Questions!! Newb here!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by WhereTheHensAt, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. WhereTheHensAt

    WhereTheHensAt Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 10, 2011
    Hi,


    I have production Red hens that range in age from (3)18-(3)22 1/2 weeks and I haven't gotten any eggs yet.

    There are 6 pullets and a 1 cockerel.
    Our coop is 8x8 and 6 feet high, The hens usually only go in if the cockerel goes in first.

    One thing though is that my chickens free range from the time i go to work at 6 in the morning until I get home, which is dark by then so they are always back in the coop.
    We have a lot of woods around our house that they hang out in about half the day, The other half they spend wandering the yard looking for treats.

    I'm new to all this, I'm wondering if they could be laying in the woods? The area they hang out in isn't very accessible to look for eggs.
    I never see them in the nest box, they usually roost at the ceiling of the coop at night never in a nest box. So my question is should I keep them contained in their run until they start producing? I've never closed them in the run before, It's fairly small in size 14'x12'.

    Also should I put something in the nest box? I don't have a golf ball... Maybe a few store bought eggs?
     
  2. cajun Rabbit

    cajun Rabbit Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 18, 2011
    first off [​IMG]

    Second, more experienced folks will be in shortly to help. My question to you is, how long did you keep them in the run before letting them free range? (if they don't know that the roost is 'home' they may not feel the need to lay there) and are they of laying color yet? (comb should be bright red I believe)
     
  3. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Hi and Welcome to the forum..........

    What I have heard is that if they freerange, they will decide where to put the eggs. And I have heard that they can be pretty ingenious at hiding them.

    In your case too, they are right on the cusp. (meaning --are they laying or not) It's tricky because you want them out, happy and eating while you are gone....but you also want to get eggs.

    sometimes, I think I won't even let mine out until the have produced the egg, or I put them in a pen-- Surprisingly they are very good about getting back to the nest box and laying there. -- Maybe since they are just starting, you could 'coop them up'--- until it became a habit to lay in the nest box. Then when you let them free range later, hopefully they will mosey back to the nest box to lay their egg. They are pretty dutiful little birds if you got hens bred to be egg layers.

    Something to let them know where--- fake eggs, golf balls, boiled eggs, I have even heard of someone using round rocks.

    good luck, hope you will soon be getting eggs. It will be interesting to hear the kinds of advice you get on this one.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  4. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    [​IMG]

    So, they could be hiding some eggs during the day, or they just might not be laying yet. They are all still pretty young and even the ones that are 22 weeks might have a couple more weeks to go. Are they really red in the face? Are they squatting for the roo, or for you?

    Next, you don't want them roosting in the nest box at night. They will just make a mess. You do want to make sure that they have access to the nest box during the day.

    I got golf balls from someone who I know golfs. They worked for me. I wouldn't put real eggs in there as they can't stay in there indefinitely...

    And your run should be fine for 6 birds for a little while.

    Good luck!
     
  5. so lucky

    so lucky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    SE Missouri
    You could get some fake wooden eggs at a craft store, or get a couple of golf balls from someone you know who plays golf. Keeping them locked up a little longer would be a good idea, like on weekends. If anyone is laying, maybe she will lay before you let them out. The problem is, if the older ones are laying, and I think production reds should be by 22 weeks, then they are getting accustomed to laying in the woods, and the younger ones will lay there too when they start. Maybe putting a nest box outside with a fake egg in it would help, too. If you use real eggs and they break, you may be encouraging them to become egg eaters.
     
  6. WhereTheHensAt

    WhereTheHensAt Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 10, 2011
    Hi, thanks for all the speedy replies!

    To give more detail.

    So, they could be hiding some eggs during the day, or they just might not be laying yet. They are all still pretty young and even the ones that are 22 weeks might have a couple more weeks to go. Are they really red in the face? Are they squatting for the roo, or for you?

    The biggest girl has a lot of red in comparison with the others. As for squatting, I'm not sure you could call it that but she does shimmy her bottom when she sits next to the roo.

    Behavioral note: she seems to get aggressive with the roo at times, he puts her in her place but It's just something my wife and I have noticed recently.

    sometimes, I think I won't even let mine out until the have produced the egg, or I put them in a pen-- Surprisingly they are very good about getting back to the nest box and laying there. -- Maybe since they are just starting, you could 'coop them up'--- until it became a habit to lay in the nest box. Then when you let them free range later, hopefully they will mosey back to the nest box to lay their egg. They are pretty dutiful little birds if you got hens bred to be egg layers.

    Something to let them know where--- fake eggs, golf balls, boiled eggs, I have even heard of someone using round rocks.

    I've closed them up in the run, added 2 plastic eggs to each nest box(I have 2). is that enough? or should I give them more options?


    Next, you don't want them roosting in the nest box at night. They will just make a mess. You do want to make sure that they have access to the nest box during the day.

    Thanks for clearing that up!


    The problem is, if the older ones are laying, and I think production reds should be by 22 weeks, then they are getting accustomed to laying in the woods, and the younger ones will lay there too when they start.

    Would the sudden confinement in the run/coop stress her? meaning would she stop laying for a time and eventually use a nest box?


    Thanks again.


    One more question. Here is a pic of my roo, This is a production red right?? he's starting to molt, is that normal for a 19 week old?
    Is there anything special I should be doing for him?







    [​IMG]
     
  7. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    Molting at 19 weeks: It's normal to go through a "mini molt" at several different stages.

    2 nest boxes: should be fine

    Edited to say: The confinement might stress her for a little while. Not sure. Sounds like your run is pretty good sized. Maybe you could leave them something to keep them occupied. Some people hang a cabbage (like a tether ball), I just put greens in a suet cage and hang it, you could split open a pumpkin (they love the seeds and guts), or something else that keeps them busy. If you are accustomed to letting them find their own grit, it's a good idea to make sure they have grit during any confinement to the run-coop area.

    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011

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