Eating feathers and box training

Farmer Brian

Songster
8 Years
Nov 28, 2012
75
39
116
So, I was in the coop today to feed/water the flock. I was pleasantly surprised to find their first eggs (4), on the floor in the litter. Two were in a corner, the other two half buried in shavings. My jersey giants are 5 1/2 months old. I hadn't noticed any eggs over the last few days, so I decided to just mark them and put them in the nest boxes. Will they naturally see the eggs there and continue to use the boxes? My previous birds took to the boxes automatically.
Also, while watching one of the girls, she seemed to be upset that her eggs were gone, and scratching the litter like she was looking for them? But, she was also eating feathers off the floor! I've never seen that before. She picked the small fluffy ones. Is this normal?
Anyway, I guess it's time to add some oyster shell and finally enjoy some fresh eggs.
Thanks for any insight.
Brian
 

Peaches Lee

Crowing
11 Years
Sep 19, 2010
2,264
1,099
361
Pennsylvania
I've had a few of mine eat a random feather. Just make sure you have the appropriate protein amount in your feed for your Jerseys. Shorter days, colder nights, molt can mean a feed adjustment may be needed. Nothing wrong with throwing a little extra chicken treat at 'em!

If they just started laying, they may need some time to adjust to where to lay. I'd leave an egg or a fake wooden egg in the nest box to encourage egg laying there. Some breeds adjust faster than others.

Typically with egg-laying, they lay it, they leave it. She was probably just scratching around as her instinct dictates.
 

Peaches Lee

Crowing
11 Years
Sep 19, 2010
2,264
1,099
361
Pennsylvania
I've had a few of mine eat a random feather. Just make sure you have the appropriate protein amount in your feed for your Jerseys. Shorter days, colder nights, molt can mean a feed adjustment may be needed. Nothing wrong with throwing a little extra chicken treat at 'em!

If they just started laying, they may need some time to adjust to where to lay. I'd leave an egg or a fake wooden egg in the nest box to encourage egg laying there. Some breeds adjust faster than others.

Typically with egg-laying, they lay it, they leave it. She was probably just scratching around as her instinct dictates.
 

Farmer Brian

Songster
8 Years
Nov 28, 2012
75
39
116
Yeah, kinda figured that. Just that she was the only one in the coop and scratching right where the two half buried ones were.
Just locked them up, another egg on the floor in the corner, under the boxes. I really don't want to be crawling under the roost, then reaching under the boxes every day. Hopefully they will smarten up.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
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Best to collect the eggs and use fakes instead to try and show them where to lay.

They should figure it out over time, though on occasion some pullets may need to be physically shown how to use the nest boxes. Have yours shown signs of messing around or exploring the boxes, like bedding kicked around?
 

Farmer Brian

Songster
8 Years
Nov 28, 2012
75
39
116
No investigating the boxes at all. I put fresh shavings in the boxes two weeks ago figuring they were getting close to laying. Boxes haven't been touched.
So, are you saying I should stuff one or two into the boxes to train them?
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
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No investigating the boxes at all. I put fresh shavings in the boxes two weeks ago figuring they were getting close to laying. Boxes haven't been touched.
So, are you saying I should stuff one or two into the boxes to train them?

What I do when it's clear they're not noticing/checking out boxes, is:

Now this isn't practical if you don't have time to stalk them, but what I did was I learned the problem bird(s) laying schedules, and when they went to their preferred spot to lay, I'd go and pick them up, stick them in a nest box, and barricade them in using my arms to cover the exit. 30-60 seconds was all they needed to calm down and start exploring the box and decide that maybe it wasn't such a bad place to be. They each started reliably using the boxes after that.

Alternatively, some folks design "doors" on their nest boxes so birds can be locked in, which basically does the same as above, but forces the bird to stay in the nest box (whereas once I see them exploring and sitting down in the nest, I leave them to it and walk away).
 

Farmer Brian

Songster
8 Years
Nov 28, 2012
75
39
116
Here ya go aart. Had to take the 1st pic through the run door. This box was giving to me and it had no floor on first or second level. I added a bottom. Then I screened off the two right side boxes, so only the 3 bottom boxes to the left are open for nesting.
2nd pic is from the feed/storage side. Not sure if you can see it, but the screen can be lifted to remove eggs so going inside the coop isn't necessary.
They are laying in the far right corner under the boxes.
Nest box 1.JPG

Nest box 2.JPG
 

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