We got our first eggs! New layer advice?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ticketism, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. ticketism

    ticketism Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, Chai the buff/white Orpington turned 18 weeks and has started laying! She had a couple of weeks of obvious behavioural changes, then one afternoon she was see seeming extremely agitated, pacing and clucking, up and down and up down and up and down the ladder to the sleep space/nesting box... The next day at about 10am when I left there was nothing there, and when my partner checked at around midday - An egg!

    [​IMG]

    It was tiny (31g) but perfectly formed and beautiful. The next day (Wednesday), I wasn't expecting another one, but I went down to the coop at about 2pm to fill up some fresh water and chuck in some treats, bent down to scruffle Chai's tail feathers affectionately, and she squatted right in front of me and lay another one! It was so quick, she was so quiet - I'm sure she was just as surprised as I was, hahaha. This time 34g and just as perfectly formed. On Thursday there was no egg, then another one appeared on Friday morning (32g and perfect too).

    She lay all three on the floor in the run, right near the door. I'm pretty sure she was wanting to get out and over to a particular shady spot under some bushes I've been watching her meticulously arrange for the last couple of weeks. So I got some dummy eggs and put them in the nesting box. Yesterday and today she's been spending a lot of time up in the nesting box, making a comfy little imprint for herself and acting all agitated like she was before she lay her first one. It's nearly 3pm and there's been no egg, but every time I check the nesting box, she's in there, quietly sitting on the dummy eggs.

    Has she gone broody so quickly? Should I be expecting an egg today? Does this mean she'll start laying in the box? I've tried using the forum search engine, and I've read a lot of threads asking similar questions, but I'm still not really sure what it means or what to do. These are our first pullets (we started with some others that turned out to be Roos and had to be rehomed) and first eggs ever, so we're both really excited! My partner doesn't like the dummy eggs coz she keeps seeing them then having those little moments of excitement, realisation and disappointment, haha, but I thought it was a good idea to show Chai where to lay, and discourage her from wanting to go lay in the bushes where we won't find them... But if they've sent her broody (so young! I didn't think that was likely at all!) I'll definitely take them out.

    What do you guys think? Also - Yayyy! First egg! So exciting. Well done Chai! Now just keep at it =D
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    I'd say that she will not have gone broody - when chickens first begin to lay, it takes a while for them to get their plumbing sorted out so laying at strange times, soft shelled eggs, two eggs in one day are quite normal.

    All the best
    CT
     
  3. ticketism

    ticketism Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]

    All day in the nesting box, sitting on the dummy egg. I took this photo, went upstairs to grab something, came back down and...

    [​IMG]

    ... She came down and lay on the coop floor anyway xD 4pm - The latest yet. 33g and as perfect as the rest.

    So is it just totally random that she was in the box, sitting on the dummy egg all day? She was definitely very purposely sitting *on* it, clucking and cooing, didn't want me to move her at all, and then she just dropped it on the floor like 'Meh, whatever' anyway, hahaha.

    I know it can take them a while to get the hang of it while their bodies mature and they learn what the sensations/feelings mean. I was expecting some weird shapes, soft shells or other abnormalities but we haven't had any so far! I'm sure we will at some point though. It was nice to have the first one be perfect though, and really exciting when she lay right in front of me, haha.

    Oh chickens, they're funny birds ^_^
     
  4. ticketism

    ticketism Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, considering she obviously recognised the dummy as an egg and spent so much time up in the nesting box, yet lay on the floor anyway - Should I keep the dummy egg in until she starts properly using the box?
     
  5. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    It can't do any harm - she'll get the hang of it sooner or later
     
  6. ticketism

    ticketism Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If I take the dummy out do you think she'd still figure out to use the nesting box? Considering she was up there all day today? I don't want my partner getting all excited-disappointed every time she checks, especially coz Chai seems to lay anywhere between mid-morning and late afternoon!
     
  7. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    What i have done in the past is move a hen who has settled to lay somewhere other than a nest into a nest with success. One of my first hens used an outside sink as a nest for a few days, so i simply put her in a nest one day, and that was it - the penny dropped and no more sink eggs. You just have to catch them in the act of setting down to lay if you wish to use this approach.
    CT
     
  8. ticketism

    ticketism Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Alright I'll keep my eye on her. The time I saw her lay she honestly looked as though she was just pooping, it was that fast, quiet and casual. I wouldn't have been able to get her into the box quick enough that time, and with poop:egg ratio I feel as though I'm playing a terrible version of Russian Roulette, hahaha.
     
  9. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Yeah, don't envy you on that one! [​IMG]

    CT
     
  10. ticketism

    ticketism Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Whoo! This morning when I heard the egg song I looked out the window and didn't see Chai hanging around the run... The sound was coming from the nesting box! After a while I went down and had a peek - Must've been right on time, because she looked up at me, gave one good push and *plonk* Egg finally layed in the nesting box!

    [​IMG]

    She sat on it for a little bit, I gave her a little scratch on the head, and she went down into the run to have second breakfast, haha. So exciting! So proud! My partner had been really wanting to see the first one actually in the box, so I went and told her and she came running down all excited =) 37g this time - They're steadily getting bigger. I reckon her sister (Little Star) is only a few days off now too.

    It's so amazing picking up a warm, freshly laid egg, giving the chicken who just laid it a big cuddle, then taking it upstairs for breakfast =D
     

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