Getting close to that time (Egg laying age)

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Tacswa3, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. Tacswa3

    Tacswa3 Out Of The Brooder

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    My 5 hens are almost 20 weeks old. (3 RIR's and 2 black Australorps) No eggs yet but I'm on east coast so the days are still short as far as light goes. I'm finishing up the grower feed and have put out oyster shell. I have purina layena on standby.

    About a week and a half ago I blocked off their nesting boxes because they all would huddle and sleep in there and crap in them all night. I wanted to break them of that habit so I wouldn't have crappy eggs (literally).

    So, I guess I'm asking if there is anything I can do to get ready for eggs. Give access to ONE nesting box? place a golf ball or artificial egg in there? Am I jumping the gun and should just wait until I see an egg or when the days get a little longer? Getting anxious I guess LOL
     
  2. You could give them supplemental lighting by having it on a timer and go on a few hours before daylight that starts them up lots of times. Or you could just wait till the daylight hours are longer.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Supplemental light takes weeks to have an effect...so I'd forget that until fall.

    But...you should train them now to roost on the roosts and not in the nests.
    Are your roosts higher than the nests?? They want to roost as high as possible.

    You can open the nests and put a couple golf balls in each one.
    Go into the coop after dark and take them out of the nests and put them on the roost a few nights of that should teach them what's what.

    I still go out to the coop each night at dusk and chase any out of the nests until they get up on the roost, ever once in a great while they still think they want to sleep in the nests, but now that they are laying it's much less often that that happens.

    My nests are accessible from outside the coop wall, so I can open the egg gathering door and poke them in the butt.
     
  4. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    I think you'll just have to make sure they have access to nests and then wait it out. You want them to have access to nests now because they'll investigate the nests for a while before they start to lay.

    I agree that adding lighting won't help now. The light is naturally increasing this time of year, anyway. And as aart said above, it takes months to slowly bring up lighting to proper levels and have it effect the pineal gland. If you want to add light, do it in July when the natural light hours are declining instead of increasing.
     
  5. Tacswa3

    Tacswa3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Their nest boxes have been blocked off for over a week now. I placed cardboard over them. I bought my coop pre-made from the Amish, it has 4 nest boxes, 2 at floor level and 2 about same height as the roost bars.

    Since I blocked off the nest boxes, they have no problem being on the roost bars. I'm wondering if I should let them have access to one nesting box at the floor level, since the others are roost height?? What do you think? By design, I can't get the roost bars much higher and that goes the same for the nest boxes.

    Here is a pic of the coop interior. You can see 2 of the boxes, and there is an additional 2 right beside those. My coop is a slightly larger version of this design.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. jetdog

    jetdog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I used golf balls and never had an egg laid anywhere else but the boxes, I would leave the top boxes blocked off open the bottom ones with golf balls and see how they do.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Agrees!!
     
  8. Tacswa3

    Tacswa3 Out Of The Brooder

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    I will try that, thanks
     
  9. LukensFarms

    LukensFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't overthink this, chickens are very smart animals and tend to want to find a safe area for their eggs to be laid in. The whole reason they choose nest boxes is they feel safe. If you have a problem with them choosing a nest box to lay in, it's indicative of a situation where they don't feel the nest boxes safe enough. A golf ball, ping-pong ball, or fake eggs does help induce a chicken to want to lay there. However if it isn't safe enough feeling they still won't. Make sure it has plenty of wood chips or bedding of sorts as that really attracts a chicken to lay in it. Overall, just give it time. They figure it out themselves in no time.
     

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