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Chickys trashing nesting boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by nativegirl, May 20, 2016.

  1. nativegirl

    nativegirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 14, 2016
    North Carolina
    So I don't know if anything can be done to change this, but my chickens keep kicking out the straw from their nesting boxes. Not even 1 minute after I put it in and they are kicking the straw out again. My chicky girls are 28 weeks old and I should be due to get some eggs any day now. I just dont want them to start laying and breaking eggs. Should I try a different nesting material? Any advice to deter my chickys from doing this?
     
  2. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

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    Its kinda normal behaviour in the sense that a hen about to lay ideally wants to do so in a "nest". My flock has decided to nest in the litter i put down in my coop (dried grass cuttings and leaves) instead of their nesting boxes, and they make small hollows in the litter to lay. I'd say your girls are sizing up their potential laying places before beginning to lay. I have used sand in the past in my nesting boxes and it worked fine.

    CT
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Yep, sounds like 'getting ready to lay' behavior.

    Couple things you can do:
    Make sure the fronts of the nests are 3-4", or more, high to keep bedding, and eggs, inside nest.
    Use a solid 'flake' of straw if possible, if you have a bale you should be able to break one off the end, harder to tear up and they're less likely to dig into it. I shove a flake in there then kind of hollow out a divot in the middle for them so they wont/don't have to do it.

    They may continue to 'trash the nest' until they get things sorted out and are used to laying, can take up to a month or so.
     
  4. nativegirl

    nativegirl Out Of The Brooder

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    North Carolina
    Well I'm glad to hear what they're doing is laying behavior. The wait has been killing me [​IMG] I just hope I dont have to wait another month before eggs. I know some chickys lay later than others, but all 3 of my RIRs are 6months now. I'd expect at least one to lay soon.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    New layers can be quite goofy acting, they don't know what they are doing at first and can be confused and anxious, it can take up to a month or so before they get it all figured out. Putting some fake eggs or golf balls in the nest might help show them where to lay. They may scratch around in the nests for weeks before laying, spreading the bedding everywhere. They will scratch around a bit less in nest as they get used to the routine. Meanwhile, eggs everywhere, some of them can be rather funky looking, soft or thin shelled, huge double yolked eggs.

    Signs of onset of lay---I've found the pelvic points to be the most accurate.
    Squatting:
    If you touch their back they will hunker down on the ground, then shake their tail feathers when they get back up.
    This shows they are sexually mature and egg laying is close at hand.

    Combs and Wattles:
    Plump, shiny red - usually means laying.
    Shriveled, dryish looking and pale - usually means not laying.
    Tho I have found that the combs and wattles can look full and red one minute then pale back out the next due to exertion or excitement, can drive ya nuts when waiting for a pullet to lay!

    2 bony points(pelvic bones) on either side of vent:
    Less than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means not laying.
    More than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means laying
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. nativegirl

    nativegirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 14, 2016
    North Carolina

    Well I know for sure one squats when I go to pick her up. Shes also the one that tears up the nests first. I havnt checked their pelvic bones this week. But the last few weeks 2 of the RIRs were at 2 fingers, and two of my younger barnyard mixes were also at 2 fingers. I dont know if being extra loud is a sign of soon to be laying or not. But the one that tears up the nests most has been more talkative than usual. Its as if shes complaining about her day and of course I listen to her problems attentively. Lol
     
  7. nativegirl

    nativegirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 14, 2016
    North Carolina
    I keep telling them I just want one egg. One egg and I'll be happy lol
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    It's hard to wait....but you'll have to ;-)
     

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