I'm still a newbie (less than 1 year) and struggling with a lot of this chicken-keeping stuff. My father paid for the materials and built the coop for us (we otherwise wouldn't have gotten chickens), and he wasn't really open to input from us about how he was going to build it, so he found plans he felt were at his skill level and just built it.
It's not a walk-in coop, it is up 3 feet on posts. Their food and water are hanging underneath the coop so as to keep them dry, and that's where they dust bathe as well. The back panel of the coop comes down so I can access the inside of the coop for cleanup, etc., and there are 2 egg boxes attached to one end.
I know (after consulting on BYC because they don't roost, but all huddle in the open door for sleeping) that we need 2 more ventilation holes up top, and a ladder up to the roost. We are working on that in the next week or two, but I have to wait for my father (because he has the tools), and for all this rain to stop :-(
We lost a chicken 2 weeks ago, I think in hindsight she was egg-bound and I didn't know what to look for (I remember finding weird-shaped eggs for a week or two leading up to it, and there were no signs of trauma when we found her).
The thing I'm now befuddled by is this:
Last week, they suddenly stopped laying eggs in the egg boxes. They have been laying them in the middle of the coop, against the far wall, of course, so I have to open the back panel and basically lay down across the pine chips to reach them. So, this morning, I took the first egg and put it back into the egg box. Well, whaddya know??? Those stinkers somehow got the egg OUT of the egg box and into the coop, as well as 2 more eggs across that far wall.
I have decided to sacrifice those 3 eggs and have placed them BACK in the egg boxes (2 in one, 1 in the other) for the night, as I don't have any fake eggs to put in there. Does anyone have any ideas for me? I am finding chicken keeping very difficult, I'm sure not in small part to not having a proper set-up for them inside the coop, but that was out of my control :-(
I just don't get them. I need an intervention :-(