Frequently asked questions
Do community style nest boxes really work?
Yes they do! This best nest box has proven to be successful for farmers and backyard chicken keepers for over a decade. In the traditional divided nests, chickens often try to crowd each other out. Many commercial egg operations use community style boxes.
How should I mount the box?
Place or mount at a height so both you and the birds have easy access to the box. The box can be fastened to a wall or used free standing on a stable level surface. The boxes can also be double stacked when mounted to a wall. An eye ring is attached at the top corners of the box for mounting. This box works well in indoor poultry operations or outdoors in pastured poultry operations.
How many chickens are recommended per box?
The medium box accommodates up to 20 chickens. The large box accommodates up to 45 chickens. For farmers with larger flocks, the number of birds per box can be increased. Farmers with large flocks allow between 50 and 60 birds per box.
How to Get Chickens to Use a Nesting Box?
These are some tips that may help get your chickens more familiar with your nest box. Make sure your nest box is tucked away in a darker and quiet area of your chicken coop. Keeping the area secure and safe for your hens will help them use the nest box quicker since they lay their eggs in areas that they deem is not threatening to them. Not only should the areas feel safe for your hens, they should feel comfortable as well. Recreating the setting of the hens' older housing can also make them adapt quicker.
Keep your hens in their coop for most of the morning as that's when most of egg laying occurs. By doing this, you will be able to get the best odds that your hen will lay eggs in their nest boxes rather than somewhere outside. You can also help train them with fake eggs, golf balls, or other similar objects that will help demonstrate that the nest box is the best area to lay their eggs.
Once the chickens become more comfortable with their nesting box, you can enjoy collecting clean, unbroken eggs.
What if the hens don't lay in the nesting box?
Getting hens to lay in their nest box can be an issue no matter what style of nest box you choose. If you have raised chickens for any length of time, you know they are like toddlers, always finding ways to get into trouble. Any time you ask a bird to change their laying habits, there will usually be an adjustment period. The following tips are temporary and can be discontinued after the chickens are trained to use their new nest box. These are a collection of things we and our customers have done that have worked. ("Wrong place" laying areas refer to any areas your chickens have found to lay their eggs other than their new rollaway nest box.)
- Use bedding inside the nest box.
- Remove old nesting boxes.
- Tape a front vinyl flap or flaps to the inside top of the box.
- Make the "wrong place" laying areas uncomfortable. (scraps of fence or boards)
- Scatter corn after nightfall in the "wrong place" laying area.
- Place birds you see nesting in the "wrong place" area directly into the box. (If the hen wants to jump back out, close the roost bar.)
- Add light to dark corners.
- Place "wrong place" eggs directly into the nest box to discourage other hens from laying there in the "wrong place". (Bad habits get passed onto other hens.)
- Place a piece of the hens old laying nest box set up inside the new box.
- Use cardboard inside the new box to create a small divided section.
- Totally close off "wrong place" laying areas.
- Place a hay bale in front of the nest box or make a ramp up to the roost bar.
- Lower the box or place directly onto the floor.
- Place fake eggs into the nesting area of the nest box.
Install hot wire 3" up from the floor around the coop perimeter. (For farmers with large flocks)