Questions about first eggs/chickens new to laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by LooseyGoosey, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. LooseyGoosey

    LooseyGoosey Chillin' With My Peeps

    207
    5
    73
    Mar 1, 2014
    I got my first chickens last spring and I noticed they are just now starting to act funny (like, making funny noises, laying down in strange places, and...being mated by my roo....lol)
    Well, today my daughter found an egg under a chicken that was laying in the empty kindling box on my porch. First egg EVER.
    So how can I get them into the nesting boxes in the coop? They hate their coop. I lost three chickens to fighting when I was making them stay in their coop overnight - now they climb under our oil tank at night. I just recently put nesting boxes in the coop but I'm not seeing a lot of interest from them. I also just put black plastic around the coop (it was chicken wire before) to keep the drafts out and make it more cozy. How can I entice them to lay in the boxes so I don't have to scour the yard for eggs? Are the others (all same breed and age) likely to start laying as well? Will this chicken likely lay again soon or are they irregular to start usually? I have so many questions!! :p
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    458
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Other than using fake eggs such as golf balls in the nests. it's pretty much a matter of figuring out whether something about their coop is bothering them. It could be the noise of the plastic. Perhaps there are lice/mites in there; they are very common, carried by wild birds. Perhaps it is a bit too warm or not vreezy enough. Perhaps there is not enough natural light. I don't know much about your coop so these are just offhand guesses and there culd be a lot of other problems. Some chickens seem to tend to stay out of anywhere they had been locked up in for more than overnight, at least til they are sure they can go in and out.

    As for when they will start laying, each bird has its own schedule. There are signs they may be about to lay, such as the comb and wttles turning redder, but in the end, each one will lay when ready. I rather doubt that others laying gets them started any sooner -- buf who knows? They do seem to be encouraged to lay where others do.

    They are a lot more likely to lay in odd places, lay odd eggs, etc. when they first start laying. After that, they may use the nests all the time. Or, like mine, they may decide to lay somewhere else now and then, for a day or week or month, then go back to using the nests, for no apparent reason.
     
  3. LooseyGoosey

    LooseyGoosey Chillin' With My Peeps

    207
    5
    73
    Mar 1, 2014
    Thank you for your insights. Im not all that familiar with hen preferences for laying. I put up the plastic thinking that maybe they found it too drafty before, but I dont know. They seem to be okay with the space more now that I have been feeding them specifically in there for two days but they wont sleep in there. They also dont roost. I have defective chickens, perhaps. lol
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    458
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Roosting is something they do in the wild, so people provide roosts for their comfort, to make things seem more natural for them. It really isn't a problem if they don't roost, as long as they are not sleeping in nest boxes, thus getting poop on the eggs! You might check the underside of the roost for mites or parasites; there is one type that lives there during the day. Also, your roost may be a bit narrow for their comfort. Unlike many birds, chickens' feet don't curl well around a narrow branch or pole like a broomstick. They are more cofortable on something like the wide side of a 2x4 or a fat branch.
     
  5. LooseyGoosey

    LooseyGoosey Chillin' With My Peeps

    207
    5
    73
    Mar 1, 2014
    Not to sound silly, but how does one check for mites? I wouldn't know where to look or how to look for it.
    I have one bird that prefers to sleep on top of the stack of nest boxes, but she always sleeps in the same spot and poops through the "unfavored" nest. :p
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by