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not using nesting box:(

 
Peter Smith
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I recently got 15 hens, some have started laying again, but at least 2 won't use the boxes, so the eggs get dirty and hard to find. Some are using the boxes just fine, so I don't think it is a problem with the boxes. Any ideas?
 
John Polk
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How many nesting boxes do you have for the 15 hens?
How warm/cold is it in the coop?

Sometimes, if it is cold, the hens find the warmth of the nest so comfy that they just stay there for the night.
Maybe the others just don't get their turn in the boxes.
Also, if you have breeds that are prone to broodiness, perhaps a few of them are setting up nests in the true sense of the word.
This is, after all, the natural time of year for the bird world to think of raising a brood.

 
Peter Smith
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I have 6 boxes 12x12x13. They are in a barn protected from the wind, but no heat, so down to 0° Ish a few times this week. They are all roosting on the perch every time I have checked on them "after hours". I have no idea that breed, very mixed. RR, Ostralorp, and probably 4 more breeds. I also have 3 roosters, and 6 ducks with them.
 
Bill Ramsey
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If you don't think it's a matter of not enough boxes, maybe some of the hens are new to the egg laying thing or haven't figured out that the boxes are good for that. I was tickled to see how well the old wooden egg thing works. Mine are the white ones with flat spots on the end, sold at Micheal's or Hobby Lobby but the birds don't seem to care that they look different. They look in the boxes and figure that must be a good spot since someone already used it.
 
Peter Smith
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I thought of leaving some out there, but they'd freeze. I need some wooden ones.
 
John Polk
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The first time I heard of the fake eggs, I thought "Oh, come on. They're not that stupid."
As the years progressed, I learned that yes, indeed they are that stupid. lol

I guess that when one has a 'bird-brain', the power of suggestion can be awesome.
It's sort of a "Gee. This must be a good place to lay an egg."
A lot less loss if the eggs are concentrated in one, clean spot.

A hundred years ago, the commercial egg farms mostly used 'communal nests'. Large secluded areas where the birds would go to lay, and then leave to return to the yard. That was before they decided that the hens were easier to 'care for' if they were locked in cages.

They seem to be a good way to get the girls into a habit of laying in one place.

 
Su Ba
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Though its hard to believe, I've had luck using golf balls as fake eggs.
 
Angelika Maier
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Maybe you look were they are laying and make these places a bit less comfy for them.
 
Peter Smith
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Golf balls it is, see what happens
 
Adam Klaus
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Su Ba wrote:Though its hard to believe, I've had luck using golf balls as fake eggs.


+1 on the golf balls. I always keep golf balls in each nest box.

The other thing is that the nests have to be appealing to the hens. I would experiment a bit with adding more cover to the nests, changing the nesting material, putting burlap over the front, etc. Thinking like a hen isnt really like thinking, but guessing, IME. When it works, you know that you know how to think like a hen. Your reward for such prowess is more eggs!

good luck!
 
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