Lockdown for new layers?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lmblackburn, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. lmblackburn

    lmblackburn Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 19, 2009
    Mon. County, WV
    I have nine, 30-week old hens (BO, BPR, EE). My first hen started laying at the beginning of December, one egg a day every day. Then after laying about 10 eggs in the nesting box, nothing. I started to worry, had their poop analyzed at the vet for worms, nothing. A big snow storm came through and I decided to try locking all the chickens in their run/coop. Then we started getting eggs again...this time I had 2 hens laying. So, all I could figure is that the second laying hen laid her eggs outside somewhere and my first layer followed suit. I never did find those eggs...we've had pretty steady snow since then and I decided to just leave the chickens locked inside due to the cold and the onset of layers. I thought maybe this way all the ladies would learn to lay in the boxes. It's been 3 weeks now and we're up to 5 hens laying. It's been pretty cold out and snowing every day, so I really haven't bothered letting the chickens roam again. So, my question for you is this....should I keep them all on lock down until the whole flock is laying? Do I let them out and just hope that they remember to come back to their coop to lay? What do most folks do with their first time layers?
     
  2. GardeNerd

    GardeNerd Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you think you might have had them laying somewhere in the yard previously, I would go find those eggs first and get them out of there. If they find them again, they think it is a great spot to lay, and you'll be back to lock down. If the eggs are gone, they won't think it was a good nest after all.

    I always leave a fake wooden egg in each of my nest boxes. I got them at Michael's Craft store. If one of the kids takes it out or adds it to the other nest, the chickens refuse to lay in the empty box. They like the idea of an egg being there already.
     
  3. lmblackburn

    lmblackburn Out Of The Brooder

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    0
    22
    Aug 19, 2009
    Mon. County, WV
    Well, I think they may have laid eggs somewhere on the property, but we've had steady snow since and I never found a nest of eggs.

    I do have golf balls, plastic easter eggs and a ceramic egg in their nesting boxes in hopes that it would help them understand where they are supposed to lay.

    While they were locked in, I would get up to 5 eggs laid mostly in the nesting box, although one hen seems to think the coop floor is good enough. I started letting them roam a bit again this weekend. I took a bale of straw and spread it out for them outside of the run so they didn't have to walk on the snow. They seemed happy to venture out a little and scratch in the straw but no one really felt like going much past the edge of the straw.

    Another snow storm is heading our way so I would imagine the flock will be staying very close to the coop.

    Any other tips for getting pullets to lay in their boxes?
     

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