Am I doing something Wrong??

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Juliehoward, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. Juliehoward

    Juliehoward New Egg

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    Mar 29, 2009
    Hi,
    We live in spain and have recently bought 4 Hens for the purpose of fresh eggs every day.
    They have settled in very well and one has even started laying eggs!!! (well we think only one) We have had 1 egg every day for the past 2 weeks, although on 2 occasions the eggs have been much larger and double yokes (is this probably 1 hen or could it be more than 1?)
    They have a large area all fenced in, although the housing unit is quite small (5ft x 3ft) as we read that in an evening they like to huddle together. In this we have a wooden area off the ground with straw in which was hopefully for them to lay eggs in.
    We have closeby an "old lady of the mountain" (you know the type....about 180 years old LOL), who has lived off the land for all her life....and although our spanish is acceptable...when she calls down to see us and rants away in spanish its very hard to follow!!! She keeps telling us something about needing a BOX....
    ... So the questions I have are:-
    Do hens only lay their eggs in their own private space.. or will they lay in the same box as other hens?
    Don't hens lay eggs just about anywhere....we have heard tales of people finding eggs all over their garden...so do they need a seperate place?
    Are we just being impatient...and will the hens all start laying when theyre ready?
    Thank you
    Julie:)
     
  2. ibpboo

    ibpboo Where Chickens Ride Horses

    Jul 9, 2007
    always changing
    Hens will share a nest box. Sometimes they do find other places to lay. Sometimes they like to hide their eggs. How old are the hens? Sounds like you have a nice place.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Juliehoward

    Juliehoward New Egg

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    Mar 29, 2009
    The guy in the pet shop said they were 4 weeks old when we bought them.....but that would only make them 13 weeks old...so not really sure.

    Can you tell me....the hens have been vacinated for salmonella ...does this last a lifetime or do they need regular jabs??

    Thanks
    Julie
     
  4. Ferngully

    Ferngully Chillin' With My Peeps

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    N.E. Florida
    Quote:The area off the ground with the straw for them to lay, how high off the ground is it? It is recommended to be about 1-2 feet. Mine is on the floor of the coop(silly DH design error) and they all share the same 2 boxes, even though there are 6 boxes.

    Does it have a sides on it and a top? Does it look like a box turned on its side? This may be what the neighbor is trying to convey.
    In a chicken coop, is a small "box" or container about 12 inches by 12 inches, for the hens to go into to lay their eggs. Hens like a little privacy and like to feel safe to lay their eggs. They will share a nest box. An old golf ball or object like that in the nest will help to tell the girls where to lay.
    Some will lay their eggs in the yard for you to hunt in areas of privacy if given the chance. These are the hens who free range a larger yard and sometimes are stubborn about going back to the coop to lay.
    Hens of different breeds will start to lay at different ages.

    Let us know a little more about your chickens. Their breeds, ages and their coop and run layout and we will try to help you sort out what the neighbor is trying to say. [​IMG]

    AND [​IMG]
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    I once spent four months outside Cadiz on the job. Spain can be very nice and the people can be tremendous. Just keep working on your Spanish and you'll love it.

    Maybe somebody could post pictures of 4-week-old chicks so you could get a better idea of the age, but if they were chicks when you bought them, they are just learning to lay. 13 weeks is early.

    It sometimes takes a while for the hens laying equipment to sort itself out, so you can get strange shaped eggs, soft eggs, small eggs, or double yolked eggs for a while, but they will sort it out. And they will lay when they are ready. Depends on the breed and the individual chicken, but 20 weeks of age seems about normal. Some can be several weeks earlier.

    It could be just one hen is learning to lay or it could be a couple. I haven't tried it myself, but I've heard of putting food coloring on the vents to tell which are laying. Your neighbor may really launch into rant if she sees that however and you have trouble explaining what you are doing. You might want to wait until your Spanish improves to try that.

    Hens will lay about everywhere and they may be laying around your yard. There are several threads on nesting boxes on this forum. People use everything, probably including a kitchen sink, for nests. Chickens usually like a darker place where they think they are hiding their nest from predators, but many have open nests that work fine. And most seem to like to lay in nests together. Maybe they think if another hen is laying there and nothing has gotten the egg yet, it is a safe place. You can try putting fake eggs where you want them to lay, such as golf balls or wooden eggs.
     
  6. Juliehoward

    Juliehoward New Egg

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    [​IMG]

    Really not sure what breeds they are, heres a pic of my girls....and the pic was taken the day after we got them so that should tell you if they were around 4 weeks or not.

    The nesting boxes are only about a couple of inches off the ground, but have plenty of straw and its quite obvious they're using the boxes to sleep in at night. The boxes don't have lids on them but the house is compact and dark, so I don't think there is any fear for the hens when laying.

    Thanks
    Julie [​IMG]
     
  7. ThreeBoysChicks

    ThreeBoysChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2007
    Thurmont, MD
    They are older than 4 weeks in the picture for sure. Beautiful girls though. I would say 4 - 5 months old. If they started laying, definately closer to 5 months.

    The 2 lighter colored ones, look very much like a Sex-Link and they will lay steadily a nice sized brown egg.
    The other 2 look like they might be Easter Eggers (lay a green or blue egg). Do they have green legs? Are their combs a "rose" comb?

    They are beautiful and healthy looking.
     
  8. Ferngully

    Ferngully Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well the good or bad news is they definitely look older than 4 weeks in that pic. My 5 week old chicks can still fit in my hands to hold. They appear to maybe be 4 months old. I think I see 2 possible buff orpingtons or sex links and the colors of the other 2 look like my marans girls who are about 4 months old. Your girls definitely have more feathers and and are fuller than 4 week olds.

    Congratulations you have some some nice egg layers there.

    Maybe try the golf ball fake egg thing or even move the layed egg to the box and leave it there. Sacrificing an egg or blow one out and refill with something and seal it. See if the girls get the hint of where to leave the eggs.

    Based on the pics then a couple of them could definitely be laying at this time.
     
  9. spydertoys

    spydertoys Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Munfordville, Kentucky
    The brown ones are indeed a sex link. Around here they call them Golden Comets. They are a cross between a Leghorn and a Rhode Island Red. They lay HUGE brown eggs considering they are not large birds.
     
  10. Juliehoward

    Juliehoward New Egg

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    Mar 29, 2009
    [​IMG]

    Thanks for that...any idea what type the dark ones are...heres a close up of one. They both have blue tint on their wings.

    Thanks
    Julie
     

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