When to open egg boxes? 18 weeks old and no eggs YET.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sebloc, Aug 30, 2016.

  1. sebloc

    sebloc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello.

    Not sure if this is the right place to put this or not, but anyways. Our chickens are 18 weeks old, and they haven't started laying. When should we open the egg boxes?

    If we open them now will they go in their and make a mess of it and not know their purpose in it?
    Do we wait until the first egg or do we open them now? Thanks.
     
  2. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal Chicken Obsessed

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    Just open them now, so they can get familiar with them. 18 weeks is a little young for them to start laying (though some start early), but it is good to let them prepare.
     
  3. sebloc

    sebloc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks
     
  4. FlyWheel

    FlyWheel Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    In my experience chickens prefer to rest or sleep on some sort of roost, the higher the better. The only time I see them in the bedding on the floor of a coop or in the nesting box is when they are laying (unless there is no place to roost). If you have a roost just be sure it is higher then their nesting boxes, and preferably do not have your boxes beneath it as they will poop all over them. Having a slanted or slippery top so the cannot roost on the boxes helps too.

    When your birds lay depends on their breed and the chicken itself. I have had chickens for years and until recently I have never had a spring chick lay in their first year. This April I picked up some day-old Easter Eggers and I got my first egg just two days ago! 18 weeks is pretty much the beginning of that window judging from what I've read here. How red are their combs? Do they tend to squat when you go to pet them? These are usually signs they are getting ready.

    ADDENDUM: Also, if you should happen to come across one of your birds sitting as if to lay, then gently picking her up and placing her in a box can help speed the process.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Yes, it's good to let them inspect the nests ....and break the habit of them sleeping in the nests if they start doing that.
     
  6. BruceAZ

    BruceAZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    for me-- the 1st egg was right on the ground of the run

    the 2nd egg was in the coop's floor (on pine shavings)

    i put in the nesting boxes after that.. and they started laying in the nesting boxes since..

    they like privacy.. so open/put in the nest boxes after the 1st egg or two

    put in 1 fake egg or golf ball in each nesting box can also help..

    i have a problem with hens fighting for the same nesting box (2 nesting boxes for 5 hens)..

    when they are fighting for a nesting box they will make those really loud noises..which i do not want to reach the neighbors...

    if you have a broody hen.. just put her in a pan of water (so she will stand in the water for 30 second or so).. it will work.. repeat as needed
     
  7. sebloc

    sebloc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Combs/Waddles getting a bit redder, noticing more red around their eyes and "facial" areas. And to be honest, our chickens are so afraid of me, when I extend me hand to pet one, they automatically back away. No chance of picking them up. Thanks.
    Figured.

    We have 3 per 5 chickens because we thought we were gonna have 6. Thanks.
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Good idea to let them have their nest boxes before that first egg. When they start giving signs that laying will be soon, open up the boxes, make them nice and cozy with a thick layer of bedding, and even toss in some fake eggs or golf balls. Pullets love to play "house" in the nest boxes before that first egg makes an appearance. IMO this is an important developmental milestone for them.
     
  9. sebloc

    sebloc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My only real problem is, some are showing small signs and the others aren't. I figured opening them a little early would let them get use to it and when the big day does come, they'll know what they're for. The roost is higher than the egg boxes. And one question; what does the rooster do? Does he try to shove himself inside the egg box if it gets really cold out? Or is he the loner sitting on the roost watching over the rest? I know they're not always in the egg boxes but if it gets cold I would assume they'd want to be. Thanks.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Cockerel might sit near pullets when they first lay......or he might not.

    Chicken won't go into nests because they are cold....unless there is a really strong(strong enough to literally ruffle their feathers) draft blowing right in the roost area.
    But they might roost(sleep) in there just because they can....many folks cover up the nests access an hour or so before roost time to deter that habit.
     

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