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Will they instinctively lay eggs in the nesting box?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MaLoTu, Jul 22, 2015.

  1. MaLoTu

    MaLoTu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chickens have yet to start laying but they are approaching 18 weeks and I assume it is eminent. They didn't instinctively go into the coop at night, in fact I still am working on it with many of them (tried treats, but my birds have never really been treat motivated!). I don't want to have issues with laying.
     
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Overrun With Chickens

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    You have to show them that the nest boxes are the safe place to put eggs. Put a few dummy eggs in each box, a few weeks before they are due to start laying. Don't be surprised if the first few eggs that are laid, aren't in the boxes. It can take them a few weeks to figure out what is happening. A lot of young pullets don't realize that they need to lay an egg, until the egg is on it's way out. After a few days, you should start to see that they are putting their eggs in the nest boxes. Once they are all using the boxes regularly for at least 2 or 3 weeks, you can remove the dummy eggs.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. MaLoTu

    MaLoTu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I see golf balls in the pictures of some nesting boxes ... Is this acceptable for a dummy egg, is that why they are in the boxes? If they do lay them outside the box should I move the egg to the box or just collect it?
     
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Overrun With Chickens

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    Golf balls will work. Just collect any eggs that aren't laid in the boxes.
     
  5. Mutt Farm

    Mutt Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    That's a good question! @junebuggena was spot on. Lots of us first timers are impatiently waiting and wondering! Seems if your girls find a spot that is darker and more private than your nest box they just might use that instead. Also, they usually lay in the am, so if you could keep them in the coop until the afternoon it may help. I taught my chicks to come in with freeze dried meal worms. I tossed a handful to them in the coop (while they were locked in) every day a couple times and said "Ladies, chick chick chick". Within a few days, they came a running when they heard me say that!
    I've been following this thread in Egg Laying and Behavior Forum for great information. I've learned a lot! Funny stories of first eggs, great advice from eggsperts. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/982015/who-else-is-waiting-for-that-first-egg
     
  6. SammileeChickie

    SammileeChickie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Instead of a golf ball I just poked a hole in a store bought egg and drained out all the egg material, washed it, and put it in the nesting box :) a week after that I got an egg.! :D
     
  7. Clucked Up

    Clucked Up Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi. When mine were 1 mth old, they left the house and went into their coop with a run. I did NOT let them out for one week, as advised. I only left the feed and water in the run, nowhere else. After that they have been free-"yard"ing and are now 4.5 mths old and laying. They go to the run on their own an hour before sunset (7P), that's when I close the large door. There is fresh water and just enough feed for the 7 of them to last 'till an hour after sunrise, 6AM.
    I did get a golf ball from the Goodwill store and left that in one of the two nest boxes, as advised. Works great!
    Patience Chicken Sister. I've re-learned about their pre-laying behaviors, so I was fairly prepped ... still working out some snags. As the pictures will suggest![​IMG]
    Who needs a rooster to wake the neighbors when your hen lays THAT!!?? The noise coming from the coop was frightening ... now I know why!
    [​IMG]
    Even with the introduction of oyster shells, I was getting a few "silly putty eggs at the beginning.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. Clucked Up

    Clucked Up Out Of The Brooder

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    Was wondering how many and what breed(s) you have? Any pictures? Thanks, be well, and don't fret too much. After they sit around and cluck a little, they'll figure it out![​IMG]
     
  9. MaLoTu

    MaLoTu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry this response took so long. I have 12: 4 Buff Orps, 3 Black Sex-Linked, 2 Speckled Marans, 2 Lavender Orps, and 1 Leg Horn.

    I had some expired refrigerator eggs, I cleaned those out and put them in the boxes. We will see what happens!
     
  10. PapaChaz

    PapaChaz Overrun With Chickens

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    they will hunt a place they feel safe and secure to lay and leave the eggs. While they may lay an occasional egg in the run or make a nest on the floor, they do prefer someplace they feel 'hidden'

    they'll find the nest boxes, check them out ahead of time and use them, if not for the first few eggs, they will eventually.

    I did put golf balls in my nests, I have 9 hens and 3 nest boxes, so far with my 19-22 week olds, I've gotten all but one egg in the nests. They've used one in particular the most, but they have laid in all 3. The 3rd egg from my first layer was in the floor. I wonder if she just didn't make it in time, or sat there and it didn't happen and gave up too soon! [​IMG]
     

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