Why Won’t My Hens Use Their Nesting Boxes?

Why Won’t My Hens Use Their Nesting Boxes?

Is your flock refusing to lay eggs in their nesting boxes? Want to spoil your hens by creating a nesting area that’s beautiful and inviting? In this article, I’ll show you 7 most common reasons why chickens refuse to use their nesting boxes, what to do about it, and how to provide the best nesting area possible.

It can be heartbreaking and confusing when your flock lays their eggs on the ground instead of the carefully designed nesting boxes you provide. Nobody wants dirty, poop-crusted eggs! It’s also disappointing when they start hiding their eggs or stop laying completely. You spend so much time and money setting up their nesting area, after all! It can be really, really frustrating. 

Getting your flock to consistently use their boxes can take some trial and error, but it CAN be done. It all starts with providing an attractive and inviting nesting area. With the easy ideas below, you can discover if you’re making some very common mistakes in your own coop. If your hens aren’t laying eggs, be sure to print this article out. You can use it as a checklist.

Let’s cover the common reasons why your chickens might avoid laying eggs in a nesting box.

Common Reasons Chickens Won’t Use Nesting Boxes

  1. Too much noise & commotion
  2. There’s mites in the nesting area
  3. The boxes smell or are dirty
  4. The bedding is wrong
  5. Nesting boxes are too high or too low
  6. Your hens don’t like the material your nesting boxes are made out of
  7. They don’t have enough nesting boxes 

Chickens Like Their Privacy

It’s true. Even though they’re incredibly social animals, chickens like privacy when doing their most intimate business – laying eggs. Why is this? When a hen lays an egg, it can take up to 1 hour for the egg to actually emerge from her vent. She must stay still and quiet the entire time. In the last few moments, before the egg is laid, she might even have to strain a little. As you can imagine, it’s not a time when she wants roosters, humans, or other hens bothering her!

If you locate your flock’s nesting boxes in a busy area, your hens might avoid it. Similarly, if they’re easily accessible to roosters or bossy alpha hens, it’s likely too stressful for a quieter hen. In these cases, she will find her own, more suitable, area. 

Make sure your flock’s nesting boxes are inside the coop. Choose a corner where there’s no feeders, waterers, dust bathing areas, swings, or anything else that can attract another chicken to the area. Dedicate that nesting area just for laying eggs. Your hens will appreciate it!

Are Mites A Problem?

We all know what mites are. But did you know they can hide in nesting boxes? Not only that, they can turn a cozy, daydreamy nesting box into a nightmare. Eventually, mites can even cause death. If your flock’s nesting boxes are infested, your hens might avoid them altogether.

So, how do you know if there’s mites? Personally, I automatically assume mites will creep in, especially if I don’t do preventative maintenance. Regularly cleaning nesting areas helps. Spraying the area down with a cleaning solution and scrubbing it regularly is a simple but effective strategy. An all natural cleaner made from citrus is a cost-effective option. 

But don’t stop there. Cleaning prevents existing mites from making the boxes a home, but it doesn’t stop the invasion completely. Do double duty by adding herbs traditionally used to prevent external parasites to your nesting area. Herbs are a cost effective and all natural solution that can discourage mites from returning. Mites can cause anemia, which usually requires a visit to the vet to diagnose and cure. So preventing them is cheaper than a big vet bill. Always make sure to source your blends from a reliable source. We use this herb blend because it’s created specifically for chickens.

chicken mites and lice
A chicken with mites isn’t a comfortable chicken! Mites can make their nesting boxes an unhappy place to lay eggs. Get rid of them ASAP!

Does It Smell Bad? 

Finding eggs on your coop floor? Not always cleaning your nesting boxes when they need it? Then your hens are likely avoiding the smelly, confined areas. 

Who wants to lay in a dirty, stinky bed? Nobody. And your hens aren’t any different. Lots of things happen in nesting areas that humans can’t see. As the box gets dirtier and dirtier, problems compound. Eggs break. A hen drops manure or urine. Ammonia builds up. Their eyes start stinging. Feathers get stuck everywhere. It’s unpleasant.

The simplest way to avoid this is to clean the nesting boxes weekly. Remove all bedding, and do a wipe down. Then, add clean bedding and herbs. For a more detailed explanation, you can read this article to learn how to clean a coop.

It’s also important to clean any unusual messes as quickly as possible. For example, if an egg breaks, don’t allow the smell to fester and the egg to dry. It’ll be hard to get the stench out of your flock’s feathers. You’ll spend even more time cleaning. You’ll end up with stinky chickens in addition to no eggs. You want to avoid wetness, stickiness, and bad smells. Clean the box immediately, and replace any bedding and herbs. 

Which brings us to an important point: great smelling herbs are an easy way to keep your flock using their nesting boxes. Chickens are animals, and smells are very important. It’s how they understand their surroundings. They use scent to determine if an area is safe or not. We’ve found that adding herbs and dried flowers creates a more inviting area that smells better. Instead of repelling our chickens, the herbs invite our flock to use their nesting boxes. 

We like this product, which is full of fragrant, healthy herbs and flowers like calendula, lavender, chamomile, rose petals, and more. The herbs are all healthy for chickens, and other buyers report the herbs attract their chickens to nesting boxes better than just bedding alone.

Herbs can make any nesting box more attractive. This blend smells great, and chickens love it!

Is The Bedding Wrong?

Have you always used a certain type of bedding? Or, are you not using bedding at all? Chickens are sensitive, like a lot of prey animals. Bedding that doesn’t suit them – for whatever reason – can stop them from using their nesting boxes. If your flock won’t use your nesting boxes, try out different bedding options. Straw and pine shavings are two popular options. Adding herbs to bedding can also help attract your hens. In our coop, we use pine shavings from Tractor Supply and Best Eggs Ever! Nesting Box Herbs. Our flock enjoys them, and our hens always give us about a dozen eggs a day. 

Adding ENOUGH bedding is important, also. What would you rather sit on: a thin cushion or a nice, fluffy pillow? Personally, I’d opt for the fluffy pillow. I’m sure your chickens feel the same. 

When they lay eggs, the hens tuck their legs under them and bed down. Sitting on hard, cold metal hurts the shank of their legs and their toes. If their coop floor offers nice, fluffy shavings, they’ll likely opt to lay their eggs on the softer area. Add at least 1 inch of shavings per nesting box, and top it with ½ cup of herbs and flowers. Adding extra bedding and herbs can cost a bit extra, but it’s better than spending money on feed with no eggs to show for it! Your hens will show their appreciation by giving you lovely butt nuggets!

Whatever bedding you choose, just make sure to stay away from cedar shavings. While they smell good, some studies have shown that the aroma can have a long-term negative impact on your flock’s health. 

Are The Boxes Too High Or Too Low?

It’s true, sometimes chickens can sometimes be picky. While we have a lot of nesting options in our coop, for whatever reason, our flock refuses to use any that are placed too high. There’s a Goldilocks zone. If a new nesting box isn’t within those parameters, they ignore it. 

For example, a company sent us some nesting boxes to test out. The product looked perfect. But we committed a cardinal sin (at least a sin in the eyes of our chickens): We placed the boxes higher than our other nesting boxes. The hens promptly ignored them. As soon as we lowered the boxes, our chickens used them. 

It can go the opposite way, too. Sometimes nesting boxes are TOO close to the ground, and hens avoid them. This happens especially if the nesting boxes are directly on the ground. There’s a lot less privacy, and potential for opportunistic predators to infest the area to steal eggs. Bossy hens, roosters, rats, snakes, skunks, or other predators can easily enter the box. Because it’s not safe, chickens then lay their eggs in undesirable areas. 

If everything else in your coop seems okay, then perhaps the height of your boxes is the problem. Try lowering them or raising them to see how your flock reacts. It can be a chore, but so is an Easter egg hunt every day. In the long run, you’ll be happier with the results by finding your flock’s “ Goldilocks Zone.”

Choose Materials Your Hens Prefer

When we purchased our new coop, I had visions of easily removable plastic nesting boxes. I wanted to power wash them weekly to keep them dirt free. My flock had other plans. To this day, they refuse to use plastic nesting boxes. Instead, they’re fans of stainless steel. I’m still scratching my head, but that’s just the way it is.

Nesting boxes come in all shapes and sizes. They can be made of wood, stainless steel, plastic, wicker, and any other material you can imagine. Like people, chickens have their own preferences. This is especially true if you have an opinionated alpha hen. She can influence an entire flock. And sometimes, chickens just prefer one type of nesting box over another. 

For example, if your nesting boxes are made of cedar, it’s possible your hens want to avoid inhaling harmful fumes. If the boxes are plastic, maybe they’re just too slippery. If it’s winter, maybe the stainless steel gets too cold. In the summer, maybe it’s too warm. Maybe it’s too sharp or too hard, and it hurts them. 

Examine your own flock’s habits. Observe them as they interact with the nesting boxes. From there, you can figure out if they’re avoiding their boxes because they don’t like what the boxes are made from. You’d be surprised what you can learn by spending a few hours watching your chickens. You might end up investing in new nesting boxes,  but it’s cheaper than getting a big feed bill with no eggs to show for it.

When they love their boxes, hens will double up to use them!

Make Sure You Have Enough Nesting Boxes

It’s best to have approximately 1 nesting box for every 3 hens. Yes, sometimes your hens will all use the same nesting box. But please give them plenty of options. For example, if you have 5 chickens, 2-3 nesting boxes is best. For 10 hens, then 3 nesting boxes is a good number. If you have 15 hens, 5 boxes is best.

Why is this ratio important? It comes down to promoting good behavior and cleanliness. Let’s pretend two or more hens need to lay eggs at the same time. Where will all these lovely ladies lay? Sometimes, two chickens can pile into a nesting box. 

But most boxes can’t accommodate more than two hens. More importantly, they shouldn’t. When hens pile into a box, chaos happens. Eggs break, and fights start. If it’s hot, your hens can overheat. Somebody can get smushed or suffocate. Your hens might avoid the boxes altogether because it’s too stressful.

Having plenty of nesting boxes also prevents bullying. If you have a dominant hen, she might stop other hens from laying in “her” box. Then, the other hens start laying in undesirable areas. They have to lay somewhere! To avoid all these disasters, just follow this simple strategy. Build 1 nesting box for every 3 hens. You’ll get better eggs and have happier hens!

Final Thoughts

Yes, some chickens can be picker than others. But if your flock has suddenly stopped using their boxes altogether OR if they never used them to begin with, it’s pretty safe to say your flock’s tastes aren’t the only issue. Likely, the problem is environmental. Hopefully, I’ve given you a few ideas you can test in your own coop. You don’t need to implement every single strategy we discussed. But if you notice your flock is laying eggs in undesirable areas, it’s worth printing out this article and using it as a checklist. From there, you can determine whether you’re making any of the mistakes we covered. Good luck and let me know how it works out by leaving a comment below!

How To Tell If Eggs Are Good (5 Best Ways)

How To Tell If Eggs Are Good (5 Best Ways)

Wondering how to tell if eggs are good? We’ve all been there. 

 

You open the refrigerator, excited to cook a delicious omelet or a healthy scramble. You open the egg carton, only to notice that the expiration date stamped on the cardboard has long since passed.

 

What’s an egg-lover to do? Don’t rush to toss the carton in the trash.

 

A stinking, rotten smell of sulfur is a telltale sign that your eggs are no longer edible, but it’s not the only technique that you can follow. Expiration dates are good estimations of how long you can let eggs sit in your refrigerator – but as mere approximations, they aren’t always reliable on their own.

 

Here are some of the best methods of how to tell if eggs are good – with or without an expiration date.

 

How long do eggs stay fresh?

Good info about how long eggs stay fresh!

Posted by I Love Backyard Chickens on Thursday, November 22, 2018

 

When Do Eggs Usually Go Bad?

Believe it or not, not all eggs go bad at exactly the same time – and you can’t always trust the posted dates. 

 

Remember that the estimated freshness and longevity of eggs is determined by the American Egg Board, an association whose job it is to increase national demand for products on behalf of U.S. egg producers – it wants you to buy more eggs, so the dates are going to be more conservative. 

 

Nevertheless, these dates are good first lines of defense against food borne illness. Eggs can usually last in the refrigerator for about 30 days after packing. When you look at your egg carton, you may see a variety of dates, including a sell-by, expiration, or pack-by date. Usually, you’re safe to eat eggs within 21-30 days of any of these dates. 

 

The quality of the egg will usually start to decline after a certain date, but will still usually be safe to eat. Unfortunately, if you are eating your own farm-fresh eggs, determining freshness and safety without an expiration date can be a bit more tricky. 

 

Usually, raw whole eggs are safe to eat for about four or five weeks, while raw eggs that have been processed in any way (for example, separated egg whites and yolks or hard-boiled eggs) are only safe for about two to seven days. Once heat has been applied or the eggshell has been removed, there is a greater likelihood that bacteria is going to interfere with the freshness of the egg.

 

How To Tell if Eggs are Good Past the Expiration Date

Unless you’ve cooked the eggs or altered them in some way, don’t toss them just because the expiration date has passed. As with meat and produce, it’s pretty easy to tell whether your eggs have gone bad without needing to look at the expiration date. 

 

Remember, refrigeration preserves the quality of the egg quite dramatically, so as long as your eggs have been stored properly, you have a bit of extra insurance.

 

Here are some easy methods of how to tell if your eggs are good.

How to Tell How Old Your Eggs Really Are

This is GENIUS! Chicken eggs only stay good for so long….

Posted by I Love Backyard Chickens on Sunday, September 24, 2017

Step One: The Visual Inspection

If you’ve already sniffed your eggs and can’t tell whether they’ve gone bad or not, using your eyes is another great way to tell whether your eggs are safe to eat. 

 

Before cracking your egg, make sure the shell is not cracked. A crack can not only indicate the presence of bacteria, but a crack can cause an egg to spoil more quickly than it would if it were contained in an unbroken shell.

 

You should also look out for a slimy or powdery appearance on the egg. A powdery appearance can indicate mold, while sliminess can be a sign of bacterial growth. 

 

Step Two: Eggs in the Bowl 

It sounds like the name of a fun Easter scavenger hunt, but this method simply refers to the act of placing your egg in a bowl of water to determine whether it is still fresh or not. This is also called “the egg float test.”

 

 

Eggs are porous, and the liquid that is contained inside the egg evaporates over time, replacing the liquid with additional outside air. When the egg fills with air, it will float. Therefore, by placing an egg in a bowl filled with cold water, you can determine whether it is safe to eat. An egg that sinks to the bottom and lays flat on its side is still fresh, while on that floats to the surface is no longer fresh.

 

What if your egg stands on one end at the bottom of the bowl? It’s still probably safe to eat, but it won’t be as fresh. 

 

Step Three: Audio Test

The audio test of determining egg freshness works according to the same science as the one above – older eggs begin to fill with air. 

 

To conduct the audio test, simply hold an egg to your ear and shake it. You’ll need to have good hearing, but if you can hear a sloshing sound inside the egg, you need to toss it – it’s not safe to eat.

Step Four: Crack ‘n Sniff

Here’s where we get more advanced. Perhaps you’ve tried the steps above and aren’t convinced that your egg is fresh – but you also don’t know for sure that it’s spoiled. Here’s what you need to do.

 

Crack the egg into a pan. Before you continue cooking, it’s important to make sure the egg isn’t loaded with nasty egg-borne bacteria. 

 

Take a close look at the egg. If it’s fresh, the yolk will be a bright yellow or orange and the whites should stay right in place. They may spread out a little bit, but they won’t be overly runny. Similarly, the yolks of older eggs may appear flattened or discolored. In particular, keep an eye out for any black, blue, pink, or green shades in the whites and yolk – this can be a sign of bacterial growth.

 

If either of these criteria is evident when you crack your eggs, discard them. If you still aren’t convinced, give the questionable egg in the pan a sniff. If it doesn’t have a smell, it’s probably safe to eat, but you might want to hard boil the rest of the eggs as they’ll taste fresher this way.

 

Step Five: Flashlight Test

If you have ever hatched your own baby chicks at home, you might already be familiar with the flashlight test, also known as “candling” an egg. You can easily use the candling or flashlight method as a way to tell if eggs are good in the kitchen, too. 

 

To do this, venture into a dark room with a flashlight. Any small flashlight or reading light will do. Place the flashlight so that the light is shining up into the large end of the egg. Tilt the egg and move it quickly from left to right. 

 

This will allow the contents of the egg to be illuminated. Look closely at what’s inside. You should be able to see the air cells in the egg. The fresher an egg is, the thinner and smaller the air pockets will be. 

 

How to Keep Eggs Fresher – For Longer

Do you feel as though your eggs begin to spoil as soon as you get them home from the grocery store? If so, you could be making a simple mistake in storing them. Although some refrigerators are equipped with egg compartments in the door, this is actually not the best place to store them – they will experience too many temperature fluctuations here. 

 

Instead, store your eggs in the main part of the refrigerator, where it’s colder and the temperature is more stable. If you are eating eggs from your own chickens, avoid washing them until you’re ready to use them. 

 

The outer layer of the egg contains bloom, a covering that helps prevent the buildup of bacteria and also works to preserve freshness. And don’t worry if you see a blood spot in the yolk. It’s perfectly safe to eat and is simply a sign of a fertilized egg.

 

You can also freeze your eggs if you have more than you know you will use in a given time frame. Frozen eggs will cook up just like fresh eggs, but the freezing process will help to keep your eggs fresher for longer. 

 

Why It’s Important to Know How to Tell if Eggs Are Good

You may eat eggs every day, or they may be an occasional treat in your household.

 

Whatever the case may be, it’s important for you to know how to tell if eggs are good or not. Not only can these strategies prevent you from unnecessarily throwing away safe, delicious eggs, but they can also help keep you safe from food borne illnesses.

 

Food borne diseases that are caused by bacteria, such as Salmonella, often produce eggs that look, smell, and appear completely normal. Therefore, it’s not only important to conduct these other tests but to make sure you completely and fully cook your egg to a safe temperature before you go ahead and eat it. 

 

And remember, even if you can’t eat your eggs because they’re past their prime, there are plenty of ways to avoid wasting them. Use the eggshells in your garden as a fertilizer or pest repellent, and in the meantime, maybe whip up some cereal for breakfast instead.

 

What Color Eggs Will My Chickens Lay?

What Color Eggs Will My Chickens Lay?

Chicken eggs come in a variety of colors, and since we are looking at the whole process of a chick’s life, we may as well look at that awkward transition between the alpha state and the omega state, too. One of the biggest questions people have is “What color eggs will my chicken lay?” This is a big question, one that I’ve decided to answer today.

 

For me, the thrill of having chickens begins before they are even hatched, as chickens will need care and attention even from when they are still in their eggs. I don’t know about you, but I love eggs. Sure, they are incredibly useful in the kitchen, but if we’re hatching them, we’re not thinking food, are we? No, what I’m talking about is egg color. 

 

    1. The Surefire Way
    2. Disclaimer!
    3. Earlobe Color
    4. Easter Eggers
    5. Ayam Cemanis
    6. Silkies
    7. Summary

 

 

 

The Surefire Way Of Knowing What Color Eggs Your Chicken Will Lay

There are a few different ways you can sort of predict what color eggs your chicken will lay, but really? The only surefire way to know what color eggs your chickens will lay is by waiting until the egg is actually laid. Beyond that, there are some other ways that can probably help you figure out what color egg your hen will lay. 

 

Disclaimer!

Before we get started with this, I must say that there are always exceptions to everything I say here. Don’t message me or leave a comment below about how I’m wrong because a specific breed might not follow the conventions mentioned in this video. There are always going to be exceptions, and I will touch upon some of them. Please keep in mind that the information in this video is very generalized advice. 

 

Will Ear Lobe Color Tell You Egg Color?

From a conventional standpoint, if your chicken has white ear lobes, it will lay white eggs. If your chicken has red earlobes, it will lay brown eggs

 

Some very obvious exceptions to this, notably, are Easter Eggers, Silkies, and Ayam Cemanis – or any sort of chicken that is completely black. Silkies and Polish Bantams have blue ear lobes, but they can lay like a white egg or a cream-colored egg. Easter Eggers have red ear lobes and they can lay any sort of color eggs, from brown to cream to pink to blue to green to teal.

 

Exceptions To Ear Lobe Color

Easter Eggers

Easter Eggers aren’t a breed, exactly, and the colors of their eggs do have something to do with that chicken’s particular genetics. Because they are more like a hybrid, their eggs can be one of a massive variety of colors. With Easter Eggers, the idea that red ear lobes mean brown eggs doesn’t work in reality. 

 

An Easter Egger can lay brown, white, cream, blue, green, or even pink eggs. There’s no way to know until she actually starts laying.

 

One thing to note is that each Easter Egger hen can only lay one color throughout that hen’s lifetime. If you want a different color egg from your Easter Egger, you need to have another hen. 

 

Ayam Cemanis

Ayam Cemanis and chickens that have purely all black skin are another exception. Even though they’re completely black in color, and they have black ear lobes, Ayam Cemanis don’t lay black eggs; their eggs are cream-colored.

 

Silkies

Silkies also have black skin, but they’re not purely black because they do have the blue ear lobes. They also do not lay black eggs, but rather cream-colored eggs

 

There is to the best of my knowledge, while no chicken lays a black egg, emus do lay black eggs.

 

Summary

There you have it! While most chicken breeds are at least mostly predictable, there are the exceptions. Easter Eggers, especially, are tricky: the only way you are guaranteed to know what color egg will come out of your chicken is by seeing the egg that comes out of its vent. But this unexpected fluke of genetics is one of the exciting parts of raising your own chickens! When your chicks are ready to start laying, the anticipation of seeing the eggs will keep you on your toes. 

 

Got questions? Got comments? Got suggestions? Leave a comment below

 

Additional reading:

How often do chickens lay eggs?

When chickens stop laying eggs

Chicken breeds that lay colored eggs

Chicken Breeds Guide

12 Chickens That Lay Colored Eggs: Blue, Green, Chocolate, and Pink!

12 Chickens That Lay Colored Eggs: Blue, Green, Chocolate, and Pink!

Every backyard flock owner dreams of raising chickens that lay colored eggs. Who doesn’t want a paint box of vibrant colors in your morning basket?

 

But first, you need hens that lay colored eggs – so you gotta know which breeds LAY colored eggs!

 

In this article, you’ll discover which chicken breeds lay:

  • Blue eggs
  • Green eggs
  • Dark brown eggs
  • Pink Eggs

 

We’ll also share where you can buy these types of chickens!

 

Chickens That Lay Blue Eggs

What Breed Of Chickens Lay Blue Eggs?

  • Araucana
  • Ameraucana
  • Cream Legbar
  • Easter Egger
  • Arkansas Blue

 

Did you know all eggs are either blue or white? You can read more about different colored eggs here

 

Araucana

This ancient breed is named after the Araucania region of Chile – where scientists say they evolved. Araucana chickens lay blue eggs and have an appearance unlike most other chickens – they grow tufts of feathers near their ears, called “peduncles.”

 

Araucanas also are “rumpless” (meaning they don’t have tails), so don’t expect your roosters to grow any long tail feathers.

 

Many people confuse Araucanas with Ameraucanas and Easter Eggers. They can look similar, but they’re different breeds with different egg laying abilities. You can read more about the difference between Ameraucana and Araucanas here:

 

 

So if you want this type of chicken in your flock, go to a reliable breeder.

 

The hens lay about 200 beautiful blue eggs every year. You can learn more about Araucana chickens here.

 

Ameraucana

Wondering “what color eggs do ameraucana chickens lay?” Well, they’re blue! Ameraucanas were created by American researchers, who used Araucana bloodlines, but eliminated a lethal gene that kills a portion of chicks before they hatched. (Ameraucana is a conglomeration of the words “American” and “Araucana.”)

 

Like their Araucana foremothers, this breed lays blue eggs. They have a distinctive appearance with tufts of feathers, muffs, and a “beard” of feathers that makes their chicks look like balls of fluff. They also have a pea comb.

Ameraucana hens lay about 200 blue eggs a year, and they can be a light sky blue to almost green.

 

You can read more about Ameraucanas here.

 

Cream Legbar

Cream Legbars are a relatively new 20th century chicken breed that was created by researchers at Cambridge University. These scientists crossed Leghorns, Barred Plymouth Rocks, and Cambars with Araucanas to create a second type of blue egg layer that also eliminated the lethal Araucana gene.

 

These chickens have cream-colored feathers (hence the name Cream Legbar). They also look different from Ameraucanas, Araucanas, and Easter Eggers.

 

Cream Legbars hens lay about 200 blue or bluish green eggs annually.

 

Arkansas Blue

This is a relatively unknown breed that’s been developed by researchers in Arkansas. They’re not for sale currently. They don’t have muffs, tufts, or beards, however, they do have a pea comb and lay blue eggs.

 

Easter Egger

Many new backyard chicken owners have heard of Easter Eggers! They’re a very popular breed because they lay different colored eggs.

 

These hens lay about 250 eggs per year, and some do lay blue eggs. Unlike the chicken breeds previously mentioned, not all Easter Eggers will lay blue eggs.

 

In fact, this type of chicken is a hybrid – a cross between a blue egg layer (like Ameraucana) and a brown egg layer (like a Plymouth rock). An Easter Egger chicken can lay blue, green, brown, or pink eggs!

 

Each chicken only lays one color egg though. If you want blue eggs, it’s best to stick with Ameraucana, Araucanas, or Cream Legbars.

 

You can read more about Easter Eggers here.

 

What Chicken Lays The Bluest Eggs?

Araucana eggs are the bluest eggs known, and are caused by the oocyan gene. This breed evolved in Chile, and all other blue egg laying breeds are descended from Araucanas. The blue egg gene is a mutation caused by a retrovirus.

 

Chickens That Lay Green Eggs

What Breed Of Chickens Lay Green Eggs?

  • Easter Eggers
  • Olive Eggers
  • Isbars
  • Ice Cream Bars
  • Favaucanas

 

Easter Egger

As previously mentioned Easter Eggers can lay green colored eggs – however, it’s not guaranteed. The color of the eggs will depend on the genetics of the individual chicken. So, if you definitely want green eggs, then check out the breeds below.

 

Olive Egger

What chickens lay olive green eggs? Like other types of chickens mentioned on this list, Olive Eggers aren’t a true breed – they’re hybrids. BUT they lay great dark green eggs!

 

They’re a cross between a blue egg layer and a dark brown egg layer, and their eggs can range from dark green to a brownish green egg. One breed combination that makes an olive egger chicken is an Ameraucana hen and a Marans rooster.

 

The amount of eggs olive eggers lay depends on the individual bird (since they’re a hybrid) but you can usually expect about 200 eggs per year.

 

Isbar

Isbar (pronounced “ice bar”) is a Swedish breed developed in the mid-20th century by Martin Silverudd, who wanted to create an autosexing chicken breed that consistently laid colored eggs. (Autosexing means you can tell the sex of a chick as soon as it hatches).

 

This breed lays about 200 green colored eggs each year. You can buy Isbars at Greenfire Farms, among other breeders.

 

Ice Cream Bars

Ice Cream Bars are a cross between Isbars and Cream Legbars – and they lay green eggs! Many owners say their eggs are colored teal or blueish green – so it seems the actual shade depends on the individual hen.

 

Favaucana

Like the other chickens on this list, Favaucanas are a hybrid chicken (which isn’t bad – usually hybrids are healthier and friendly). They’re a breed sold on My Pet Chicken, and is created by crossing Favorelles with Amerauanas. They lay “sage green” eggs, and are said to have friendly personalities.

 

Chickens That Lay Dark Brown (Chocolate Eggs)

  • Barnvelder
  • Welsummer
  • Marans

Barnvelder

Barnvelders originate from the Barneveld region of Holland. They were developed about 200 years ago by crossing local Dutch chickens with breeds imported from Asia such as Cochins or Brahmas.

 

Barnevelders are beautiful birds – the hens display a black-and-white or buff-and-white “double laced” feathering, giving them a distinctive appearance. Roosters have blue and green tinged double lacing, with a single comb. They were included in the American Standard of Perfection in 1991.

 

Some unrecognized varieties are auto-sexing (meaning, you can tell the sex of the chick when it’s born). These types include:

  • Barred
  • Dark brown
  • Partridge
  • Chamois
  • Blue
  • Silver

 

Welsummer

Welsummers are intelligent and docile chickens that add nice, chocolate-brown eggs to any backyard flock. Like their name implies, they originated in Holland. They love to forage, and you can expect up to 200 eggs per year. You can buy Welsummers at any major hatchery.

 

Marans

Originating in the town of Marans, France, Marans eggs (particularly Black Copper Marans) are noted as the best in the world – in fact, some chefs will ONLY cook with Marans eggs!

 

While historically a dual purpose breed, many people now raise these chickens for its striking egg color and beautiful appearance.

 

Maran eggs are traditionally a deep chocolate brown color, although the exact color will depend on the individual bird. You can usually tell how dark a hen’s eggs will be after she lays 12 eggs (the first 12 might be darker than the remaining eggs she lays.)

 

What Breed Of Chickens Lay Pink Eggs?

Easter Egger eggs can sometimes be pink. However, this hybrid breed can also lay eggs of varying colors that range from blue, green, or brown. Take note that a hen will only lay one color of egg.

 

Easter Eggers are great for beginners because they lay consistently (about 250 eggs per year) – There is no standard for this chicken breed, and one chicken can look quite different from another.

 

Can A Chicken Lay Different Colored Eggs?

No, a hen will only produce one color of egg, and the tint of her eggshells is determined by her genetics. Unlike yolks, you cannot change the color of her eggs based on diet. That being said, if the hen is stressed, she might lay lighter eggs or weird looking eggshells. However, some breeds, like Easter Eggers, will produce hens that can each lay a different color egg (so one hen will lay blue eggs, one will lay green, etc).

 

Why Are My Chickens Eggs Getting Lighter In Color?

A decrease in pigmentation in the eggshell can be caused by a poor diet, stress, or age. Stress such as predators or heat stress can cause a lightening of the eggshell. Make sure your hens have plenty of protein and fresh water. To make sure her diet is right, feed your hen a good layer feed with 16% protein.

 

Do Different Color Eggs Taste Different?

No, eggs with different colors doesn’t taste any different than a regular white egg. The taste of an egg depends on the quality of the hen’s diet, not the color of the eggshell. You can read more about what to feed chickens for great tasting eggs here, what chickens eat here, and about alternative feeds for chickens here. For golden egg yolks, offer your flock herbs.

 

How Do You Tell What Color Egg A Chicken Will Lay?

You can tell by the breed of a chicken – Plymouth rock will lay brown eggs, for example. You can also look at the earlobes, although this isn’t much help determining the egg color of Easter Eggers or chickens when you don’t know the breed (some can lay brown eggs, some olive eggs, etc). Traditionally, hens with white earlobes will lay white eggs while hens with red earlobes will lay brown eggs. The exception is Silkies, which have blue earlobes, but lay white eggs.

 

Do Chicken Ears Determine Egg Color?

Chicken earlobes can be a determinant of their egg color. Traditionally, hens with white earlobes will lay white eggs while hens with red earlobes will lay brown eggs. However, in practice, this isn’t a good indicator because Silkies have blue earlobes, but lay white eggs, while blue or green egg laying chickens have red earlobes.

 

How Many Different Color Eggs Do Chickens Lay?

A chicken will lay only one color of eggs. Some breeds, like Easter Eggers, will have hens who lay different colored eggs, but each individual hen will only lay a single egg color her whole life (so, one hen will lay blue eggs, another will lay green eggs, etc).

 

What Chicken Lays Purple Eggs?

No chickens lay colored eggs that are a true purple. Eggs have a protective layer on their outside called “the bloom,” which helps eggs stay fresh and bacteria free. Some hens will lay brown eggs with a heavy bloom that can tint the egg purple. However, when the bloom is washed off, the egg will be brown.

 

Does The Rooster Determine Egg Color?

No – both parents determine egg color. That’s why hybrid breeds – like Olive Eggers – can exist. One parent has a blue egg laying gene while the other has a dark brown egg laying gene. So, chickens that lay colored eggs have genes from both parents that influence shell color. You can read more about how roosters influence laying here.

 

Which chickens that lay colored eggs do you raise? Leave a comment below!

How Often Do Chickens Lay Eggs? Ultimate Guide To Laying

How Often Do Chickens Lay Eggs? Ultimate Guide To Laying

Eggs are one of the amazing benefits of having chickens in your care – along with companionship and having a coveted family pet and honorary member. But if you’re brand new to chickens, or if you’re trying to make sense of all the old wives tales out there, you might wonder “how often do chickens lay eggs anyway?”

Whenever a non-chicken person stops by the farm, I’m certainly asked this question! Well, if you’re wondering, “How many eggs do chickens lay?”, the truth is, it depends on a few factors:

  • Breed
  • Diet
  • The season
  • Their environment

Let’s take a look at each factor above, and by the end of this article, you’ll have a clearer idea of how many eggs you can expect your hens to lay, as well as things that can cause egg laying to stop.

How Often Do Chickens Lay Eggs And How Many?

Factor #1: Breed

Some chicken breeds are more inclined to lay eggs consistently, while other breeds aren’t. Obviously, this will effect how often these chickens lay eggs. Two extreme examples to illustrate this point are Cornish Crosses and Production Reds. These are industrial breeds; Cornish Crosses are raised for meat, while Production Reds are bred for egg laying in factory farms.

Cornish Crosses don’t lay eggs very often – when we raised them as pets, they laid one egg a week or so. They’re too heavy with too many health problems to expect any real amount of eggs.

On the other hand, Production Reds are bred to lay eggs no matter what – we’ve had some that laid a nice brown egg every day (yes, 7 days a week). Most breeds are somewhere in the middle – they’ll lay between 4-6 eggs a week.

Here’s a breakdown of how often different popular chicken breeds lay eggs:

Breed Frequency (on average) Lay in Winter?
How often do Silkie chickens lay eggs? 3-4 times a week Not without extra lights
How often do Ameraucana chickens lay eggs? 4-5 times a week Not without extra lights
How often do Bantam chickens lay eggs? 3-4 times a week Not without extra lights
How often do Barred Plymouth Rock chickens lay eggs? 4-5 times a week Yes, it’s possible
How often do Black Sex Link chickens lay eggs? 5-6 times a week Yes, it’s possible
How often do broiler chickens lay eggs? 1-2 times a week Not typically.
How often do Rhode Island Red chickens lay eggs? 5-6 times a week Heritage blood lines need extra lights, industrial blood lines might not.
How often do Dominique chickens lay eggs? 4-5 times a week Yes, it’s possible. Adding a light to the chicken coop is a good idea, though.
How often do free range chickens lay eggs? 4-5 times a week (if you can find them) If they’re not cooped regularly, probably not.
How often do Leghorn chickens lay eggs? 4-6 times a week Yes, it’s possible
How often do Partridge Rock chickens lay eggs? 4-5 times a week Yes, it’s possible

Factor #2: Diet

Diet effects egg laying ability, and it’s frequently people who aren’t feeding their flocks a good, high protein diet who email me asking “how often do chickens lay eggs?” because they’re frustrated with their hens. When a hen doesn’t have enough protein, nutrients, or calcium in her diet, it can cause her to stop laying eggs. After all, egg laying is about reproduction – if her body isn’t healthy, the first thing her body will do is stop anything except the bare necessities to live.

A diet that includes a 16% layer feed and a calcium supplement is ideal. You can free-feed your chickens, or offer 1-2 cups of grain per hen each day. These are the best chicken feeders we recommend that make it easy to feed hens without wasting a ton of food. It’s also a good idea to supplement her diet with table scraps or treats, such as black soldier fly larvae.

Factor #3: Seasons

Chickens will lay less in winter than they do in the spring, summer, and fall. Partly this is caused by the shortage of daylight in the winter, and partly (particularly in very cold areas) it’s caused by her body reserving calories for warmth. It takes a lot of energy to lay an egg! If she’s stopped laying from November – February, she’ll likely pick back up in March (in the Northern Hemisphere – this will be the opposite for our Aussie and Kiwi friends in the Southern Hemisphere).

Factor #4: Environment

Environmental stress can effect how often chicken lay eggs, so it’s always best to provide a quiet, predator free chicken coop that’s not over crowded.  When a hen is stressed, the calories she eats are diverted towards supporting her body – and not to laying eggs. In some cases, when a hen is very stressed over predators, she might stop laying together for a while.

Another reason hens stop laying is if their nesting boxes aren’t up to snuff. Chickens need to feel safe when laying eggs, and if they don’t, they might stop laying. A nesting box in a quiet, dark area that’s away from the rest of the flock (and especially roosters) is idea. You can make your chicken nesting boxes out of anything that’s easy to clean.

It’s also a good idea to put sweet smelling herbs in the nesting boxes – they’ll relax the hen and attract her to the nesting box (so she doesn’t lay elsewhere). Similarly, when chickens live in crowded conditions, or she lives with competing roosters who overly mate with her, it can spike her stress levels, and she’ll go off her eggs.

It’s best to build a coop with 10 square feet of space per bird, and with lots of roosting bars for them to rest on. It’s also important to keep out predators, rats, dogs, etc, so your flock feels safe. You can check out our top free chicken coop plans here.

How Often Do Chickens Stop Laying Eggs?

Chickens stop laying eggs for a variety of reasons: season, diet, and stress are some common factors. You also might think your hens have stopped laying eggs – but they’re actually hiding them! This is common with free range chickens. If your hen is broody, and is sitting on a clutch, she’ll also stop laying eggs until her chicks are hatched and able to fend for themselves (about 2-3 months). Weather also can effect egg production – if a hen is heat stressed, she will stop laying. Similarly, if she’s dehydrated, her body will shut down (you can learn how to make a DIY automatic chicken waterer for $12 here – these are a LIFESAVER in the summer!)

Do Chickens Lay Eggs Every Day Naturally?

Hens will naturally lay eggs, but not necessarily one each day. Most chickens require about 12-14 hours of daylight each day to produce eggs, since egg laying is a hormonal response to sunlight. In addition, it can take about 24 hours for an egg to make it from the hen’s ovary,  through her oviduct and encased in calcium, to her vent, so it can be finally laid. There’s really no way to speed up this process – so it’s reasonable to expect your chickens to lay eggs every 24-26 hours. Most hens take a day or two off each week – and that’s completely natural.

How Many Eggs Does A Hen Lay In A Day? Do Chicken Lay Eggs Every Day?

Typically, one egg. Hens need 12-14 hours of daylight each day to produce eggs. So, a hen will lay 1 egg every day or every other day, as long as she gets 12-14 hours of light each day. In the winter, her production might decrease because the days are shorter.

So, How Many Eggs Per Week Does A Chicken Lay? The number of eggs per week a chicken lays depends largely on factors such as their breed, nutritional intake, and environmental conditions. Most chickens are known to lay 5 eggs a week or at least one every other day, for about 300 eggs per year.

Do Chickens Lay Eggs At The Same Time Every Day?

Even though most hens don’t lay every day, it’s certainly possible that a hen could lay eggs at the same time. However, most of the time, she won’t. Hens lay eggs every 24-26 hours – so she might lay her eggs in the morning one week, and in the evening another week. It’s a crapshoot! Ultimately, hens just follow their own rhythm, and lay when nature tells them to.

What Time Of Day Do Chickens Lay Eggs?

It seems like a lot of hens lay their eggs in the morning, but chickens lay eggs all throughout the day. In fact, you might see several hens fighting over the nesting box! They won’t lay their eggs at night though – they like to sleep and stay safe by roosting at night.

Is It Painful For Chickens To Lay Eggs?

There has been no clear evidence to support the claim that laying eggs hurt chickens. Of course, very large eggs laid by a very small hen might cause an issue such as egg binding or prolapsed vent, which is painful. But on average, it seems laying an egg isn’t the same as pushing out a baby every 24 hours. In fact, you’ll probably hear your hens singing “the egg song” after laying – it might just relieve them to finally pop out the egg!

Does A Chicken Need A Rooster To Lay An Egg?

No, a chicken doesn’t need a rooster to lay eggs – hens will produce their “butt nuggets” whether or not a rooster is present. This is because egg laying is a hormonal response to the amount of light – not whether she has a mate or not. If you want fertilized eggs so you can hatch chicks, then you’ll need a rooster. You can read about the best incubators we recommend here.

Is It Possible For A Chicken To Lay 2 Eggs A Day?

Yes, it is possible – if she lays “an egg within an egg.” This occurs when, for whatever reason, an egg that was released from the ovary doesn’t make it down the oviduct, and stays in her body for an additional length of time. Meanwhile, the ovary has released a second yolk, which is then also enveloped in calcium – along with the first egg. It’s important to remember, though, that this isn’t a typical thing – it’s really an abnormal egg.

How Long Does It Take For A Chicken To Push Out An Egg?

It usually takes 24 to 26 hours to fully form the egg and lay it.

How Many Eggs Do Chicken Lay A Year?

To determine how many eggs a chicken will lay in a year depends primarily on the breed, nutrition provided, and the overall management of the flock. Most egg laying breeds will lay about 300 eggs per year. Here’s a chart of the more popular breeds:

Breed Eggs per year (on average)
Silkie chickens 200-250 per year
Ameraucana chickens 250 – 280 per year
Barred Rock chickens Approx. 300 per year
Bantam chickens 250 – 280 per year
Black Sex Link chickens Approx. 300 per year
Rhode Island Red chickens Approx. 300 per year
Dominique chickens 250 – 280 per year
Leghorn chickens Approx. 300 per year

How Many Eggs Are In A Chicken? Are Hens Born With All Their Eggs?

A hen is born with all the egg yolks she’ll ever have (the yolks are what’s actually released from her ovary – hens have two ovaries, but only one is functional). The amount of actual yolks in her ovaries changes from chicken to chicken – they’re individuals after all. However, most hens lay consistently for the first 3 years of their lives. Since many breeds lay about 300 eggs a year, and they don’t start laying until they’re 6-8 months old, you can reasonably expect a hen to lay about 600-1,000 eggs during her lifetime.

Do Large Eggs Hurt Chickens?

Although most of the time it doesn’t hurt a chicken to lay an egg, it’s completely possible an overly large egg might hurt. The vent does stretch to accommodate laying, but an egg that’s a much larger size than normal would put extra strain on the hen. However, there’s nothing you can do to stop this – egg laying is natural, and sometimes, the eggs are larger than normal because that’s nature’s way.  

Do Male Chickens Lay Eggs?

No – just female chickens. The male chickens, called roosters, fertilize the eggs and protect the hens and provide companionship.

How Long Is The Egg Laying Process?

The egg laying process takes about 24 to 26 hours to produce and form the egg. The process – releasing the yolk from the ovary and encasing it with albumen (white egg parts) and the shell starts again 30 minutes after the chicken has laid an egg. You can read about all the parts of an egg here.

How Often Do Chickens Lay Double Yolk Eggs?

While double yolk eggs happen frequently and aren’t anything to worry about, there’s no telling when hens will lay eggs with two yolks. Some hens lay them consistently, and some hens will only do it once in their lives. You can read more about double yolk eggs here.

How Often Do Chickens Lay Eggs In The Wild?

Just like domestic breeds, wild chickens lay eggs every 24-26 hours – but this depends on the season, her health, and her diet.

How Often Do Chickens Have To Mate To Lay Eggs?

Hens will lay eggs regardless of whether they mate with a rooster or not. If you want to hatch chicks, however, you will need a rooster to fertilize the eggs. You can read about how chickens mate right here.

What Do Chickens Do With Unfertilized Eggs?

If the hen is “broody,” meaning she wants to hatch eggs, she’ll sit on them even if they’re not fertile. If the hen isn’t broody, she’ll just leave the eggs in her nesting spot and go on with her day. Sometimes, hens will eat their own eggs, especially if their diet isn’t already sufficient, or if they’re bored.

How often do chickens lay eggs that are unfertilized? Well, that depends on whether they run with a rooster or not! If they’re cooped with a rooster, you can bet her eggs are consistently fertile. If there’s no rooster, then all her eggs will be unfertilized.

Chicken Nesting Boxes: Owner’s Guide

Chicken Nesting Boxes: Owner’s Guide

Chicken nesting boxes are central to owning hens – it’s where the magic of laying eggs happens!

 

Choosing the RIGHT nesting boxes is pretty important – I’m frequently contacted by owners who think their hens aren’t laying eggs.

 

But often, the issue is these hens just aren’t fans of their nesting areas – so they’re laying elsewhere.

 

And we all know that one of the best parts of being a chicken mama is being a chicken grandmama! The excitement can’t be contained when you find the fluffy butts sitting on eggs because they’ve gone broody.

 

But, as I said above, hens don’t just lay anywhere – just where they feel safe.

 

In this article, you’ll discover everything you need to know – whether you’ll buy your “egg depositories” or plan to use a chicken nesting boxes plans pdf to build your own.

 

If you plan to buy nesting boxes, these are the brands we recommend:

 

 

It’s most important that the nesting box is easy for your hens to get in and out of – the look or material is less important than your hens feel safe.

 

What can I use as a chicken nesting box?

Pretty much anything can be a nesting box – a basket, a box, 5 gallon buckets, you name it. The most important thing is that a nesting box is:

 

  • Quiet
  • Clean
  • Dark

 

You can find lots of DIY nesting box plans online – just choose a style that suits your flock and your coop.

 

How many nesting boxes are necessary?

Flocks of different sizes have different needs – you don’t need a million nesting boxes if you only have a few hens! While there really is no hard and fast rule about how many nesting boxes for chickens you should have, a basic rule of thumb is 1 nesting box per 4-5 chickens.

 

Why so few? Chickens are social animals, and hens like to share their laying space. In fact, if you enter your chicken coop at just the right time, you might find 2 or even 3 hens cluttering up ONE nesting box!

 

So, if you’re asking yourself, “how many nesting boxes do I need for 20 chickens?,” rest assured that 5 boxes is enough for 20 chickens.

 

They might only use two of those and making one nesting box for each hen is overkill!

 

How many nesting boxes do you need for 6 chickens?

Remember that for every 4-5 chickens, 1 box is best. So for 6 chickens, 2 boxes is enough.

 

What is the best material for a chicken nesting box?

Wood, metal, and plastic are popular choices for nesting boxes. DIY versions can be made from scrap wood left from a previous project, or plywood would be awesome! You can also make economical plastic chicken nesting boxes out of 5 gallon buckets, milk crates, and even cat litter boxes!

 

Some people like the Roll Out nest boxes you see on Amazon. These are usually made of metal, which is easy to clean and sanitize.

 

 

(Just remember that these contraptions take up space, and gravity plays a huge part for this kind of system – for it to work properly, the roll away nest box angle should be considered.)

 

Whichever material you choose, just remember that it’s important your hens’ living area is frequently cleaned – so choose material that’s easy to sanitize.

 

What’s the best bedding for chicken nest boxes? What do you put in a nesting box?

 

  1. Pine Shavings
  2. Straw
  3. Hay
  4. Cedar Shavings
  5. Grass clippings
  6. Recycled or shredded newspaper
  7. Shredded leaves
  8. Nesting pads

 

For bedding, we use pine shavings. They’re easy to clean, easy to find in farm stores, and economical.

 

Straw and hay are fine as well – you will likely need to change the bedding more often. Some people claim straw and hay can harbor chicken mites. This might be true (but really, any bedding can if you don’t change it often enough).

 

Grass clippings and shredded leaves aren’t recommended. They’re not very absorbent and will get dirty a lot faster. Grass in particular creates a gross, moist environment fast. Newspaper isn’t very absorbent either, and the ink will get on your hens and possibly the eggs.

 

Lastly, some people object to using cedar in their coops, claiming the scent of cedar might harm chickens. While the jury is still out on this, pine shavings make a fine substitute.

 

However, if you find you really have a lot of problems with mites, cedar shavings might be a safer bet – it’s far more likely your hens will be harmed by mites than by cedar.

 

Some people add herbs so their hens have a nice-smelling space and to help them relax and prompt laying.

 

If you want to use a nesting box pad, there’s lots of commercial options. Here’s some brands I recommend:

 

 

Remember: This bedding will basically be the mattress for your hens. Before throwing in anything you find, keep in mind that your hens will be sitting on it – and if they’re comfortable, they’re more likely to use the nesting box.

 

Make sure the bedding is soft enough for the eggs to land on, and that they won’t get cracked if your hens roll them around.

 

The nesting box material should should also be easy for you to clean and sanitize – and prevent chicken mites.

 

Here at the farm, we add ¼ cup of our WormBGone nesting herbs 3-4 times a week to each nesting box to keep internal parasites away and MitesBGone to ward off chicken mites. We also make sure that we change the bedding mix once it gets soiled or wet.

 

The amount of material you use should correspond to the nesting box size as well – you want the nesting box to look full without seeming stuffed (and too stuffy for your hens to easily get in and out).

 

Do nesting boxes need to be elevated?

They can be sitting on the floor or raised. Keep in mind, however, that your hens are prey animals, and they’re easily startled during egg laying time. Nesting boxes that are elevated will help your chickens feel safer and prompt egg laying better than those on the ground. It also keeps the roosters from bothering them during a private moment. It’s also easier to keep poopy shavings away if you elevate the chicken nesting boxes.

 

How high should nesting boxes be off the ground?

18 inches to 2 feet is best so that all your hens can reach them. Chickens can’t fly very well – heavy breeds like brahmas or specialized breeds like silkies don’t fly much at all. So, you’ll want the boxes easily accessible, and any higher than 2 feet might be difficult for some breeds to reach.

 

If you plan to install the boxes higher (or if your coop came with them elevated), it would be great if you also install a perch or ladder to help the flightless members of your flock.

 

When should you open nesting boxes for chickens?

Once hens reach their laying stage at approximately 17 weeks, you can cut the ribbon and pop the champagne! At this stage they will already be accustomed to sleeping in the roosts they won’t get into the habit of sleeping where they should be laying.

 

How do you get chickens to lay eggs in a nesting box?

If your hens aren’t naturally using their nesting boxes, you should first try to figure out why. Are they not safe? Is the area too noisy? Are they dirty? Do your hens free range (which means they might choose a different location to lay)? Again, hens lay where they find it safe and comfortable. Make the nesting box bedding fluffy and clean. You can also use nesting herbs to attract your hens, and if you get really stuck, you can put training eggs in the boxes. These are fake eggs you put in nesting boxes to let pullets know that that is where they should lay their eggs. While this seems silly, chickens really do take the hint!

 

If your hens insist on laying their eggs everywhere, you can block the “wrong” places. This makes them go on a hunt for another safe place.

 

Just remember that if your nesting boxes aren’t:

  • Quiet
  • Clean
  • Dark

You might have a hard time getting your hens to use it!

 

How big do nesting boxes need to be?

Your chicken nesting box size is also important when talking about comfort. 14” x 14” x 16” boxes would be cozy enough for Brahmas, Ameraucanas, Araucanas, and other breeds. Consider how large your chicken is – you want the nesting boxes to be big enough for your hens, but not so big that they feel unsafe or exposed (remember, dark nesting boxes are best!).

 

How do you stop chickens from pooping in their nesting boxes?

It can be hard to stop them pooping in their boxes – chickens (like all birds) don’t have a bladder, so when they gotta go, they just go. Additionally chickens poop and lay eggs from the same area (the vent), so when your hen is laying an egg, some poop might accidentally slip out.

 

That being said, your chickens are more likely to poop in their boxes when they’re NOT laying an egg – meaning, if they’re using their boxes as a bed.

 

No matter how many nesting boxes per chicken you have, remember that the boxes aren’t their sleeping quarters. That’s what roosts are for.

 

Chickens would only poop in the nesting boxes when they treat them as their home (sleeping in them) because they do a lot of pooping at night. So it is essential for them to be trained to sleep in the roosts first before opening the boxes.

 

If you have chickens using their nesting boxes as a sleeping place, evict them! Shoo them or gently remove your hens when you find them getting too comfortable snoozing in those boxes.

 

How do you keep a nesting box clean?

You need to clean it regularly! Make it part of your egg gathering routine to do some housekeeping. Remove soiled bedding, feathers, and poop that you find. If it’s really gross, you’ll have to completely remove all the bedding and wipe down the laying area. You can use water, all-natural wipes, or other cleaning solutions to do the job.

 

Shavings are the easiest to clean while straw is the hardest! It is also the perfect place for pests to hide so it would also help out big time when you think about what to put in chicken nesting boxes.

 

How do you clean your chicken nesting boxes? Leave a comment below!




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