Why Are My Chickens Not Laying in Nesting Box-How to Encourage Them to Lay in Nest

When you’ve made a considerable effort to create the ideal environment for your hens, it can be frustrating when they don’t use it. So, if chickens Not Laying in nesting box is a problem in your coop, you may be wondering why this is occurring. Chickens thrive on routine and if they start to lay eggs on the ground, it can be hard to change their minds.

Clean nesting boxes

When eggs are laid on the ground, they are more prone to damage and other hens may peck at them. If hens discover that they enjoy the taste of eggs, they will peck at any egg they find which will be a disaster for egg production. In this article, we will look at a few chickens not laying in nest box problems and how to fix them.

Flaws in the Nesting Box Design:

This may seem strange, but despite their reputation as social birds, chickens do need their privacy too. This is especially true when they are laying eggs and it can take a chicken a full hour of concentration to lay an egg. During this time, the hen needs to be quiet and still, and at the end, they may need to strain a little to pass the egg. So, it’s understandable that the hen will not want to lay if there are other hens or even a rooster disturbing her.

If the nesting boxes are located in busy areas, it’s perfectly natural that the hens may want to avoid using them. The last thing you need is an alpha male rooster and bossy hen bothering your other hens when they are trying to peacefully lay eggs.

The nesting boxes should be located inside the coop in a designated area. This location should be in a quiet corner away from waterers, feeds, swings, dust bathing spaces, and other communal areas. If you have a space that’s purely designed for laying eggs, you may even notice that egg production increases.

Chickens not using nesting boxes is more likely if the hens don’t have sufficient space to lay. You’re going to need at least one nesting box for every four hens that you have. If you have too many boxes, you may notice that some are vacant and in some of them a hen may move in permanently.

The hen will use the box for sleeping and it will become contaminated with droppings quickly. So, it’s important to find a sweet spot with not too many or too few nesting boxes and one per four hens seems to work best.

Nesting Box Management

The nesting box needs to be filled with clean and soft bedding material that’s changed regularly to prevent the spread of red mites. The eggs should be collected daily because a hen won’t want to lay her egg on top of a pile of old eggs. A nesting box that contains one or even better no eggs is a more attractive prospect for a hen that’s ready to lay.

There are many things that occur in a nesting box that we simply cannot observe. If the box is dirty or the eggs break, this will mix with a buildup of ammonia from urine and droppings. This will stick to feathers, the hen may experience stingy eyes and they won’t want to lay an egg in those conditions.

So, it’s important to clean the nesting boxes thoroughly every week. The bedding should be removed, the surfaces cleaned and then fresh clean bedding can be added. Broken eggs should be cleaned as you spot them because they fester and the stench can be hard to remove.

Any stickiness, wetness, bad odors, and other problems should be addressed as a priority. If these problems are ignored or overlooked, you are likely to see a drop in egg production. In extreme cases, you may even notice that your flock is unhealthy and they may be prone to diseases.

Health and Environmental Factors of the Nesting Boxes

Chickens crowded in nesting box

Nesting boxes are a primary hiding spot for mites that can ruin the laying experience for the hen and even cause fatalities. If the hens recognize that the boxes are infested, they may stop using them entirely and start laying on the ground.

Many people wonder if they have mites in their coop, but experienced people automatically assume that they are present. This is why regular cleaning and preventative maintenance are so important for the health of your flock and egg production.

The surfaces should be sprayed with a cleaning solution and scrubbed to remove tough deposits. The best cleaners are made with citrus and other natural ingredients. This may not stop a mite infestation entirely and herbs should be added to discourage their return.

This is important because mites cause anemia which requires a vet visit to identify and cure. Prevention is better than the cure and it’s a lot cheaper too. When you choose a herb blend for nesting boxes, make sure that it’s specially formulated for chickens.

Behavioral Factors May Play a Part in Where Your Chickens Lay

When you have young hens, they may not instinctively know where they should be laying eggs. Placing a rubber or ceramic egg in a nesting box will give the hen a clue and after they’ve laid a couple of eggs, they will have an ingrained laying habit.

Many hens prefer to lay an egg in the early morning hours. So, confining them in the coop until the sun has risen a little will prevent wandering and egg laying in out of sight locations.

If a hen has a bad habit of laying in the wrong spot, you can place an obstacle there such as a rock or bottle to deter them. Eventually, they will get the hint and look for a different place to lay.

Chickens can Experience Stress

Chickens Not Laying in Nesting Box

Stress in chicken can be caused by a variety of reasons, including changes in their environment or diet, the introduction of new chickens into the flock, or predators in the area. If your chickens are stressed, they may avoid using the nesting boxes. Make sure that your chickens are kept in a calm and stable environment, and consider providing them with toys or other forms of enrichment to reduce their stress levels.

Chickens Not Laying in Nesting Box- In Conclusion

In summary, chickens may avoid laying eggs in the nesting box for several reasons, including uncomfortable or inadequate nesting boxes, inadequate lighting, lack of privacy, inadequate nesting boxes, and stress. Addressing these issues can encourage your chickens to lay their eggs where they belong and make the egg-collecting process much easier for you. By providing your chickens with a comfortable and stress-free environment, you can ensure that they lay plenty of eggs for years to come.