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Newbie in New Zealand---lots of questions!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kimmered, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. kimmered

    kimmered In the Brooder

    Jan 17, 2010
    HI there, I'm a totally new chicken owner and I have a couple of probably obvious questions. We got two 1 yr old hens 3 days ago and they haven't laid any eggs yet. Is it normal for them to go off the lay if they have been moved to a new place? They were battery hens, then they free-ranged for 4 mos and now we have them in a big run. They were eating pellets and we have them on mash... would that effect them? Also, we can't get them to perch at night. We have a rounded perch that is 75 cm long and 5 cm diameter. It's an old clothes hanger.... is it too smooth, or not large enough? Finally, we're not sure if the coop is too small. We wanted it cozy so we made it 1200 mm high, and 600 mm wide. But to keep them warm we built the nesting platform inside the coop... will that make it hard for them to jump up onto their perch? I would be grateful for any advice anyone has to offer!!!

  2. lovinlife

    lovinlife Songster

    Give them time. They're in a new place with new food, they need time to adjust. Once they settle in, you'll start seeing eggs.

    They'll figure out where the roost is. Do they have a nice place to lay eggs? A nesting box?

    First chickens provide for a lot of learning opportunities for you. You'll figure out what works for you and then you'll want to add more and more chickens!
  3. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Quote:Yes moving them can cause them to stop laying, should recover soon.
    Pellets & mash sound fine & having a large run is good.

    A 5 cm roost seems a little small and smooth. Usually reccomended are 2X4 (4cm x 9cm) flat side up.

    You only gave 2 measurements for your coop 1200mm high by 600mm wide, not sure about length.
    It is usually recommended 4 sq ft per bird in the coop(1.2meters squared) You can get by with less if the have enough space and time outside. The worry about crowding them is that they'll start pecking each other.

    Having the nests inside are OK. Depends on the rest of the space.

    Imp- Good of you taking in battery hens.
  4. alphazimbo

    alphazimbo In the Brooder

    Jan 17, 2010
    Whereabouts in NZ are you? I'm in Ashburton!
  5. kimmered

    kimmered In the Brooder

    Jan 17, 2010
    Thankyou so much for your replies! I was a bit worried that the perch wasn't rough enough or big enough.. I've tried again tonight to put them on it and they just sort of ... fall/jump off of it. They have a nice nesting box that is elevated with hay, but they prefer to huddle underneath it on the floor of the coop. I'm not sure if they just can't jump up to the perch or the nesting box because the coop is too narrow and they can't spread their wings. Sorry... the coop is 1200 mm high, 600 wide and 1200 long and the perch is about 37 cm high and the nest is about 30 cm high. They have lots of run space, about 5 meters by 10 meters, so I think they are happy outside of the coop, but I'm not sure that they like the inside that much. I'm a bit worried they'll get sick or cold huddled on the floor like that.

    Hello Ashburton! I'm in Dunedin! Fellow South Islanders [​IMG]

    Thanks again for any and all advice!
  6. gsim

    gsim Songster

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    They need time to acclimate to their new home. Changes often affect egg-laying. Sounds like you just barely have the minimum recommended space. I would not add any more chooks to that coop. It is so small, that I would be concerned far more about heat in summertime rather than cold if it was here in Tennessee. Since you are in the south Islands, that will mean summer will not be too hot tho. I expect winter is pretty cold there. Do not use a metal roost as it can enhance chances of frostbite of their toes. A 2x4 roost set flat with the wide edge for the chooks to roost on is best for cold weather as it allows them to keep their toes relaxes and when they settle down, their feathers cover their feet. Another thing to beware of is not enough ventilation at top areas of coop. Humidity builds up from their breathing, and their pooping. That needs to be exhausted via full-time permanent ventilation. Helps prevent frostbite and also helps to prevent lung ailments from breathing the ammonia fumes given off by their poop.[​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010
  7. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    I'm a bit worried they'll get sick or cold huddled on the floor like that.

    That would be a concern if the floor is wet. If it is dry in your coop, probably not a worry. I didn't have roosts for the first few years I had chickens.

    Also your battery hens may not be used to using a roost if they were kept in cages. May not know how, may not like it, and may not have strong enough feet to keep themselves secure. You could try putting the 2 x 4 (whatever the lumber dimension in NZ) on the floor for awhile. Let them get used to roosting. Good luck


  8. kimmered

    kimmered In the Brooder

    Jan 17, 2010
    Yay!! got our first egg today! Only problem is that it was on the floor of the coop rather than in the nesting boxes. So not only can I not get them onto their perch, but I can't get them to nest either! I was also cleaning out the bottom of the coop with a little scooper and found a smashed egg! So I'm not sure if broken eggs is going to be a constant occurrence with them laying on the floor of the coop. Any suggestions???
  9. Daisygirl

    Daisygirl Songster

    Nov 10, 2009
    New Zealand
    My girls started by laying on the floor - - I used a golf ball in the nesting box as an example egg.
    Also mabe in the morning keep an ear out for unusual clucking/ the "egg song" - - - they could be pecking at and eating the eggs---my chooks also did that, but then they pecked the golf ball, and that really hurts so it stops them.
    If they're not eating them, then it was probably just a mistake of someone stepping on it and shouldnt happen again.
    Good on you for taking on battery hens, but watch them for diseases in their first winter!
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  10. camalianus

    camalianus Songster

    Jan 7, 2009
    As somebody already replied, if they were kept in cages they are not use to nice nesting boxes. Also they legs and wings are not strong enough. Try to lower the nesting box, place fake eggs and place them one at a time in the nesting box to start teaching them where they are suppose to lay the eggs. When their legs and wings become strong enough and they learn how to use the nest box raise it. It will take some time for them to learn how to enjoy freedom. Also you might consider add some oister shell for extra calcium. Enjoy them. [​IMG]

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