Nesting box help {and} a question about eggs...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jj126, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. jj126

    jj126 In the Brooder

    Jul 25, 2011
    Hello fellow BackYardChickeners!! [​IMG]

    I am new to the group and this is my very FIRST post. YAY!

    So my husband and I bought some baby pullets (6 Barred Plymouth Rocks) back on March 22. We we're told they were a week old and all has been great since then. We love our hens and so do our kids! Our chickens are free range and love to run around the yard with our youngins.

    Well about two days ago we found an egg up on the porch (she had just laid it) in a basket we have up there that we use to put toys in. The box was empty as my kids had their toys all over the yard [typical]. Well at that point we knew we needed to build nesting boxes which we did BUT the question is what do we line them with?
    I keep getting mixed answers from everyone. HELP!?!?!

    So back to our egg (which we were EXTREMELY excited about!!!)....
    None of the hens have laid one since then. Is this normal?

    We immediately picked the egg up and took it in the house...Is that a good idea or does it not matter? OH and should we start feeding our girls oyster shell now that one has started to lay?

    Thanks so much ya'll! [​IMG]

  2. dbounds10

    dbounds10 Songster

    Mar 15, 2011
    Fort Worth, Tx
    Hi and [​IMG]

    My girls have not yet started laying but I have been researching for months. The most popular answer for lining the nest boxes is with pine shavings. You can get very large bags at your local feed store for like $15.

    You should gather your eggs daily, some folks gather several times a day. If they are free range, I would not be surprised if there are other eggs under bushes etc around your yard. If you find some and it is very hot where you are, you might not want to eat them as they could have gone bad in the heat. The best way to test this is to put the egg in a large pan of water, if it sinks its good. If it floats, toss it.

    If that was your first egg, it is common not to see one for a day as they are getting the factory up to speed.

    Now that your girls are laying you should switch them to a laying feed like Purina Layena and you can also offer oyster shell in a bowl. If they need it they will eat it.

    Mine should be laying any day...they are 20 weeks tomorrow.
  3. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Crowing

    Oct 6, 2010
    Bay Area, CA
    I too have pine shavings in my nest boxes. And I've been happy with that. I also have a big scoop of Nesting box blend:
    Which helps deter mites and other creepy crawly things that might want to nibble at your hens.

    I know there are people who use sand in their nest boxes. Other use straw. But I have a hen who eats straw so that doesn't work for me.

    Basically, you want to make your nesting boxes as comfy for your hens as possible so they will WANT to lay their eggs there. They want a cool, dark place where they can feel secure while they "work".
  4. duckinnut

    duckinnut Songster

    Jul 18, 2010
    Marshfield, Ma.
    Personally I use pine shavings mostly and a little hay in the bottom. The hay seems to help keep in the shavings. But on this site you will find that everybody has their own way and none are wrong. Some use all shavings,some just hay or grass and some use sand. Also heard of people using coffee bean husks. I have not heard any chickens complain yet about bedding so.
    It takes a while for the hens to grasp the egg laying thing. You will notice the egg count will slowly go up once they all get laying. Once mine started laying for about 2wks was getting 1-3 a day. 2-6wks 4-5 a day. After 2 months I was averaging 7/8 a day out of ten hens and still true today. Get anywhere between 7/10.
    I always bring mine eggs in when I find them. As far as oyster shell it depends on what your feeding them. Seeing that they are at laying age you should have them on layer feed which has extra calcium in it. If you have them on flock raiser or grower, give them oyster shell. Even on layer I give mine free choice shell.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
  5. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    [​IMG] I agree with the other posts. I do put a golf ball in each of my nest boxes and have never had any problems with them not laying their eggs in the nest boxes.

    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
  6. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Crowing

    Oct 6, 2010
    Bay Area, CA

    Oh, the fake egg thing works brilliantly. Or golf balls. I couldn't find any and wasn't willing to pay for them so I used some plastic Easter Eggs.

    I now just have one in each nest box. Even though they've been laying for months now and clearly know where to lay them. They sometimes fight over one nest box. But they will always lay in the box that has the most eggs so if I catch them fighting, I move the fake eggs to one of the least favorite nests and that entices one to go lay there.

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