Laying Eggs

dianchi

Well-Known Member
Joined
26 February 2007
Messages
6,125
Location
Herts
Visit site
Ok,

Am new to world of chickens, house we moved into had house and run all set up, so we cleaned it all up and now have had chickens for three weeks

I love them they are brill!

Now they have just started to lay (all little small ones) and they have pecked at two egss. I think they were the first that they had laid so I will allow them that as I would guess it was pretty surprising their first time!

BUT......

They aren't laying in their boxes? Are laying in the house, but both have appeared in one corner.

I have the boxes and floor of house covered with woodshavings, the farmer who sold me them also has this set up, is there anything I can do to get them to use the boxes?

Anything I am doing wrong? or that I can do better?
 

Fides

Well-Known Member
Joined
1 August 2013
Messages
2,946
Visit site
You can get plastic eggs from pets at home that you can put in to encourage them to lay where you want. They do tend to do as they please though. Some even hide them!
 

Cazza525

Well-Known Member
Joined
31 July 2009
Messages
1,188
Location
south west devon
Visit site
Pick them up as regularly as possible of course, and mine dont always lay in their nesting box either and often in the corner of their house. If the symptoms persist, try giving them extra titbits daily like cooked pasta or rice as thi will deter them going for the shells x
 

dianchi

Well-Known Member
Joined
26 February 2007
Messages
6,125
Location
Herts
Visit site
Should laying boxes be off the floor in the house? Might that be the problem?

Although they are laying on the floor?
 

cyberhorse

Well-Known Member
Joined
7 February 2008
Messages
1,276
Location
Westmorland
Visit site
Get a hard rubber fake egg. This put into the nest box should give them the idea of where to lay and also stop them pecking at the shells as it teaches them it is pointless. The best ones I have found are in the kids section at National Trust shops. Do make sure they have some oyster shell available as they often need this supplement, and can go for their own shells if deficient in minerals.
 

MiJodsR2BlinkinTite

Well-Known Member
Joined
16 February 2009
Messages
10,979
Location
Slopping along on a loose rein somewhere in Devon
Visit site
Mmmm its a right pain in the wotsit when hens start pecking at their own eggs coz the next stage will be eating them!!!

I had this problem with my ex-battery hens; one minute they were all OK and laying beautifully, the next they'd started to eat their own eggs and once one starts it the rest will too!

The immediate thing you can do, if you can, is to remove the egg-peckers from the rest of the flock. Second, are you feeding oyster shells to them? You can get grit & oyster shell ground down mixes at pet/agricultural places. Poultry need grit for their crops (to digest food) and oyster shell is necessary for laying hens to give them enough replacement calcium, and calcium deficiency may be the reason they're pecking at their own eggs.

The other thing might be boredom: are they in a pen which is movable so they can have some fresh grass every day? or is it a static run??? You may need to get something like a turnip, carrot, parsnip or something and bore a hole through it and put on a piece of string for them to peck away at to give them something to do. Often pecking eggs can be, unfortunately, a pre-cursor to pecking each other.

Ditto a "fake" egg which is hard so they won't want to peck at it. Also you could get some of the egg boxes where the floor of it is sloped and so the eggs are chanelled away out the back of the egg-box so its not left in there for them to peck at, which may be the best thing you can do.

But........... hate to say this, if your hens DO start pecking at your eggs and start to eat them, then I'm afraid, very afraid, that you will have to cull the perpetrators. Its as simple, and as brutal, as that :( Once they've started, its something they're all liable to start doing regretfully.
 

Honey08

Waffled a lot!
Joined
7 June 2010
Messages
18,986
Location
north west
Visit site
We've always managed to get over pecking incidents without culling. Try and get someone to remove the eggs during the day, so they aren't left lying around. I also find they peck more if they aren't let out early enough in summer.

Do you have straw in your nesting boxes? I always put loads in so they're really cosy.

It might be an idea to put something distracting in the area that they are currently laying? Our rescue suggests old CDs hanging from string- the light and reflection takes their attention..
 

MotherOfChickens

MotherDucker
Joined
3 May 2007
Messages
16,641
Location
Weathertop
Visit site
are the nest boxes dark? they tend to lay in the darkest spot (although not always). You can hang 'curtains' made of sacking in front of them-will prevent vent pecking as well (you may have to replace them biannually if you have get a mite problem).It helps if the actual house is darkish as well. If they are just started laying, its all a bit new to them and they are pecking out of curiosity -some hybrids are more prone to pecking than other breeds.If they are in a run make sure they have grit (mixed-if they are on layers pellets they should be getting enough calcium) plus other stuff such as hanging greens and vegetables to peck at.

fyi the nest boxes should be lower than their perches, on the floor is fine.
 

dianchi

Well-Known Member
Joined
26 February 2007
Messages
6,125
Location
Herts
Visit site
Well I haven't had any more pecked eggs and now all three are laying daily :)

I have one that is using the boxes but the other two prefer the corner- I think that it is slightly darker in that corner as the nest boxes are opposite the door.

Its a static run, but means that they have the choice if they are inside or out whenever they want.

We have ended up putting down some turf for them as the recent wet weather has meant that it has ended up a bit of a mud bath :(

We also give them greens or veg peelings each day, but I like the sound of a pecking veg- whats best?
 

MotherOfChickens

MotherDucker
Joined
3 May 2007
Messages
16,641
Location
Weathertop
Visit site
mine liked cabbage, kale, cauliflower leaves, carrot tops, butternut squashes, apples (in small amounts only). They love water melon and cucumber, green beans (even just the ends of). Sometimes they liked broccoli and sometimes not and of course they love corn on the cob-but it doesn't last long. you can also gather up long, seeded grasses, cow parsley etc to tie up for them and they love a slice of seed hay (just make sure they have grit available).

glad they are doing well :)
 

MotherOfChickens

MotherDucker
Joined
3 May 2007
Messages
16,641
Location
Weathertop
Visit site
I just said :) -cabbage, broccoli, bunches of long grass-tie them up with baler twine. They can't cope with very very hard stuff, so older tightly leaved cabbage etc they will get bored of. Spring greens and young heart cabbages are good. Different hens will have favourites so you'll have to see.
 

dianchi

Well-Known Member
Joined
26 February 2007
Messages
6,125
Location
Herts
Visit site
Oh sorry I didn't realise you meant hang up the cabbage and broccoli!

Great will see what they like best and experiment a bit
 
Top