Wow, it’s been awhile since we chatted about chickens. But the girls have been doing well. The remaining seven cluckers from our original brood of eight are still doing well and laying regularly. Even in the depth of winter I’m still getting about four to five eggs a day and at least twice a week everyone lays!
But, I was noticing that they all preferred only one of the four nesting boxes available. And one of them had turned into something of a litter box. Also I started finding one of my Buff Orpington’s sitting on the eggs inexplicably. I could shoo her off easily; but, broodiness was becoming a concern.
I did some research to figure out what might be the problem. Apparently this is a well-known issue. The girls like to do their laying in privacy. The one box they preferred was the one that was the hardest to “view” from anywhere in the coop. Many chicken keepers provide a little shade or curtains to the nesting boxes to allow for “privacy” while your hen is doing her egg-laying task.
The chief engineer has a new job that takes him away from the micro-farm more often, so I had to be without the expert carpentry for a bit and did some old-Army-vet field expediency work. I went to our local thrift store and bought a $1 kitchen curtain valance. I got the punch stapler out and hung the curtains inside the coop across the nesting box row, allowing for a bit of space for the girls to scoot in and out of the nest.
It’s adorable, don’t you think?
The curtains have been up a few weeks now and now I find eggs in each and every box! There is one box that someone keeps thinking is a litter box (towards the front of the space), but I cleaned it all out with vinegar and water and put in fresh straw and the litter box mistakes seems to have stopped. Granted, poop happens in a coop, so you can’t get too upset. Minimizing droppings on the beautiful eggs is the goal, however.
The favored box still has the most eggs in it, however. But, they aren’t ALL in there and I’m less worried now about someone becoming broody and thinking they’re going to hatch ALL THE EGGS.
If you’re having trouble with your cluckers not using all the boxes, I highly encourage some sort of privacy maker – curtains, shades, blinds, whatever you have handy. If you’ve read this and decided to do the same, share a photo of your privacy maker for your nesting boxes in your coop.