Hey, so my 3 Dekalb (some type of hybrid breed) chickens are just about 15 weeks old and I was planning on installing their nesting box today. I was wondering what all i need to know on maintenance, collecting eggs, when they will begin laying, what to put in the box ( fake eggs or not?) and things like that! Plus any tips and advice with raising chickens would be much appreciated! Thanks so much!
Nesting Boxes, Eggs and Maintenance!?
You need one nest box, about 12" on each side. If it opens in front, you will want a lip across the bottom to keep the litter or straw (or whatever you use) inside. You'll want to collect eggs daily if you can. You can put a golf ball or something similar --they are not fussy -- in there if you want, but they may use it anyway, at least after they have been laying a few weeks and adjusted to it. As a general rule they should start around 20 weeks, but that is very general, with a lot of variation. Usually the combs will redden and they will start squatting for you when they are about ready to lay.
If they should poop in it, I remove it in the morning; I keep a little hand garden trowel in the coop for this. You can close off the box at night til they start laying so they don't learn to sleep in them; I let a couple of them sleep there because I have a couple of crippled chickens. If they are already sleeping on the roosts, you may not have a problem with this.
There are quite a few articles in the learning center about the various aspects of chicken keeping.
Happiness is when you can look at your chickens and smile....
Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due.
Flockwatching my little bunch of mutts, a favorite pastime.