Hens will typically start to lay eggs when they're five or six months old, and based on the breed, will lay anywhere from 200 to 300 eggs annually. However, training them to use chicken nesting boxes might not always be the easiest thing in the world.
Whether you're a first-time chicken owner or you're a seasoned veteran, sometimes it takes a little coaxing to get your hens comfortable with their nest boxes. Here are a few simple things you can do to help train your chickens to lay in their nest boxes.
Have Enough Chicken Nesting Boxes
Typically one nesting box per four chickens is enough to keep them comfortable enough to lay. Overcrowding your coop with nest boxes might not be the best idea, as you still want your chickens to have enough space to live and roam comfortably.
Use a Nest Egg for Training
A simple golf ball or ceramic egg from your local supply store can make a huge difference in training your chickens. Placing the "egg" in a nest box can give your hens the idea that the nest box is where they're supposed to lay, as there's already an egg there.
Practice Mid-Morning Releases
Chickens will typically lay early in the morning, and keeping them confined until mid-morning can help ensure that the majority of their laying is complete before they wander the lawn and decide to lay eggs in the grass somewhere.
Make Nest Boxes Safe
Your chicken coop nesting boxes should be in a dimly lit, quiet area of the coop. Hens, like many other birds, have the instinct to lay their eggs in a safe, quiet space. In addition, your nest boxes should be a few inches off of the ground.
Keep the Boxes Clean
If you're happier when your home is clean, it makes sense that a chicken would be happier in a clean coop. Cleaning your nest boxes and replenishing the bedding frequently can ensure that your chickens always feel comfortable and relaxed while they're inside of the coop.
No matter the kind of chickens you're raising, these tips will definitely help them get more comfortable laying eggs in the nest boxes.