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Just last week we've begun to get some eggs from our 3 Barred Rock hens. The problem is they don't seem to want to use the coops 3 nesting boxes. They either lay on the coop's sand floor or they go into the older connected coop which I don't always allow them access to because of nighttime predators. I've lined the boxes with wood shavings and place a couple of wooden eggs but they're not interested. They just scatter the shavings. Is there anything that could make the boxes more attractive or am I just fighting their quirkiness?

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YAY!! I'm so glad you posted here! I couldn't figure out how to reply to your email... lol

My chickens couldn't care LESS about wooden eggs. They DO care about golf balls. lol Maybe try to get them to lay using golf balls? Do you have any pictures of the nesting boxes? It might be that they are too hard to get into. I know my chickens like the nests I have that are easier to get into and have a "landing" on the front of them.

Thanks Rachel,

I've got plenty of golf balls. I'll also try and post pictures of the boxes. You may be right, they look to be a bit tight to get into.

We first had only two chickens, both rescues from my shelter. Not knowing anything we gave them a rubbermaid tote on its side and a cat carrier to nest in. They had alot of hay also to keep warm as it was December. . They laid eggs in these and nested in them. I gave them a perch which they did not use

This year we got two 5-week old chicks and decided they would need a laying box (yes, we're learning!) and another perch.

This December they all perch overnight and all but one of the older girls use the laying box.

They seemed to have worked it out on their own.  The perchs are the 4" side of a 2" x4" as we were told they wouldn't use a narrower perch. We put a towel in the nest box, it is just easier to replace  weekly.

I doubt tight space will bother them. They may like it. It's the ability to get up to the front of the nest to get in that will help. Of course, my chickens FAVORITE nesting box was a laundry basket. Not even turned on it's side! Just the basket, with hay in it. Personally, I like shavings best, because it's easy to keep clean, but the chickens seem to like hay or straw best. Wouldn't matter if they didn't roost IN the nesting boxes at night. :P

Hi, I use hay in my nest boxes. They've always gone in there to lay. My coop is the size of a large dog house with 2 nest boxes built on the end. We put in a roost for them which all 3 crowd onto when it's cold. Every now and then someone will decide to sleep in a nest box for the night.

Of note, my girls are molting now. I was kind of worried at first b/c I thought they would be cold but, they don't seem to be bothered at all. Now I'm just checking them to make sure nobody is getting pecked on their bald spots! Oh, do they like ratty!!!! I'll be glad when they're done with that.

I wasn't aware that you could actually get chickens at a shelter. That's really cool.

We also let our New Hampshire red gals roost on hay, and they like to be close together nesting boxes at night, but are out and about all day. It took FOREVER to get them to lay. They are 9 months now and just starting to lay a few eggs here and there...I think the combination of temperature and amount of daylight was the main issue, and golf balls didn't seem to make much of a difference. We thought for a while they might be laying around the yard (they are "free range" all day). It looks like we won't have many eggs until next spring now that the cold has set in, but it sure is fun watching them grow!

One of our girls "Lida Rose" our Buff Orp, started moulting in October- yikes! We were worried too with the cold coming on. She is still moulting a little and has just started laying again. At first we thought she were under attack.

Thanks Dawn,

We talked about getting hay for the boxes but  I have not looked into where to get it this time of year. The hay is something they'll probably enjoy munching on too .  Hope your  girls get their feathers back and stay warm!

dawn hughes said:

Hi, I use hay in my nest boxes. They've always gone in there to lay. My coop is the size of a large dog house with 2 nest boxes built on the end. We put in a roost for them which all 3 crowd onto when it's cold. Every now and then someone will decide to sleep in a nest box for the night.

Of note, my girls are molting now. I was kind of worried at first b/c I thought they would be cold but, they don't seem to be bothered at all. Now I'm just checking them to make sure nobody is getting pecked on their bald spots! Oh, do they like ratty!!!! I'll be glad when they're done with that.

I wasn't aware that you could actually get chickens at a shelter. That's really cool.

Thanks for the reply Kelly, It never occurred to me to try a towel, but that's a nice idea!

Kelly ann Mulholland said:

We first had only two chickens, both rescues from my shelter. Not knowing anything we gave them a rubbermaid tote on its side and a cat carrier to nest in. They had alot of hay also to keep warm as it was December. . They laid eggs in these and nested in them. I gave them a perch which they did not use

This year we got two 5-week old chicks and decided they would need a laying box (yes, we're learning!) and another perch.

This December they all perch overnight and all but one of the older girls use the laying box.

They seemed to have worked it out on their own.  The perchs are the 4" side of a 2" x4" as we were told they wouldn't use a narrower perch. We put a towel in the nest box, it is just easier to replace  weekly.

Erich,

We placed one of the nest boxes on the floor of the coop; once the pullets figured out that the nest was the better place to lay an egg, we mounted it on the wall about 14 inches up.

Thanks Mel,

I'm curious though, How did you get them to accept that one box as their favorite nesting place to begin with?

Mel W said:

Erich,

We placed one of the nest boxes on the floor of the coop; once the pullets figured out that the nest was the better place to lay an egg, we mounted it on the wall about 14 inches up.

Using a golf ball will encourage them to choose a favorite box too. Chickens like to lay where other chickens have laid. In their "natural" environment, this means that when one hen goes broody, she'd sit on clutches filled with other hen's eggs, because they all like to lay where another has/is laying... and so instead of just a few days worth of her own eggs, she's sitting on 12 or more eggs from the entire flock. It's a pretty genius thing to see... :)

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