Hello all! I have just begun my chickening adventure and am wondering what I can do 5 encourage my 2 pullets to lay. One is a Polish Hen. I've been browsing other posts and am looking for more suggestions. I made them a coop--is it okay?
how old are your pullets? i don't think i know of anything that can get them to lay earlier, and trying to do so could probably be risky, as younger pullets are often more prone to problems than mature hens when it comes to laying. you probably just have to wait for them to start on their own.
the coop looks nice, though. they will probably love it.
How large is your coop - it looks only big enough for two nest boxes. You should have 4 sq.feet per bird inside the coop ,this doesn't include nestboxes. Coops which should have roost bars - you don't want hens sleeping in nest boxes and learning to poop there.
Nest boxes are only for laying eggs. If they are not ready to lay close off the entrances so they cannot get inside. When they are approaching point of lay, their combs and wattles will enlarge and turn darker red. If you touch them on the back they will squat for you. When they just exhibiting this behavior then start feeding them layer feed and put out a separate small container for oyster shell that they will eat if they need more calcium. THEN you can put a golf ball or two in each nest box so they get the idea that eggs go there.
I don't know what your climate is like if you have brutal winters your coop won't provide proper shelter. In bad weather chickens usually want to stay inside the coop, if they are too crowded they will start feather pulling, and fighting
Have you checked out the coop section of BYC to see what a proper coop needs, draft free, and ventilation etc. Fencing should be 1/2" hardware cloth rather than flimsy chicken wire, especially if you have pets that will be determined to have your chickens for lunch.
I'm guessing you have the one polish and one buff orpington from the photo. You don't mention age, don't know if they are close to laying age or not.
Welcome to BYC. Glad you decided to join our flock. You have a beautiful Silver Laced Polish and Buff Orpington. It looks in your picture like your coop is serving double duty as your nest box (or vise verse). You need to build a little larger coop and have a darkened nest box or two inside the coop. I would also add a fake egg to each nest box. I would suggest looking at our Housing section at https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/housing-and-feeding-your-chickens. How old are your pullets? It may be that they are not quite ready yet. As far as your pen, it is extremely vulnerable to predators. Even if you have no wild predators in your area and the wooden fence around your yard is able to keep dogs out, cats would have no trouble getting to your chickens. There is a good article on predator proofing your run at http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2013/07/11-tips-for-predator-proofing-chickens.html. Please feel free to ask any other questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Good luck with your Polish and Orpington.
Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.
Drumstick Diva has given you good advice. You can never force a pullet to lay, they have to lay on their own time. But there are ways to encourage them. Here are some other great ways to help.
Install the Nest Boxes!-Have the nest boxes in place by the 16th week because pullets begin to “play house” and sit in the nests, arrange the bedding and practice soothing lullabies at this age.
Keep Up a Routine and Minimize Stress!-Hens like a routine. It helps them not get stressed as they will know what to expect in the day and when. All chickens develop a pecking order also. So, a way to not stress out chickens is suddenly introduce a whole bunch of new birds to the flock, as they will have to find their place in the pecking order and it will stress out everybody, including you! As you will notice, chickens will set up a routine amongst themselves. Feed, water, collect eggs, clean and do other chores on time and keep up on you and your birds’ routine everyday. Your flock will soon be happy, stress-free and healthy, knowing what to expect!
You will notice that your pullets get red faces, large combs and wattles and start squatting before they lay.
Drumstick Diva, Michael O'Shay and Mountain Peeps have given you some good advice on how to make your birds more comfortable and safe. If you haven't already, you also might want to look over the articles in the Learning Center:
Yes, I agree with all the above posters. You need to add on to your coop. It is a bit tiny. The birds not only need to roost on something at night, but they need nest boxes. You could always add on external nest boxes by cutting a hole in the coop and have the box hanging to the outside. They could still access it from the inside.
Are they old enough to be laying yet? You can't force them to lay. But when they are of laying age, feeding them properly, keeping the stress down as Mountain Peeps has suggested and providing proper laying areas will help them to lay when they are ready.
Good luck with your flock and welcome to our roost!