Laying boxes make it easy to find your hen's eggs and protect them from accidental breakage. While some hens take to laying their eggs in nesting boxes immediately, others prefer to find more unconventional spots, such as tree trunks, feed pans and other unlikely places. While it is impossible to force a hen to lay her eggs where you want, there are ways you can encourage her to use the nesting boxes.
Use a soft, clean absorbent material, such as straw, for nesting material. Clean the boxes regularly to keep mold from developing in the straw. Your hens will be more likely to use the laying boxes if they are clean and soft.
Place laying boxes against the darkest wall of the chicken coop. Chickens prefer a dark, quiet environment to lay their eggs. You may even want to hang a strip of burlap across one side of the chicken coop to create a dark, private area.
Add a porcelain or wooden egg in each box. Some people report good luck using golf balls. These fake eggs can encourage your hens to lay their real ones in the laying box.
Provide plenty of boxes. While it isn't necessary for each hen to have her own laying box, you should have one box for every three to five hens.