Nest Boxes, Light & Heat

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by anthonyjames, Nov 18, 2009.

  1. anthonyjames

    anthonyjames Songster

    Apr 22, 2009
    Port Washington, WI
    My girls are just not getting to the point were they should all start laying. I live in WI and the temps have been up and down. 20- 30 at night and 40 - 50 during the day.

    We will start with nest boxes. I was letting all of my girls range all day long every day until I saw one of my birds taken from my yard by a fox. After that I put them in the run and let them out for about 2 hours before sundown now. Seems as they are not as active. Spend a lot of time the coop compared to the run. But what I have noticed is I have 3 birds laying now. And they are laying in the middle of the coop.

    I have added golf balls and lots of hay to the nest boxes and all they do is roll the eggs out and scratch out all the hay. How do I get the to lay in the boxes. With them laying in the middle of the coop we loose at least 4 eggs a week due to crushing.

    Next light and heat. I have seen that the light at night is not good. I started adding light at night about a week ago to keep them a little more active and hoping to entice the others to start laying. But I the more I read it is suggested to get them light in the A.M. I have 11 girls in a 4 x 8 sized coop. If the light goes on in the coop they won't go out side because it is still dark will they? Not that I am worried as their run is fully enclosed. I just never see them out until they can see outside and see above them.

    As for the heat I also heard they really don't need any heat until it drops below zero. Will the light only help to produce eggs? Or is it a good idea to add an infra heat lamp for part of the day / night?

    Thanks for any advice.
  2. gkeesling

    gkeesling Songster

    Nov 24, 2008
    Hagerstown, IN
    nest boxes - If they are just starting to lay, you might try locking them up in the coop for periods of time early in the day. Maybe they will find the nest boxes better.

    I have my light on a timer that turns on at 4:00 a.m. and off at 8:00 a.m. I also put a flood light on the same timer that lights up the run. When I get up and look out, I see the hens happily running around in the lighted run.

    I'm not planning on using any heat in the coop unless the temperature gets below zero for a few days in a row. You will need to be sure your coop is ventilated ok and there aren't any drafts.
  3. anthonyjames

    anthonyjames Songster

    Apr 22, 2009
    Port Washington, WI
  4. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Songster

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    Quote:I like your coop/run, really nice set-up and such pretty girls too!

    I think they'll figure it out pretty soon. some of mine started out dropping eggs wherever they happend to be at the time, but that didn't last very long. You might try putting shavings in a couple of the boxes instead of hay. I have shavings in the boxes because they're easier for me to clean up---have one rescue hen missing part of her wings that sleeps (and poos) in the boxes. Most of my girls like the shavings, but I have hay in a couple boxes for the ones that prefer that. If nothing else it will get them into the boxes for a look aroung. Cats have nothing on chickens when it comes to curiosity.

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