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 Post subject: Egg Laying & Nest Boxes
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:04 pm 
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Golden Cockatoo
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Nest Boxes

Encouraging 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=5824

Nestboxes
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:
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http://www.computersreborn.com/monitors.htm
and this one's got some good pictures
viewto ... 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.
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Trap Nests:
Here are blackdottes trap nests
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:11 pm 
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Cleaning nesting boxes.

Hi,
I am currently building a chook house and pen and trying to decide what type of nesting boxes to make, i have noticed alot of people use plastic and mention it makes them easier to clean.
Is this just for chook poo (general cleanliness) or are there ticks or viruses that i should be carefull of?

Cheers David


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:30 pm 
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Davo,

The biggest thing with nest boxes is that wooden ones have great nooks and crannies for things like mites to live and breed in.

J

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:55 pm 
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Yeah - I agree with jocler. Untill I had a mite problem, wood was fine. But the plastic ones were heaps easier to clean and disinfect!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 6:13 am 
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Is the idea of a trap nest box that the hen gets stuck in there until later when you come down and get the egg, label it, then release the bird? I've never seen these in action. How successful are they? Is it a problem having the birds so confined a problem if you don't go down until later in the day, or does that depend on the weather? I'm having problems with crows stealing my eggs and I'm just wondering if this is an alternative to the roll away nest box for solve that problem.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:32 am 
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Chicken07,

The whole idea of the trap nest is to identify the hen laying the egg. When she goes into the nestbox the front comes down and shuts her in until you let her out and rearm the nest.

I guess it would work to stop the crows, but I think you would have to check it fairly regularly, especially on hot days, as the girl is locked in there.

J

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:34 am 
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Yep, thanks Jocler, I was thinking the same. I really have to net all of my pens. I will try and get one of these boxes though, because I do have mixed pens and this would solve the mystery of who laid what egg.

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Last edited by Chicken07 on Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:41 am 
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Chicken07,

yes, I am also in the process of building some. The other hassle with them is, you need basically one for every hen you have in the run. Once triggered, the other girls have no where to go.

J

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:48 am 
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Yes, of course. I hadn't thought of that - could be an added problem. I've a lot of birds in some pens.

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Last edited by Chicken07 on Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:08 pm 
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Thanks for the responses, i will now re design my laying boxes.
Is anyone aware of any issues with having outside access to a laying box?

Davo


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:23 pm 
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Sounds like a good idea. Make sure the hinge area is waterproof though. Some of my coops have outside boxes built in and they leak at the hinge point, so the straw or whatever gets wet.

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Last edited by Chicken07 on Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 5:07 pm 
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Another problem I have heard about is foxes getting access to the chook pen/house via the nest box 'egg' door. So you need to have a secure latch on it.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 2:42 pm 
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I just love your roll away nesting boxes NellyG. I am definitely going to give them a go. I bought the rollaway nesting boxes from Bellsouth but they are too small for my light sussex and large Brahmas and they will not go in them. The smaller breeds of hens think they are just fine. The cut down plastic drums look like they are the same size as the ones I currently use for my bigger birds but as I let them out to freerange through the day and they lay at all hours of the day the crows pinch the eggs. Your nest look like they will resolve that probelm and I don't have to keep them locked up just for the eggs. :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 3:45 pm 
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Hi, I'm new to all this and have 2 you beaut girls. Got them the same time, minute difference in size, but one has filled out is the boss, the other more petite and timid. The dominant of the two has been laying for near on 2 weeks and is laying in the nesting box that has no dividers in it (we have a golf ball at each end of the box). Can anyone tell me if there is going to be a problem with sharing or should I partition it now. The other one is not laying yet... is this normal... she will definately lay when she is ready and not be bullied out of it by the other??

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 3:56 pm 
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Hi Selenl,
Your slightly bigger birds sounds like she's just a quicker maturer. The other one will come into lay within a few weeks if she's the same age and in good health. Obviously the pecking order is already established. Just make sure the smaller one gets to the food hopper ok. She probably does.

One nest box is fine for 4 or 5 birds, so you won't need to change anything. Sometimes a whole flock will decide they like one particular box for some mysterious reason and there can be a queue of them waiting to get on and lay their egg.

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Last edited by Chicken07 on Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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