Does our Black Copper Marans Look Ready to Lay?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kie4, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. kie4

    kie4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi,

    Here's a pic of our Black copper Marans, she's 21 weeks old, has a red face and makes more noise than her coop mates. She ranges all day long and has additional light to make her day 14 hours long. She doesn't squat for us. Does she look ready to lay?

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    Below are a few of her coop buddies:

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    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    The redness and noise make me think she may be getting close, not all birds will squat for a human......
    ....but 23 weeks might be too soon for most breeds, let alone a Marans, at this time of year.
    They are often later layers.....and she's still within the average 18-26 weeks range.

    I'd examine her vent and pelvic points and if the conclusion is 'usually laying', I'd probably lock her up for a time.

    Vent Appearance:
    Dry, tight, and smaller - usually not laying.
    Moist, wide, and larger - usually laying.

    Pelvic Points 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.

    Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for 3-4 days (or longer) can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop 24/7 for a few days to a week, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.
     
  3. kie4

    kie4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks @aart great advice as always.
    We did have a look at her vent and compared to the buff orpington. The BCM looked big like 2 little pink tires, but not moist.
    We had a "lock down" day yesterday where they weren't allowed out of the run. No laying took place.

    I'll pick her up again and try to check the pelvic points on either side of the vent.

    When you say lock them in the coop. Do you mean the coop where they roost? Or in the coop/run?
    I'll do whatever it takes for them to lay in the roll-out nesting boxes once they start laying. Hunting around under bushes for eggs isn't something I want to be doing.

    If she lays her first egg under a bush, should I lock her inside the coop or lock her inside the coop/run and see where she lays next?
    Fingers crossed she'll notice the fake eggs and lay in the nest box when it's time.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    The BO is laying and in the coop nests?
    If so, that should help the Marans get with the program.
    Will also give you good comparison for vent and pelvic points exams.

    Roll out nests might be harder to train to as you can't put bait eggs in them.
    Many use bedding at first in roll outs and slowly reduce bedding so eggs can roll again.

    Confined to coop and run is probably fine, just need to greatly reduce the area they might lay in.
    Regular lock downs get them used to be confined, so being confined doesn't stress them as much-which can suppress laying.
    How long they need to be confined to 'train to coop nests' is variable, you'll have to use your judgement.
     
  5. kie4

    kie4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks @aart , we have 4 hens, none are laying yet. But strangely the BCM is showing the most signs of laying first.
    We expected the Super Blue Egg Layer and New Hampshire Red to be evenly first out of the gate, followed by the Buff Orpington and the BCM a month or 2 later.

    I have bait eggs sliced in half so that they don't roll out of the nesting boxes.
    But yes I see your point, starting them off without could be more inviting for them.
    The roll out part is easily removed leaving an empty box behind. I could fill that with bedding and see how they go.

    Would you add curtains later? I'm afraid adding curtains to the nesting boxes could fool the hens into thinking its a wall.

    I'll start confining them to the run/coop in the mornings to prepare them for a time that I might need to confine them to just coop in order to force them to lay in the nest boxes.
    Hopefully it won't come to that.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    So all your birds are all pullets (younger than one year, not Hens until over one year).
    You can 'expect' all you want, but you won't know who lays firstsecondthirdetc until they lay ;-)
    Cause ya just never know with live animals.

    Cutting the bait egg in half is very clever(wants to see it).
    Wonders why you want/need roll outs....not rolling might be simpler for new layers,
    but other have used them from the get go with no bedding and they worked fine.
    Wants to see your rollout nests too...so you have a Coop Page?

    Curtains are silly IMO...may cause more problems than they solve.
    Tho darker might feel safer, they really just want to feel 'safe'.
    A lot of birds lay in open topped nests in airy coops......so I don't buy they need a dark place.
    Tho curtains can help with egg eating....
    ....seems you might be overly worried about egg eating what with the curtains an roll out nests?
     
  7. kie4

    kie4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi @aart , yes, all our birds are pullets and this is our first year keeping chickens.
    There should be a coop page link ↓ in the signature? I think you commented on my roll out nest box before while in the prototype phase. I was rolling golf balls and you said "there's no substitute for rolling an egg". I want to keep them as shallow a gradient as possible so they won't be finished until the birds actually start laying in them.
    I need to add 2 more pictures on the roll out nest boxes. I added a wedge shaped piece of wood on the entrance to attach the astroturf to, and some sponge at the end to soften the egg arrival.

    Also have added a storage cupboard with a rain barrel on top. I've been using the free water to rinse away Caecal poops on the driveway. Feels great to rinse away caecal poops using water I didn't have to pay for. One day it might even pay off the rain barrel.

    The reason for the roll away nesting boxes is to stop egg eating. Especially if we go away camping for a night.
    Curtains would be just for fun decorations, and also for the chance of a photo of a hen sticking her head through a pair of curtains :)
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Oh yeah yeah.....now I remember... didn't look in siggy.

    Roll away for traveling is a good idea.
     

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