Golf balls?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by LaurenM23, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. LaurenM23

    LaurenM23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have three lovely ladies (two BRs and one Australorp) who will be 17 weeks old tomorrow. Their combs are starting to redden and are growing much more in recent weeks, so I'm starting to wonder about laying. I've read a variety of posts and articles about when POL occurs. I was thinking that we might really be looking at next spring, given that cool weather is on the way shortly.

    I can tell that they have been exploring the nesting boxes, as they have left behind some little feathers here and there and seem to have ruffled in the bedding (just a bit of shavings right now in case they pooed). For whatever (lucky) reason, not one of them, my roo included, messes in the coop. They always go out, do their business and come back, so the floor and boxes are spotless, really.

    I would like to add in a bit of straw and somewhat form some nests, but am wondering what I can do to encourage them that the boxes are where the laying should happen. My only experience with laying hens comes from a historic site where I volunteer. They have no nesting boxes and the hens lay where ever, whenever, making egg collection a true chore...and messy if you miss one in tall grass!

    I have heard of people putting golf balls under broody hens and switching them out for either hatchlings or fertile eggs. Might creating some crude straws nests and setting in some golf balls show the girls that this is where the deed is done? The thought is that they might think another has laid an egg and want to follow suit (whenever they are ready), going back to the spot?
     
  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    MANY many folks use golf balls as "lure eggs" in nesting boxes to show the pullets where to lay their eggs. I keep some in my nest boxes ALL the time.

    Highly recommended tactic, in fact. [​IMG]
     
  3. Muggsmagee

    Muggsmagee Menagerie Mama

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    I used nothing. Seriously. We put shavings in the nesting boxes...and the girls knew what to do. In the beginning they would move from nesting box to nesting box, trying to find the perfect one. Now they double and triple up in the boxes. Our silkies lure the new layers in, so they can brood over their eggs. Silly girls. We find an occasional egg on the ground from the new layers...but it is under the nesting boxes (close enough).

    I don't know what other people have experienced, but if your nesting boxes are ready for them now, they will practice sitting in them. You have a few weeks to go still. Once one chicken lays in a box, the others will likely copy that behavior. A golf ball, stone egg, wooden egg, play kitchen egg...none of these are a bad idea, but not necessary.
     
  4. bokboklady

    bokboklady Out Of The Brooder

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    hi there, when one of my hens started fussing , running in and out of the coop and run, i picked her up and put her in the nest box and after a bit of toooo'in and frowing she settled down in the box and has laid her eggs in there ever since, they sometimes figure it out for them selves, where as my two younger ones choose to lay in a little corner of the run and i cant get them to go in the cosy box's, so what do you do, well, just leave them to it, their choice, good luck
     
  5. Crabella

    Crabella Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] Yes, golf balls in the nest will encourage them to lay there instead of just anywhere. That said, I still have a couple that sneak off while free ranging to their own "private" spot. One seems to wait until she can get there and not very patiently either. I was a little late letting them out the other day and she made a beeline for her preferred nesting spot. Afterward she came and fussed at me for the longest time. She probably thinks I'm slow, because it took a while before I finally realized she wanted her morning treats, she missed out because she was taking care of business...
     
  6. LaurenM23

    LaurenM23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks so much! I was so excited to see some "action" in the boxes and know that its a bit early yet, but really figured they might just lay in the run or something, if I didn't do anything. I definitely want to add a bit a straw in there, since we have a bunch on hand, and I have TONS of golfballs, so I had the thought. Glad to know I'm not crazy! haha

    I've heard many stories of people having 5 hens and 6 nesting boxes, but everyone sharing 2 or something. They must just feel a good vibe from a certain spot. Maybe I'll pop a ball in each box just to see if they even notice. They so love their roosts, I was thinking they hadn't even noticed the boxes!

    Given their age and that October is here, isn't it unlikely that they will lay this year? I thought they slowed down in the fall and winter significantly...
     
  7. Muggsmagee

    Muggsmagee Menagerie Mama

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    Quote:The egg production can slow down when there isn't enough light. If you add light supplementation at night (even in the morning) it will help. Also...keep in mind when hens eat hay and straw they can get what is known as impacted crop. I would suggest throwing chopped grass or shavings in them instead.
     
  8. carrlr

    carrlr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use golfballs in my nest boxes. When they first start to lay, I've experienced what I call an Oops lay. That's where I think the egg comes on them before they can get to their nest. That doesn't happen often, just once in awhile with new layers. Mine all go in the nest box now. Only thing is, I have 12 girls, 4 nest boxes, but they all use the same one.
     
  9. LaurenM23

    LaurenM23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 16, 2010
    King George, VA
    Quote:Thanks for this! I will avoid the straw and just use a bit more shavings in there, then. There is just the tiniest of dustings in there right now, just for possible moisture, but not nearly enough to bank or nest, as the other hens seemed to like. Can this happen even when supplemented with additional free-choice grit? I am wondering if the dryness is the issue, as they do better eating little nibblets of grass. I have some older hay (very fine, but of a lower quality than I'd like for my horses) that I had thought of using, but I was concerned that they might be more inclined to sample it than the straw![​IMG]
     
  10. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Golf balls can definitely show them where to lay, but aren't going to make them lay any faster.
     

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