Egg laying questions from a new chicken owner

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Redrock, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. Redrock

    Redrock In the Brooder

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    I have 4 Red Sex Link pullets who are 16 weeks old today. Got them as 3 day old chicks. My first chickens ever. Also added a Cochin Banty rooster of the same age to the group.

    One or more of the girls have started to lay this week. They are locked in their coop at night and free range during the day. I have now found two eggs, both laid in their house, but not in the nest boxes. On the wire floor. I have bedded the boxes and put a wooden egg in one before they started laying, but they don't seem to be going in there. Anything I can do to encourage laying in the nest boxes?

    Also, I started the chicks on layer feed on Saturday. Both of the eggs have been soft shelled. Will that improve in time? They do have oyster shell in a separate bowl that has been available for a week or so now. I've not seen them eating any of that.

    Both eggs have been broken and I'm wondering if the chicks are eating them and if so, how do you stop that?
     
  2. ryferre

    ryferre In the Brooder

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    Jul 14, 2014
    The first few eggs are sometimes broken because the poor hen doesn't know what is happening.....

    As to do with the soft eggs--- I would purchase some oyster shell and provide that as an option for your hens to consume. They will thicken right up.

    It also helps to leave a few eggs, rather than an egg or two, in the area where you want your hens to lay. I have learned that if I take a permanent marker- place an x on the eggs I am leaving as dummy eggs... allow them to collect up to a week before I throw them away it seems to help!
     
  3. mortie

    mortie Songster

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    The Frozen Tundra
    I am not going to suggest that you give them oyster shell, since I see that you have been offering it already.

    Are the eggs near the roost? The urge to lay them might be coming on while they are roosting and it's still dark so they can't get to the nest, which causes them to drop them from the roost. My RSL's first egg was dropped from the roost. It was thin shelled as well, as first eggs often are, so it did crack even though their roost is only about 2 feet from the ground which is a 6 inch layer of pine shavings. A normal egg wouldn't have cracked.

    You might have a couple of girls laying their first eggs, which very often have shell issues. My girl's first egg had a paper thin shell tha was SUPER fragile, but her second and third have been better. It's very common for a new layer to take a few days to firm up those shells. As long as she has calcium available to her, I am confident they will get harder for you.

    If you wanted, you could try putting some of the oyster shell in their food in case she isn't finding it where you put it. I mixed some in with my food this time and mostly they just ignore it and it collects in the bottom of the feeder.

    Congrats on your new layer or layers! You'll be getting firm shelled eggs soon!
     
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  4. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Since you do mention that you have a wire bottom you may want to consider a temporary addition of some bedding material to protect against future misfires/rogue laying (out side the boxes) until the girls get the hang of all of this. Their production system will improve with use and you'll see better formed and stronger eggs soon - and they'll start to get the idea about what the boxes are for.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
  5. Redrock

    Redrock In the Brooder

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    Jun 13, 2014
    Thank you so much for the information and suggestions.

    I'm going to add oyster shell to the girls feed and see if they will eat it that way.

    Both eggs have been right under their roost bar. So, now I am wondering if whoever is laying, is still sitting on the roost when she does? I put bedding under the bar today. Maybe that will help.

    I'm sure as we go along both me and the chickens will figure this out. [​IMG]
     
  6. Bostonbea

    Bostonbea In the Brooder

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    One of my Easter Eggers laid soft eggs for three weeks before she sorted out. She also would lay at night while on the roost. Your girls will figure it all out. As they get the urge to lay they'll search out a secluded place. One suggestion I might add is to confine them to the coop for a while to encourage laying in the nest. I free range mine and haven't had any issues until this weekend. Same Easter Egger was discovered laying in my neighbors yard. Thirteen eggs total. This will be a tough habit to break. Just leave them in the coop and let them free range in the evening for a couple hours. Just a thought.

    On a side note...isn't it cool to find the eggs?! Never ceases to amaze me!
     
  7. mortie

    mortie Songster

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    Mine dropped her first one from the roost. I think she wanted to lay it in the box but my neighbor was using a chainsaw all day and it was putting her off, so the urge to pop it out overcame her at night when she was stuck on the roost....and she dropped it from there. Since then she has been putting them in the box.
     

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