nesting boxes, seperating feed and nesting behavior ?'s

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chicknmama, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. chicknmama

    chicknmama Out Of The Brooder

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    So, everything i've read says that nesting boxes are off the ground. Is there a reason for this or is it ok to have them on the ground? Just curious. I 'm a newbie and want to make my babies happy and productive.

    Right now I'm using milk crates placed underneath a bench. Above the bench is the roosting perch. The bench keeps most of the poop out but, I've noticed that they must be using the crates because there is poop in there. Is this what they do before they start laying? Two of our chickens are 5 months old and 5 are three months old.

    I'm feeding them grower feed and will expect to start layer as soon as someone produces that first golden egg. How do I seperate the feed? Do I need to keep the chickens seperate until the younger ones start to lay? Is it bad if they're on layer before they lay. They free range in a large fenced in yard during the day and have access to there coop throughout the day.

    Thanks for all the help in advance.
     
  2. buildingmyark

    buildingmyark Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I believe that some people raise their nesting boxes off of the ground is to prevent unwanted predators from stealing the eggs (snakes, mice, etc...). Having the nesting boxes elevated may also help the hen to feel more comfortable. When she is higher up, she can keep an eye on her surroundings.

    If there is alot of poop in your nesting boxes, your chickens are more than likely roosting/sleeping in them. Chickens Like to sleep in the highest area they can. It's a survival instinct for them. To prevent this, be sure that they have a place to roost that is higher than the nesting boxes.

    I know that you said that their roosting perch is above the nesting boxes. Does the bench have any gaps or openings that could allow poop to fall through from the perches above? Is there enough room on the perch for all of the chickens to roost comfortably? If they are not using the roost(s), you may have to put them on there to kinda show them what it's for. Maybe they'll get the idea and quit pooping in those boxes! Good luck!
     
  3. UrbanChick101

    UrbanChick101 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just moved my chickens here from thier former home with a flock of 40 plus birds. My whole operation is new, I have never had chickens prior to this. Right now they are terribly scared of me, and my kids (who move quietly and slowly around them) The first night home they hid under the nesting boxes which are 12 inches off the ground. The roosts are much higher, however, the first night I was able to capture a Buff Orp. and put her on the top roost and she stayed there through the night. Last night however, I was able to get them up on the roosts.. it was quite the happening see here:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=393464

    Today I have a Buff Orp. that is scratching and scratching the floor, all the way to the rubber mat. I am wondering if she wants to lay an egg, so I put a golf ball (the only one in our house) in a nesting box, and set her in the nesting box. She stayed there for a max of 2 min. and jumped down. Was wondering myself if I should put the nesting boxes on the floor, not only cause they try and hide under there but maybe they had a floor nesting box at thier old home. Then again, the lady I bought them from didn't know which ones for sure were laying or not, so we will wait and see.

    We are seriously considering putting the nesting boxes under the roosts, which also has a large shelf with some litter pans to catch the poo. If we decide to do this the nesting boxes will be on the exterior for easy egg removal. Will that be bad if they are at ground level?? I don't think I have to worry much about something else getting thier eggs, we live in the city. We are protected from coons (hardware cloth and plenty of locks) and snakes we don't have to worry about much. We should also be safe from mice as well. Helps some our dog runs our yard without a leash, it helps keep roaming creatures away.
     
  4. aussieheelr

    aussieheelr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Once one starts to lay you can just switch them all over to the feed. They'll be close enough to lay and just fine.
    We have our nest boxes raised because it's better on our backs. After a hard days work the last thing we want to do is bend all the way to the ground to pick up eggs. Granted we usually will have 1 or so on the ground... or out in the run... or anyother strange place they can find [​IMG]
     
  5. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use plastic storage bins for nesting boxes, and put them right on the ground. When my hens hatched out chicks this spring, it was easy for the chicks to get in and out of the boxes, so that was actually quite useful.
     
  6. chicknmama

    chicknmama Out Of The Brooder

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    So, the younger birds are 8 weeks old and the older are about 5 months old. When the older birds start to lay is it ok to feed them all layer rations. If not how do I seperate the feed when they're in the same coop? I think I did the math wrong in my first post. I can't believe they're only 8 weeks old!
     
  7. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:You can feed all the birds the same chick starter or grower (whatever the manufacturer of your feed calls what it) and offer oystershell on the side for the hens that need the extra calcium because they're laying. When all of the birds are laying, you then switch over to the laying feed for all of them. Simple, eh?
     

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