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Monday, May 10, 2010

Why Not the Nest Boxes?

When we so lovingly built our chicken house, the nest boxes took some thought. What wall to put them on to minimize a possible draft? How high in relation to the roosts? What size to build them dimensionally? We thought it out well, we consulted books and the internet. Well, the chicken ladies have other ideas.

We painted them red so they would be fun to lay eggs in. And about half of the girls use them regularly. The other half..... not so much.

This girl is laying in a nest they built out of a straw bale in the barn. About 6 to 8 eggs per day are found here.

Another three or four are found in this garbage can full of chopped up goat floor and hay. This will go into my compost tumbler this spring. I just don't seem to have the heart to take away a favorite nesting area. They don't seem to mind the fake fawn much either. That thing is another story all together.

This is a one ton grain tote that I filled with clean wood shavings for winter use in the chicken house. The chicks climb right in and down into it about 3 foot. I find a couple eggs per week in this thing. Silly chickens.

And finally we have our first broody hen. She is one diligent mama wanna-be. She has been at this sitting thing for weeks. I thought she was sick and dieing when she first started and even took her to the vet. He got a good laugh out of it, refused to take my money and thanked me for being one of the first to ever bring him a chicken. I guess folks around here eat their questionable birds. I happen to like mine too much to do that but I can see their point. Plus my muscle is in Alaska and I cannot do that kind of deed myself. I have toyed with slipping some day old chicks under her at night so she will finally stop this madness but I don't have the heart to possibly go out and find that she wasn't a good mother after all. Seems a little like murder if the experiment does not work. I have been kicking her off the nest all day long on the days that I am home. She seems to like it in there.


  1. I love it! I have the same problem with mine! No matter how many nests you have, they seem to lay in the same one! I have caught mine lining up like an overcrowded restaurant!!! and I also have one giant black Brahman hen who's been setting for weeks now. I don't want any more so I take the eggs. Our local feed store has chicks and I am awful tempted!!! to stick one under her.
    Tough being a chicken rancher, for sure?

  2. If it's been 3 weeks, try slipping some day-olds under her. Seriously you need to know if she's a good Momma. If she is (which it's highly unlikely she won't be if she sticks out 3 weeks of setting), not only is she worth her weight in gold (because you don't have to brood chicks in the future), but also be cause if she raises any pullets, those pullets will be even better Mommas than she is.

    We just had a broody hatch out 5 eggs :D

  3. I agree with Michaela. Give her some chicks. It's rare for a bird to sit that long and not be a good momma. Just give her the babies in the evening so she can get used to them by morning.

  4. Love it! Our friends have the same problems with their hens, just a bunch of lay abouts.

  5. It's sounds like an Easter egg hunt when they lay there eggs in all those funny spots.

  6. What a great post! Chickens are so darned funny!
    We have two nesting boxes, for 3 hens, which was supposed to be overkill, but those 3 hens fight over the right hand nesting box! We hear a lot of squawking when it's in use and someone else needs it.

  7. I was thinking the same thing that Catherine was - total Easter egg hunt.

    I didn't know that chickens would lay in the same nest. That could make things a little easier - consolidate the hunt.

    What do you do with all those eggs? We barely use a dozen a week.

  8. Oh, I am so.o.o envious! Everyone seems to have chickens except me, and I want some so much... Love this post!

  9. I don't have any advice, Heather. I just think it's cute. Yes, I've got "City Girl" written across my forehead. :)

  10. Just wandered in (from a google on gold laced wyandottes... looking for pix to show a friend what they looked like)

    Used to live on a farm and had beeyooteeful chickens too =) Hope your broody hen is well =)

    I loved seeing the little chicks follow their mama hen around.

    Great fun reading of your adventures!

    Best to you!

  11. Hi,
    My grandmother used to have chickens and we did this trick: put a white plastic ball in a place where we wanted them to lay eggs. They took the ball for an egg and start laying eggs where we wanted them to. :)

  12. When I have a hen that won't stop sitting and I worry about her health, I have found that putting her in a penned area with food and water where she can't nest (dirt or wire floor) for three days and nights makes her forget about nesting. I think it has something to do with her tummy cooling off? The first couple of days the hen runs around cackling away. By the third or fourth day she has calmed down. So usually on the 4th day I let her out to free range. If she heads for the nest boxes I put her back in the pen for a day or so more. I love the red nest boxes! Pretty hens!

  13. Blogging is the new poetry. I find it wonderful and amazing in many ways.


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We started this blog in Feb. of 2009 to help us stay motivated and to track our progess in the garden. We live on 5 acres surrounded by Idaho farmland. We have wildlife galore and are attempting to attract more in the bird catagory. This is our journal. Welcome!


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