Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2010
    Leesburg, Ohio
    i think you should put some fake eggs in there so they know what it's for. i ordered mine online (i forget where from....but i'm sure if you do a search for ceramic eggs you can find some....but i think i ordered from My Pet Chicken). but i hear you can use golf balls too. and if you're worried they won't even go up to see what's up there, i would physically take them to show them. i think once they get close to egg laying (18 - 20ish) weeks....they become very interested in eggs....at least mine did. so i think they'll figure it out.
     
  3. tarragon

    tarragon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 3, 2011
    Bothell, WA
    Yes, I was going to put some golf balls in there. And they did check out the boxes when they went to bed last night, I just keep worrying that when the "urge" hits each day they might not want to go all that way! Guess I'll just have to wait and see. If they start laying elsewhere I can always move the boxes, right?
     
  4. chkinut

    chkinut Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2010
    Leesburg, Ohio
    yeah, you could, but i really think they'll use the boxes. my girls love boxes that seem private. it's hard to tell where exactly your boxes are in the pic (unless i just wasnt looking in the right place)....but it seems like you have a nice place for them and that they're quite spoiled! [​IMG] if you put the golf balls in there, they should get the idea. good luck! [​IMG]
     
  5. BarredBuff

    BarredBuff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 6, 2009
    They will! Mine had no problem figuring it out even my ducks use the nests............ [​IMG]
     
  6. taprock

    taprock Chillin' With My Peeps

    My girls so did not get what the nest boxes were for at first. They learned with some help. I would catch they wandering around the yard doing their egg song and carry them and put them in the nest box. After about a while they caught on and I rarely find an egg outside the nest box now. I did have to put heavier cloth on the outside than what I started with. They really like them now.
     

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