However, inside the chicken coop there is a traffic jam of hens waiting to get into their preferred nest box.
I have 7 floor level nest boxes, but since I put up the "high rise" milk crate, this is now the only "hen approved" egg drop. Almost immediately after the last screw was drilled into the wall the hens started using this box. Most visit this box every day. In fact my egg production went up the day this box was installed. Really.
Now I am desperately searching for another old milk crate 9x10x17 to put in the space to the left of it so there wont be so much pressure on this one by every hen in the coop.
There have been a few "issues" with having only one nest box that the girls love:
Long lines, loud noise and frustrated hens, just to name a few.
Amber, one of my blue egg laying pullets, takes a little more time than the others....
So Mrs Howell gets right up there and encourages her to hurry up.
As Mrs Howell coaches Amber on the finer details of laying an egg in the proper time....
the huge Buff Orphinton, Adele, forms a line at the rear and starts loudly clucking encouragement to get this line moving!
Soon Mrs Howell is clucking louder to remind everyone that she is next in line and has been waiting for 20 minutes.
Adele, is my deaf hen, and she clucks louder than any hen I have ever heard, probably because she can't hear herself.... so the noise level goes UP in the coop. With Mrs Howell trying to "out cluck" Adele, it became too much for my sensitive, cold ears, so at this point I went and got a cup of hot chocolate and came back hoping my absense would rush things along.
As they got more anxious, they moved closer to and got into the nest box with little Amber....
I moved the 2 larger hens to the perches and kept guard until the blue egg was finally laid and Amber safely on her way out of the box.
I waited 5 minutes for the rest of the hens to borrow the nest and grabbed all the eggs in the nest box and headed to the house to make breakfast.
Here are a few frosty photos of my walk back to the farm house.
I brought out more warm water for the flock to enjoy.
After a drink they tried to find some sun beams to soak up.
And then they all ended up on the porch asking me for treats.
They are a hard bunch to say no to, so I brought out some black oil sunflower seeds.
Then I went back in and enjoyed the delicious quiche made from my hens eggs and the veggies I raised this summer. Fresh, hot and healthy!
My brother is coming this weekend to build me one more nest box about the same size as the popular one. He is a beekeeper and the unofficial guardian of a flock of wild turkeys that visit him every day. I am trading him some fresh eggs from grateful hens for his carpentry skills.
I will let you all know if my egg production increases again, with the second high rise nest box.
Anyone taking bets?
What kind of nest boxes do you have and which ones do the hens prefer ?