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Egg laying and nesting box question...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Chocobroc, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. Chocobroc

    Chocobroc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 13, 2010
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    I am new to the chicken world. Bought my girls the first week in August. They are 17 weeks old today so I figured I need to be on the watch out for eggs from this point on. I cleaned out their coop yesterday completely including their nesting boxes because they have been sleeping in them. When I put the new pine shavings back in, I did not put anything in the nesting boxes hoping that either they'll stay out of them, sleep elsewhere and make their nests when its time to lay... Is silly of me to think this way?

    1. Should I do anything to their nesting boxes? Leave them empty, add pine shavings and golf balls, hay instead of pine?? [​IMG]

    2. I know it varies, and I'm on the impatient side but when should I typically see my first egg?

    [​IMG]

    They are all different breeds (see below) so I'm sure they all lay at different rates, but I'm just getting so excited!!! I love all the advice I get here on BYC!
     
  2. fdehaven

    fdehaven Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 17, 2009
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    I have pine shavings on the floor and straw in the nest box. I also used golf balls in the nest box. As for where they sleep mine still sleep different places. If you use golf balls leave them in there a few weeks after they start laying.
     
  3. PepsNick

    PepsNick Back to Business

    May 9, 2010
    Egglanta, GA
    It can be difficult getting them to lay in the nest boxes if you use the same kind of bedding in the boxes and the coop floor. I use shaving in the coop for and hay in the nest boxes. I haven't used hay for the main coop bedding though, since I heard where I live it can attract rodents... not sure if this is true but I'm a coop-perfectionist. Add golf balls. Good luck.

    Nick
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I won't let them sleep in nest boxes; many on here won't. I have closed them off at night now and then to prevent this. Keeps the poop out of there. This is a good time to train them to roost.

    Your Red star is likely to be the first to lay. Do you know about the combs turning red and the squatting? Good signs they are about to lay.

    But this is not the best time of year for them to start soon; they may delay because of short days, etc.

    Her is a great thread about this: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=423023
     
  5. cherylcohen

    cherylcohen The Omelet Ranch

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    Sep 18, 2009
    SF East Bay CA
    I use pine shavings in the next boxes, they like to "feather the nest" before laying.

    As far as their age, 17 weeks is very very early to lay, typically. I'm only preparing you so you don't go crazy checking all the time. My hens (all different breeds) start laying 24 -28 weeks and I even have some 28 week olds that haven't started yet!
     
  6. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    I use pine shavings in the nest boxes and the floor of the coop. I have golf balls in the nest box. I hang a curtain (old T shirt) will a slit up the middle of the nest box. I believe they don't sleep in the nest boxes because the roost is higher. They generally like to roost at the highest point.
     
  7. Chocobroc

    Chocobroc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Eastern, NC
    Ok... your posts helped. The roosts are higher than the nesting boxes. I'm not sure why they don't use it. They don't roost in their run either. Is pine straw ok in their nesting boxes? Can't imagine that being comfortable though. Then again, I'm not a chicken [​IMG] I will also hang some fabric from their boxes and add a couple golf balls.

    I know they won't start laying for sometime especially at this time of year. I'm getting excited though!!

    Thanks everyone.
     
  8. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    Well, here's another question then... I'm wondering why they don't seem to prefer the roosts. What are your roosts made of?
     
  9. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    The wide side of a 2x4. Chickens' feet don't really wrap around a narrow pole and hang on, the way other birds' feet do. Some people do use branches but they seem to be more satisfactory if they are big fat ones. Also, when it's good and cold, a flatter surface lets them cover their toes better, for warmth. A really big heavy chicken may prefer a flat surface, a shelf, for example. One of my Orps sleeps on top of the nest boxes; I don't know whether this is for comfort or has something to do with the pecking order.
     
  10. swimmer

    swimmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would block off the nest boxes for a few more weeks. Get them used to sleeping some place else. In a few weeks, put some golf balls in the nest boxes. At 23 weeks, I opened up my nest boxes and put some golf balls in. About a week later, two hens started to lay. I use straw, but they seem to kick it out and kick in the shavings. I clean out the nest box every few days and put in either new straw or shavings.
     

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