Nest Boxes

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SurreyLass

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Nest Boxes
« on: September 11, 2011, 14:06 »
2 questions on nest boxes for you chicken gurus!

First of all, how often do you change the bedding in your nest boxes? There is no poo etc in them, so dont know if I should totally empty them out and fill with fresh when I do the house each week, or what??? What do you do?

Also, there are 2 lovely nest boxes, but the girls both lay in one - today, because they wanted to lay at the same time, one laid on the house floor, and the other in the box - whilst the other nest box sat unloved (I am not too worried, as the 2 new girls are moving in very shortly, so I am hoping they can use the unloved one!). There are no beasties at all (its only 2 weeks old, and apart from the 1st day when one laid in each, they have laid every other day in the same box!

Thanks, as always!

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Flossiej

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Re: Nest Boxes
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2011, 18:05 »
Personally I change all bedding once a week, spray poultry shield and sprinkle with DE powder even in the nesting boxes whether it needs it or not. I wouldnt like to leave it to chance to the dreaded mite!

My five girls all favour the  same nesting box which leads to them to form a disorderly queue in the mornings. Then one girl went broody and hogged the favourite box and they all switched to the other one. the funny thing is that we moved the coop to a new run and turned it to face a different direction to avoid them facing into the wind and they still favoured the same nesting box even when it is lashing with rain and this one gets all the weather. Perhaps they like a bit of a breeze blowing around them!
One husband, three teenage sons, one completely blonde dog, two scatty cats, five nutty chooks and an uninvited mole!

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3Bluebelles

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Re: Nest Boxes
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2011, 21:11 »
Try putting a plastic or china egg in it. We have 3 nesting boxes and 2 plastic eggs, and wherever the plastic eggs are, that's where they lay. If we move one, they move with it!

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hillfooter

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Re: Nest Boxes
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2011, 01:42 »
It's normal for hens to try to lay in the same nestbox as they are attempting to assemble one large clutch of eggs which only one broody will hatch.  They don't sit on their own eggs but act communually.

On the nestbox cleaning front in fact I usually tip the nestbox litter onto the house floor litter and top up the nestboxes with clean shavings on a regular basis.  Topping the dirty litter in this way keeps the litter surface relatively clean and builds up the litter.  I NEVER poo pick and generally don't clean the house more often than once every 4 weeks.  I do however have raised slatted roosts so doppings fall through and don't come into contact with the birds and they can't scrat in it.  Simple and effective and saves a lot of work for me and ensures the birds stay clean and don't come into contact with their droppings more than can be avoided.
HF
Truth through science.

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SurreyLass

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Re: Nest Boxes
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2011, 07:28 »
Thanks for that HF - didnt realise thats why they would be laying in the same box. Shame to lay on the house floor rather than the empty box if the preferred one is engaged though isnt it!


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hillfooter

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Re: Nest Boxes
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2011, 21:58 »
Thanks for that HF - didnt realise thats why they would be laying in the same box. Shame to lay on the house floor rather than the empty box if the preferred one is engaged though isnt it!



Hens have a strong instinct to lay their eggs in a viable location.    If they are unable to do this or sence that the egg is going to be non viable (for exampoe a soft egg) they will often lay it away from the nestbox where it can be cleaned up by being eaten.  It's a mechanism which ensures the viable eggs laid in the chosen nest aren't contaminated with non viable ones.

HF

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viettaclark

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Re: Nest Boxes
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2011, 22:15 »
Thanks HF......fascinating!



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