well I've got peeps now what?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by got peeps?, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. got peeps?

    got peeps? Hatching

    Jan 25, 2009
    So we somewhat spontaneously got five chickens, four hens and a roost. They were part of a pre-existing flock and I was told the hens were good layers. So we thought we'd wing it....there was already a basic coop on our property, my husband made a few nesting boxes, we've got plenty of produce scraps and I picked up some scratch.
    They spent the first several days in the coop, ultimately we would like them to be out in the yard during the day. So after a few days we let them out in the morning (no eggs or nesting behavior at this point), they spent most of the day on the perimeter of the yard under the chaparral/scrub oaks. around noon we noticed them nesting? making little dugouts in the soft dirt. So I'm thinking we want to discourage this so they go back to the coop to nest, is that right?
    I read somewhere about putting golf balls in the boxes to show them where to lay, had no golf balls so that night put a few eggs in the boxes hoping the would get the hint and have left them in the coop for a couple days and....nada..no eggs... no nesting...should I just let them out and let them figure it out...
    I would love some advise about having them out in the yard but laying in the coop..
  2. jforsness

    jforsness Songster

    Dec 28, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    You should also invest in a layer feed when they start laying. It will have the calcium they need and provide a balanced diet. Table scraps should compose a minor part of their diet, treat them with cheese - they'll LOVE you for it. Good luck![​IMG]
  3. willowcol

    willowcol Songster

    Oct 10, 2008
    Macclesfield NC
    They were probably just making dust bath holes, mine make them all over the place. Maybe make then a nice one and they won't try to make them everywhere.
  4. jforsness

    jforsness Songster

    Dec 28, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Also, mine roam the backyard during the day and usually end up at my back door instead of their coop. I either walk them to the coop (their good like that) or carry them in. They walk up their ladder and then put themselves to bed. Make sure they have a perching area to roost, about 2 feet up (higher for smaller breeds/bamtams).

    If allowed, they will dig dusting holes all over, the looser and drier the soil, the better they like it.

    [​IMG] I am chicken crazy [​IMG]
  5. gardener

    gardener Songster

    Oct 8, 2007
    Willamette Valley
    Chickens slow down egg production in winter because of less daylight hours. Also if they have just been relocated the stress from a move can throw egg laying off for a bit.
    Hens will usually lay eggs in a spot where they feel a bit protected.
    So they should find the nest boxes ok. THey do love to take dust baths so the soft dirt spots is what they are looking to do there and of course find good bugs to eat.
  6. Fresh Eggs

    Fresh Eggs Songster

    Jan 1, 2009
    They were taking dust baths.
  7. hensdeliverthegoods

    hensdeliverthegoods Songster

    Dec 18, 2007
    Catawba County, NC
    got peeps? :

    So we thought we'd wing it....

    Was this pun deliberate? If so - Bravo! [​IMG] If not, it's still funny! [​IMG]

    How old are the hens? If they are very young or old, that might be a problem. But in any case, they will start laying again for you once they fully adjust. And other posters are correct, short daylight hours greatly reduce the amount they lay. If you want to give that a boost, provide artificial light in their coop to amount to about 14 daylight hours.

    Congratulations on your new flock! [​IMG]
  8. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Start them on layer pellets. Scratch is just chicken candy and it's not going to give them all the necessary nutrients they need to maintain their bodies and lay eggs.
    I agree with the others. The behavior you saw when they were digging holes was dustbathing, a chicken's favorite activity (next to eating).
    If you can lock them up in their coop for about a week they'll get the idea that it's home and a safe place for laying eggs. Then you can turn them out and hopefully they'll go back to the coop at egg laying time. Usually works that way.
    If you don't have golf balls, try some plastic easter eggs filled with sand and glued shut.
    Then just give them some time to settle in and enjoy!
  9. Three_Blessings

    Three_Blessings Songster

    Jan 23, 2009
    Barry county, Michigan
    Do you know what breeds they are or how old they are. They might not be laying yet. Good luck and have fun!

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