How to Get Hens to Lay in Nest Boxes
Happy New Year! I hope you all made it through the holidays with abundant joy and laughter. Since it’s the middle of the winter, our girls have slowed down a little bit in the egg department. So, I’m going to take this opportunity to try and “retrain” them to lay in the nesting box. I have a very nice, roll out nesting box but the girls prefer the coop floor! I have no idea why this is, but they definitely prefer the floor. Honestly? It doesn’t bother me very much, but it would be nice to walk out to the coop and find the eggs all in one spot! My girls have gotten pretty creative when it comes to their egg laying hot spots.
Reba was a constant in the food for a while and she coaxed another gal to join her!

Don’t worry, I broke this little spot pretty quick simply by covering the food.

I have had many people reach out with this question. A lot of times, their chickens won’t even bother laying in the coop if they’re free ranging. If this is the problem, I recommend keeping your hens “cooped up”, until about noon and see if that helps train them.

One of the reasons they may not be laying in the nesting box is lack of enough boxes. I usually plan 4 chickens to 1 box. If there aren’t enough boxes available, they will just pick the next spot they’re most comfortable with. However, if you have plenty of boxes, you can try this next trick! It’s also very important to keep their nesting boxes clean and dry. I have no idea why chickens like to poop in their nesting boxes, but they do! Having clean and fresh bedding will encourage your chickens to lay where they’re supposed to lay. Coop Recuperate can help keep your bedding fresh and dry. You can sprinkle it right into the nesting boxes!

The other method that works for a lot of people is placing a fake egg, a golf ball, or even placing already laid eggs in the nesting box you want them to lay in. This will encourage the young girls to lay where everyone else does. I used this method starting out and it worked great! Then, chicken math happened and I had to get a bigger coop. It then became a free for all on wherever they felt like laying that day! Haha! I have learned that it’s a bit more difficult to retrain the older gals. They can get pretty set in their way! But at the end of the day, I’m just thankful for farm fresh eggs!

I’m more of a laid back person and so having the girls lay their eggs somewhere in the coop is fine by me. But I’m going to do my best to train them to lay in the boxes again so I’m not going on an egg hunt every single day! I hope my tips helped!

Until next time,

–The Wing Lady

Published by Annie

Annie Wing is the author of Strong Animals Chicken 101 blog. She is a busy mom with 3 active kids. Annie and her family reside on an acreage in the Redwood River Valley in Minnesota. She enjoys gardening and her absolute favorite pastime is doting on her 28 chickens!