Nest box curtains ?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I've seen a lot printed up about nest box curtains, but my husband (whose parents and grandparents kept chickens) has never heard of it, and as I've said before, I'm into poultry for the first time. So, I have a couple of questions. Of our 125 or so chickens, 13 are roosters (and this doesn't apply to them. Seven hens are about 4-1/2 months old, and the rest of the flock is about 3 months old. Question One, if some of the birds are just starting to approach egg laying age and we put straw into the nesting boxes and curtains over the openings, does this discourage the birds from picking out all the straw? Question Two, if we do the above (in question one), does it help to make a bowl-shape in the straw and put in one or two wooden eggs or golf balls to give them the idea that this is the purpose, or do they just do their thing?
-- Claudia Glass (email@example.com), September 09, 2001
The gals like to lay thier eggs in a dark place...thus the curtain. We have never had a curtain, but did construct the nesting box so that it was dark (well.."darker") inside. We did ours so that you gathered the eggs from the outside. That way you don't have to tromp through chicken doo-doo in the hen house. Ours is a long box with a long hinged top that we just attached to the outside of the coop. We then cut an opening in the side of the coop just big enough for the chickens to get into. That made it darker inside. I hope that makes sense, if your interested and want a better description, let me know.
Most chickens just instictively know to go there and lay. Some need to taught and an artificial egg usually does the trick. We had one, however, that would just lay them "wherever"! As she ate or near the waterer, or in the hen yard.
Just put the straw in the nesting boxes. You don't need any particular shape. The hens each like thier own way of doing things and they will shape the nest they want.
I have never had a problem with a hen pulling out the straw. As long as they have adequate feed and big run, they will be happy and seem to know this is nesting area and not to mess it up. I do change the straw ever couple of weeks. Some of those eggs gets messing and sometimes you do have an egg break in there from the gals stepping on them, etc.
Best of luck! You will be so thrilled when your first egg arrives!
-- Karen (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 09, 2001.
I have had chickens without the covering until last year. I had one hen that was bored or something. Maybe she didn't like being moved to another pen, and started to eat eggs. I covered the nest box and put in a couple of large stones (egg size) and it cured the egg eating. I think if it is dark they are not as curious or something. Anyhows, it works for the occasional bad mannered hen. (she was the fattest, and was getting plenty of feed too) Since then, they have been fine, but one nest box is covered and they all tend to go in there first, and use the other nests if the first one is taken. I have at least eight hens trying to get into the dark nest, and maybe should cover another one. I guess they like their privacy. :o) ~Brenda~
-- Brenda (email@example.com), September 09, 2001.