Nest BoxesEncouraging Hens to use a Nest Box
It is best if hens learn to lay in nest boxes early on as floor laying leads to dirty eggs, damaged eggs and egg eating. Using nest boxes also protects the chook while laying, reducing the danger of the layer being pecked or other wise harrassed. Fortunately hens prefer a quiet dark and confined space to lay in so learn relatively easily. When pullets are coming into lay put some fake eggs (plastic or plaster) from the feed store or a kitchen shop in the nest boxes and hopefully they will get the idea! Once they are used to laying in the nest you rarely have further problems with where they lay but it does occur occasionally. If you find one of your hens is laying in the garden somewhere you may need to lock her in the house each day until she has laid (for a while), to re-educate her. Another trick to encourage hens to use the nest is to make it as dark as possible. Hanging strips of carpet over the entrance (like a plastic strip fly curtain) can also help, as can the fake egg in the box.viewtopic.php?t=5824Nestboxes
There are two main types of nest boxes - singles and communal boxes. I started with a communal box but changed to singles when one went broody and wouldn't let any of the other hens in! Single boxes should be around 300x300x300mm - a bit bigger for the larger breeds, but generally chooks seem to like laying in a confined space. Hens per nest box - 4 to 5. Nest boxes can be as simple or as elaborate as you like - form cardboard boxes, plastic drums, mower catchers, to custom made.
Here are some links to ideas:viewtopic.php?t=373viewtopic.php?t=5305http://www.computersreborn.com/monitors.htm
and this one's got some good picturesviewto
... le+grinder Specialised Nestboxes Rollaway Nestboxes
: Roll away nest boxes can help with an egg eating problem - the eggs roll into a hidden compartment and if the chooks can't see them they can't eat them! You can buy plastic inserts for nest boxes from Bellsouth and possibly other places or you can make your own. The eggs compartment can be fitted on the front or the back of the nest box and is a box about 2" high, and 6" deep and runs along the whole width of the nest box. The top is a hinged lid (so you can get the eggs) and the side closest to the nest box is open or has a light curtain so the chooks cant see in. This can be attached to an existing nest box, depending on the design, but it may be easier to construct a new one with the compartment attached. The nest/s will then need to be tilted about 15 to 20 degrees so the eggs will roll into the compartment and the floor and front of the compartment lined with something soft but washable - fake lawn is ideal! You will need to train your hens to use these by first filling with straw and then gradually decreasing the amount untill you are down to the matting and the eggs can start to roll. The training period for mine was only 4 days in a new nest box unit.
These are my plastic drum/rollaway nest boxes. The wooden frame is ply with a treated pine 'perch/egg compartment lid'. In the second picture the lid, which doubles as a door to prevent entry to the nest box (eg at night), is open. viewtopic.php?t=5301viewtopic.php?t=7017Trap Nests
Here are blackdottes trap nestsviewtopic.php?t=10342