Stimulate laying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cllewis.1, Oct 8, 2009.

  1. cllewis.1

    cllewis.1 New Egg

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    7
    Oct 8, 2009
    Newbie here, bear with me. A local guy with lots of chickens sold us 2 black austrolorps and 2 barred rocks 2 Saturdays ago. I constructed a 4x8 chicken tractor. The run is 4x5, and the coop is the remaining 4x3. Since the whole thing is enclosed I don't actually have a "door" on the coop, but rather a wall that comes down from the top to about a foot off the ground. Behind this wall is a platform about 3' long. About half of it is separated as a nesting box. My nesting box doesn't have a ceiling or walls, rather it's open-air to the top of the coop (saw a few different tractor designs that were this open, so I figured it was ok.) I have a "lip" separating the nesting box from the rest of the platform. The purpose of the platform is to give the girls a space to step onto before going up the little ramp to their roost.

    They do fine at getting up onto the roost at night, though sometimes one bird will be crowded out because another won't move over - that is, goes up the ramp and stops without moving over to allow the next one up. The rocks are best at getting up there, sometimes one of the BAs tries to roost on the lip of the nesting area.

    The girls are all approaching or are right at 7 months old, per the man who sold them to us. Combs and wattles are pretty red. When we got them he had just started feeding them layer pellets, so that's what we're feeding them. We 're in northwest GA, and getting about 12 hours from sunrise to sunset right now.

    Now, I'm a newbie, but at face value, the chickens are all happy and healthy. The scratch around in their run, they get up with the sun and go to bed with the sun, they all eat and drink and poop. Based on everything I have read, they have adequate roosting space and adequate square footage in the run.

    Questions:

    1 - does my nesting box need to be cozier, i.e., fully enclosed instead of open-air?
    2 - should I stick a lamp out there on a timer to give them some more hours of light each day?
    3 - red pepper as a stimulant to laying - have read it works, should I try it?
    4 - fake eggs as a stimulant to laying - worth doing?

    Other ideas on how I can get them started? From all I have read, they are old enough. We are starting to see more fallish weather and I know that can slow them down...but they haven't even started!

    Thanks, glad to be a part of BYC!
     

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