Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Chicken Question - If You Have Time

Will they ever figure out to go INSIDE the box?
I recently posted about my new Bantam chickens. I've build a covered coop for them separate from my other chickens until I see how they mingle. Covered, because the first one I placed in the UNcovered coop flew right out and almost became lunch for Lucky.

Since the day I put the Bantys outside, all chickens have stopped laying. As of this morning, it has been four days since any eggs were laid. My Wyandottes (2) and Barred Rock (2) have stopped production in the presence of their Roo. I was told the three Banty hens were laying age as well when I was graciously given two free dozen eggs along with their purchase but they have yet to lay anything either.

Perhaps everyone has a little anxiety about the new neighbors/settings? Or does this just happen once a year (we started with the Wyandottes and Barreds not quite one year ago so this is the first laying cycle we've experienced this time of year.

What say you experienced chicken folk?

Oh, and I added a new style of laying box to the Banty's coop. It is a plastic tub with a door cut into it. I placed straw inside for the hens to lay comfortably. It's been two days now since the introduction of the box and the Bantys still haven't figured out how to get inside of it? I even added a board for an ascending ladder/walkway. They fly up on top of the box all day but not inside.

Thoughts on that?



  1. Don't know. I have not figured out yet why the chicken crossed the road. . .

  2. My chickens are molting right now.
    Very few eggs. Ugly chickens. Feathers all over the coop floor.

  3. I'm not an expert, by any means, but I do have some thoughts. Our chickens hate going in dark spaces, so the bantys may be afraid to go in the box. Chickens that are "laying age" don't really care how old they are - food, changing situation, etc., can slow down onset of laying. Chickens are cowards, so lots if things can cause them to stop laying temporarily. Finally, decreasing daylight slows down laying, more drastically in some breeds than others.

  4. There could be a few factors at play and the presence of the rooster has nothing to do with it. This is the time of year where your chickens will start to molt, in which they lose the old feathers and grow new ones so all their energy is going towards growing new feathers and staying warm (if the weather is cold). Make sure they have plenty of their lay crumbles and oyster shell. They will experience a pre-molt (mostly the under-feathers) and then a full blown molt where you may have near naked, spiky, ugly duckling hens. Another factor is that laying hens need around 14-16 hours of daylight to promote egg laying. Egg production will slow down during the fall and into winter. Some people may add a light on a timer to give them more artificial daylight hours but you'll only burn your hens out of production sooner.

    Also, if your hens were used to laying in a certain place/spot it may take them a while to get used to the new laying box. Add a wooden egg, golf ball or an egg shaped rock in the new nesting box to give them the idea that this is a good spot to lay eggs. It's hard to tell if you have some extra straw in there or if it is just on top of the straw bale. If it is just sitting on the top, you may want to add some loose straw or shavings so they can make a nest. Something like the cardboard box from a case of soup or some sort of shallow box (just high enough to keep the contents in) with shavings or straw will give them a nice little nest.

    You may also want to add a couple of small strips of wood on the ramp if it would be a little slick for them to get up it. Oh, and if you don't want to use the tarp over the top of their enclosure you can always use bird netting (the kind you put over your fruit trees) which is sold in most hardware stores. And to possibly keep them from roosting on the top of the nesting box, put an old tree branch out in there. Like a chickie jungle gym.

    Those are just a few thoughts but overall your set up looks pretty good. :-)

  5. Throw in a cup of dry cat food with their food. They will love it and follow you anywhere. The protein will encourage them to lay. The Bantams are flyers. I am calling in air traffic control to clip wing. Hate to do it but have tried everything else and garden time is coming soon in south Florida. They will eat it all if I don't contain them. Having Bar B Q Bantam (devil roosters) for dinner tonight.
    Let us know how cat food works. You'll be surprised.

  6. Mine are molting as well, so I don't have much in the egg laying. I keep my hens wings clipped so they can't fly. I have heard if they get stressed, they won't lay. I had a racoon kill one of my hens,I didn't get eggs for several days after.


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