new to hens, confused about eggs and nest boxes!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by maryzee, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. maryzee

    maryzee Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 3, 2013
    Hi guys, my hens are 23weeks old and started laying 2 weeks ago. Some eggs are perfect looking, caramel colour and good size but some are small with like a grey coloured fleck allover, like someone has spray painted them. All hens are eating the same so what can cause this difference and do I need to do something to improve the eggs at all?
    Also been reading about nest boxes, my hens lay all their eggs in the boxes but they also sleep in them at night, is this a problem and why? I keep reading that they should be on the perches. Sometimes one goes on the perch but mostly they all cuddle together in the box! Thought it might be keeping them warm?
    Really appreciate anyone's advice. Thanks
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Warmth isn't the issue. The roosts need to be higher than the nests by a sufficient amount so they feel that they are higher. A couple inches doesn't count.
    Pullets laying eggs for 2 weeks will have all sorts of anomalies till their reproductive tracts get in sync. Tiny eggs out of newly laying birds are the norm. The speckled eggs happen too and are common in certain breeds.
     
  3. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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  4. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote: Excellent explanation - I forgot to answer that question.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Don’t worry about the appearance of the eggs. The egg color is mainly genetic and can be different for each hen, even if they are the same breed or even full sisters. The eggs will likely get lighter over time as the hen uses up stored pigments. There can be day to day variations in the shade the hen lays if something disrupts the laying cycle, but that doesn’t happen that often. And pullets just starting can have some variations as they get the kinks worked out of their internal egg laying factory.

    The reason you don’t want the chickens sleeping in the nests is that they poop a lot at night. You don’t want poopy eggs.

    Normally chicken like to roost on the highest thing available. Normally, not always, but your roosts should be higher than anything you don’t want them sleeping in or on. That’s usually all it takes, put roosts up higher than the nests. But occasionally they get into the habit of sleeping in the nests. There are a couple of ways to break them of the habit but it takes a bit of effort form you.

    If you remove them from the nests after it’s dark and set them on the roosts they will normally get the message after a few times, though some can be pretty stubborn about this.

    You can block the nests off after they have finished laying for the day and open them back up after they are on the roosts and it is too dark for them to go back.

    Another possible problem is that some can be real brutes on the roosts. This normally doesn’t happen if they are all adults and mature, but if your roost space is tight, some might look for a safer place to spend the night than to be picked on and brutalized on the roosts. So be generous in the roost space you give them.

    I don’t know where you are, but if yours are old enough to be laying they are old enough to not worry about them getting cold. That’s not why they are doing it. However, if your coop is set up so a cold breeze is hitting them at night on the roosts, they may be looking for a place out of the wind.
     

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