How to prepare for egglaying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cboriskin, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. cboriskin

    cboriskin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My two older chickens are about 23 weeks. The younger ones are about 19 weeks. I have blocked the nesting boxes because earlier, they were using it to sleep in and pooping in them. When should I set up the nesting boxes for them? When should I start giving them layer feed and/or oyster shells?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Now. If the nest boxes are lower than the roosts they usually won't sleep in them. If they do anyway then block them late afternoon until morning. But it's best to allow them daytime access from 18 weeks. They'll check them out for days and try them out for size before they actually lay. If you block them out during the day, they'll start laying on the floor and it's tougher to get them to lay in the boxes again.

    I wait till the first egg to switch to layer but I'm going to start providing oyster shell free choice before then because they are using extra calcium a couple days before that first egg appears.

    Commercially, they boost light at about 18 weeks to stimulate lay and shortly thereafter start layer whether the birds have started or not.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  3. jspitzer221

    jspitzer221 Out Of The Brooder

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    I agree, now would be a great time to switch them to layer food. Also, it is important to get them to start laying in the egg boxes from the beginning. Before I had a coop with boxes in it for my hens, they would lay wherever they wanted and it was quite hard to turn them onto the egg boxes
     
  4. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First off I used fresh compressed wood chips and layered it with DE to keep it fresh. I know they all like 1 side so I made it with these tubs I had and built nests. I built the nest away from the perches so they could not poop in it and I will show pictures.

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    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  5. cboriskin

    cboriskin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the info. The perch level is above the boxes, but when it was really cold, they would huddle together in the boxes. So what I understand is, to open them up during the day, but close them at night?
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    That is just until they get out of the habit of sleeping in them. I would block them in afternoon and open them up once they go to roost. Once they roost and it's dark they won't come down to the nest.
    Half of eggs are laid first thing in the morning so you want them to be able to get in there early.
     
  7. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All my girls go to perch at night and then in the AM between 7 when I let them out and 2 PM the eggs are over for the day. I was thinking if the perches are above your boxes then just cut a piece of plywood to be under the bottom roost and place a poop board under it for an easy way to clean out the poop.

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  8. cboriskin

    cboriskin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My bad, my roost is at the same level as the nesting boxes. So, I am planning to close them up in the afternoon and when the roost, open them up again so they are available when they wake up. Will they be laying soon? I do have poop boards under the roost. I have a higher roost, but they don't use it. Maybe too high?
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    how high is the nest?
    At some point, I would rearrange so the nests are lower than roosts whether that means raising one or lowering the other.
    Otherwise you'll end up dealing with nest sleeping forever. The worst part of that is poopy eggs or cleaning nests every morning.
    Normally nests stay very clean and rarely need tending to.

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    The height of roosts depends on the breeds but I like the floor of nests to be about 6-10 inches above the coop floor and nest entrance about 12-16 inches above coop floor. That way if I end up with 4-6 inches of bedding the nests are still higher.
    They like a perch in front of the nests so they can look in and make sure they're safe before venturing in.
    You can see the roosts to the right are at about 3' and 5' and some like to sleep in the rafters.
    Some birds like silkies and even LF like penedesencas are content with roosts at about 2'.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
  10. cboriskin

    cboriskin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Unfortunately, my coop has its limitations. If you go to this post, you will see what the inside looks like and how I got it set up. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/620455/finally-completed-my-first-coop-and-run

    I'm not sure where I can change the location of the roost. I have one higher, but they don't use it. I'm thinking it's too high for them to get up there. I have Orpingtons and Plymouth Rocks.

    I've been blocking the boxes in the late afternoon and reopening them after they have roost for the night.

    Once they start laying, do you think I'll have trouble with them using it to sleep and pooping in?
     

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