Not sure if this is the right forum for this question, I'm new to BYC so just let me know if it would have been better posted somewhere else.
We picked up 15 Australorp pullets on Sunday, they are about 20 weeks old and the owners said some were laying already. We kept them in the coop for the first two days so they would know that it's home, and then they have been out in the chicken tractor during the day this week and back in the coop at night.
I did a lot of research before building the coop, so we knew to put roosts in there higher than the nesting boxes, and on the other side so the poop wouldn't go in the nesting boxes. But maybe I've done something wrong with the nesting boxes? We wanted to build our coop/supplies with things we already had, so I used plastic tubs to clean them easily. We screwed them down and cut out the front, then filled with straw.
We made sure they were all roosting at night before going to bed, and they were no problem. The first day they pulled all the straw out immediately, and were jumping all over the boxes, so then I put a shutter hanging down over the boxes and put up wood slats for privacy in between the boxes and filled with pine shavings. Last night we made sure they were roosting again at night and they were all on the perches, but this morning no eggs, but they had scratched out almost all the shavings and poop was everywhere, in all the boxes/edges/around the boxes.
It seems pointless to block the nests at night if they aren't getting in them anyways, it must be in the early morning they are getting in?. I'm worried about covering them too, since if they do lay when they are covered, it will be in the coop. We saw egg yolk on one lady's wings yesterday, and one laid an egg while in the chicken tractor and they all swarmed and started pecking it but we got it in time. So apparently they are egg eaters:(
I don't know how to fix either problem, and really want eggs after investing in these chickens,any tips would be appreciated.