New chicken owner, pooping in nest boxes even though they roost, seems like egg eaters too, help ple

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by amama, Mar 16, 2016.

  1. amama

    amama Out Of The Brooder

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    Not sure if this is the right forum for this question, I'm new to BYC so just let me know if it would have been better posted somewhere else.

    We picked up 15 Australorp pullets on Sunday, they are about 20 weeks old and the owners said some were laying already. We kept them in the coop for the first two days so they would know that it's home, and then they have been out in the chicken tractor during the day this week and back in the coop at night.

    I did a lot of research before building the coop, so we knew to put roosts in there higher than the nesting boxes, and on the other side so the poop wouldn't go in the nesting boxes. But maybe I've done something wrong with the nesting boxes? We wanted to build our coop/supplies with things we already had, so I used plastic tubs to clean them easily. We screwed them down and cut out the front, then filled with straw.

    We made sure they were all roosting at night before going to bed, and they were no problem. The first day they pulled all the straw out immediately, and were jumping all over the boxes, so then I put a shutter hanging down over the boxes and put up wood slats for privacy in between the boxes and filled with pine shavings. Last night we made sure they were roosting again at night and they were all on the perches, but this morning no eggs, but they had scratched out almost all the shavings and poop was everywhere, in all the boxes/edges/around the boxes.

    It seems pointless to block the nests at night if they aren't getting in them anyways, it must be in the early morning they are getting in?. I'm worried about covering them too, since if they do lay when they are covered, it will be in the coop. We saw egg yolk on one lady's wings yesterday, and one laid an egg while in the chicken tractor and they all swarmed and started pecking it but we got it in time. So apparently they are egg eaters:(

    I don't know how to fix either problem, and really want eggs after investing in these chickens,any tips would be appreciated.

    Thank you
     
  2. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would rethink your nest boxes and build roll away ones, if you let them in and out of the coop you can block off the nests at night, and as for scratching out the straw switch to pine shavings it may help or it may not.
     
  3. BigV

    BigV New Egg

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    I posted this a while back and it has eliminated the problem I had with egg eaters. I have fake eggs in my nest boxes. I walk around the yard as my flock follows. I randomly drop a fake egg onto the ground. At first they all run up to the egg pecking feverishly. After a few minutes of being unable to crack the egg they give up. I do this several more times. Eventually they don't even pay attention when I drop one. I did this a couple times a week. Since I have started, I have had no more eaten eggs.
     
  4. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    you can also blow out some eggs and fill them with mustard.
     
  5. amama

    amama Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for the quick replies.

    If I block the nest boxes at night, what time do you open them in the morning? I really want to avoid that egg drop on the coop floor. I know they weren't in the nest boxes at 11pm last night, they were all roosting, I checked when we were outside.

    I do have golf balls in the boxes, but that's a great idea about dropping them while they are in the tractor, I'll do that for a few days.

    I also wondered if hens are supposed to eat this much? They gobble the feed down as soon as they can, and when I give them scraps they are a little picky. The owner said he always gave them corn and bread, which I don't want to give them much.

    Thanks!
     
  6. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    how many lb. f feed do they go through in a certain time frame, and are the 15 all you have? I would suggest 6-7, what time do you usually let them out of the coop?
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    They've only been with you a few days, they need time(a couple weeks) to settle into their new home.
    Pics of your nests might help us help you improve them.
    But new layers will make a mess of nests at first, it can take them up to a month or so to smooth things out.
     
  8. amama

    amama Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes, we just have the 15. I have been letting them out later in the morning to hope they would lay before getting in the chicken tractor. The good news is they have laid a couple eggs since while in the tractor and they've left them alone. I did try the golf ball tip, maybe that fixed it.

    I will send pictures as soon as my camera will cooperate, we are also going to change the nesting box area, make it boxed outside the coop to give them more floor space and make it more private.
     
  9. Sutremaine

    Sutremaine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A diet of just corn and bread, or corn and bread as treats? What are you feeding them, and how much a day do they go through?
     
  10. amama

    amama Out Of The Brooder

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    My husband reconstructed the nest box area, boxed it outside the coop and I put burlap curtains over it, and the boxes were poop free this morning! They had only scratched out a little of the nesting materials, so seems like it fixed the problem, thanks for the help. Now if they would just lay eggs in there:)
     

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