by Karla T.
A. The main reason that I would say it does matter where they lay is that you want to be able to FIND them. For example my husband had set a couple of empty feed bags in a corner of our coop and leaned an old cardboard box over it. A few weeks later he went to throw them away and he discovered that the chickens had laid nearly 30 eggs in their makeshift lean-to! No wonder we’d been experiencing a reduction in production.
Other then those reasons of convenience, I don’t believe it is of major importance for the eggs to be in the nest box. There’s been many times that our hens have discovered a dark corner that they favored for laying and it worked fine for us and them.
A few hints for getting them to lay in their boxes:
- If the boxes are raised off the floor, try lowering them to floor level until they begin using them and then raise them up again.
- Try leaving a couple of golf balls or wooden eggs in the boxes. Somehow this can help chickens figure out what the boxes are for. This worked for us.
- Keep plenty of clean shavings in the boxes. When we add a thick layer of clean shavings it increases their utilization of the boxes.
- Placing the boxes in a quiet and dark area of the hen house can help. They like to feel that they are laying their eggs someplace safe.
- If hens are laying outside, it may help to keep them confined to the coop until later in the morning. Try different times of letting them out to see what works.