28 28 LOHMANN TIERZUCHT › MANAGEMENT GUIDE › PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT Nest box & Floor egg management Laying nests should be designed and positioned in such a way that they are easily accessible to the hens, in a central location in the barn. The management of nest boxes can differ between systems and you should always refer to your supplier’s guidelines. However, the principles of nest box management remain the same: › Lighting should be sufficient enough to draw the birds to the boxes but not enough to prevent them from feeling comfortable to lay inside them. › Early training is important to allow the birds to become accus- tomed to the boxes and identify them as a safe place to lay. › Dark spots away from the nest boxes should be avoided to prevent creating attractive areas to lay. › There should be sufficient nest space according to your local regulations and the breed. Single nests: 1 Nest (26 x 30 cm) / 4 hens Group nests: 120 hens /m 2 › Be conscious of your floor walks, moving birds out of corners and towards the boxes. › In aviary systems walk the flock at lights out in the first few days, ensuring all birds are on the sys- tem and manually moving those preferring to stay on the floor. › Always collect your floor eggs! One egg laid and not collected will encourage others to lay in the wrong places. › Monitor your floor egg collection times, numbers and location. This will help to identify and rectify any management issues. › Use a good substrate in the nest. This will provide comfort, pre- vent dirty eggs and reduce the potential for damage by ensuring good roll off onto the conveyor on automatic nests. › Nest box lights, if used, should only be on for a few hours a day before the main lights switch on. Prolonging the use of nest box lights can lead to issues with pecking etc. Once you have your floor eggs under control its advis- able to discontinue the use of nest box lights altogether. › Try not to disturb the birds during the laying period. Think carefully about feeding times and floor walk routines. It can be quite easy to draw birds out the nest box areas at the wrong time. Adversely this can have a positive effect if you have nest box smothering. › Recognize the connection between house management and nest box management. Many factors can affect nest box behaviour such as draughts, lighting and litter. Observe, record and monitor any issues to give you the best chance of resolution should any issues arise.