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How to get chickens to lay in the nesting box?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi, I posted a few days ago about getting some chickens. We have a tractor with a nesting box but the chickens don't use it for laying eggs; instead they roost in it. Does anyone have any suggestions for getting chickens to use the nesting box to lay eggs in? I've found a few eggs on the floor of the tractor. The nesting box is on the side of the tractor and has it's own separate little roof so we could open it and get the eggs while we stood outside the tractor. But the chickens will not cooperate! Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks!
post #2 of 5
Do the nests have good bedding in them, smoothed into a sort of bowl-like nest shape (grass hay, straw, shavings, or the like)? Maybe add a fabric or plastic curtain over the fronts (with slits so the birds can push through) to make it more dark & private. Try adding fake eggs, 1 in each nest (not more than 1, or it could trigger broodiness), to make it look like "everyone else lays here, so it must be a good spot" - golf balls work in a pinch.
post #3 of 5
We used ceramic dummy eggs in the nest boxes to get our young pullets to start using the nests. Worked like a charm!
post #4 of 5
We have done comparisons with soft hay/straw and shavings, and our chickens all prefer hay, hands down. We have also used golf balls, but the chickens didn't really pay attention.
post #5 of 5
My chickens have always used the nest box, except for 1 egg.

We have a ramp that goes up to it. Dh figured it couldn't be comfortable to fly if you were ready to drop an egg. I have straw in our nest box. We have 2 boxes, but they weren't interested in the second one, so that is where I keep the bowl of oyster shell. They fuss with it and there really isn't all that much straw in there now. They throw it out. They seem happy with less.
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