First egg question

rehdancer

Songster
Apr 2, 2019
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Northern Wisconsin
What great tips on this forum! I have a little different question, though. I let my chickens out pretty much first thing in the morning (like 7 or 8 AM or when it's light, whichever is later) and if they're not standing at the door waiting to go out they're still on the roosts, not quite awake yet. I do have straw and pine needles in the nest boxes, but if they're in the habit of going outside first thing will that change when they start laying? Should I be doing anything differently time-wise? These chickens stay together, always do everything as a group (except those 2 that keep flying over the fence lately). They are 16 wks old and I just want to set them (and me) up for success. I also have food/water outside, not inside, although I see this changing in winter. I don't really expect any eggs until toward the end of September.
 

chrissynemetz

Psalm 91 ❤
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Dec 19, 2013
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As long as they have access to the nest boxes they'll go in the coop and use them when they feel the urge to lay an egg. You might want to place some ceramic eggs or golf balls in the nests, just so they get the idea. And when they first start laying they might lay their eggs in random places until they figure out what they're doing :)
 

gtaus

Free Ranging
Mar 29, 2019
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This is my first year with laying hens and I have some of the same questions as you. My girls are 18 weeks old now, and just today I put their nest boxes in the coop. I lined the boxes with pine shavings and put a couple fake eggs in the middle of each nest box. I hope that will peak their interest and show them that is where they should lay their egg too.

I let my chickens out of the coop in the morning when I am ready, so I don't have any real set schedule. From what I have read, the chickens will go back into the coop to lay their eggs when they are ready. But I also keep their food and water in their coop, so if for some reason I cannot let them out into the chicken run for the day, I don't worry about them going hungry.

Like you, I am looking forward to those first eggs and hope to have everything ready for success for the birds.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Nov 27, 2012
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but if they're in the habit of going outside first thing will that change when they start laying? Should I be doing anything differently time-wise?
They'll still go out, but also may lay their eggs out in the range area.
I'll assume you are free ranging and don't have a run.
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 and run for a week or so 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 and maybe run 24/7 for a few days to a week, provided you have adequate space and ventilation, 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.
 

rehdancer

Songster
Apr 2, 2019
129
301
118
Northern Wisconsin
They'll still go out, but also may lay their eggs out in the range area.
I'll assume you are free ranging and don't have a run.
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 and run for a week or so 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 and maybe run 24/7 for a few days to a week, provided you have adequate space and ventilation, 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.
Not exactly free range, they have a very large fenced area. I have some time to decide what to do, I am going to put golf balls in the nests for sure though. Thanks !
 

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