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BrightonSteve

A first egg - and a question about nesting

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Three weeks after we got our girls (see my previous posts for pics!) we've had a first egg:

 

http://yfrog.com/j2hsykqj

 

We think it's probably from the Rhode Rock, as her comb flushed red first and most strongly.

 

It's thrown up a question, though - the girls keep emptying the next box of all the material we put in it (currently a mix of straw and shredded paper) so the egg was laid on the bare floor of the house (a Chicube). As soon as I'd collected the egg I refilled the nest but within 15 minutes it had been emptied again, so the material is now among and below the roosting bars. Could this be a sign of boredom, or a need for more bedding? Or do they like to lay on bare space? Or do they object to the materials we're using?

 

Any advice gratefully received!

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The run does look very small for 3 hens, do you have the dimensions?

Could be down to boredom but mine sometimes rip the newspaper from it and throw it out! I now use just wood shavings and this is perfect :D

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We think the run is quite small, despite it being sold as being suitable for 3 birds, so we're already looking to extend it to give them more room. It's currently approx 14 square feet - we want to make it 22 square feet. We've been giving them plenty of things to scratch for to keep them busy and they seem fairly contented - I'm told bored birds won't lay!

 

On the nesting material - I've been keeping an eye on them and I think it's one of the birds (the Light Sussex) always removing the bedding from the nest box, leaving it empty. Is that significant? Is there any way of changing her behaviour?

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Sometimes it's hard to know why hens do certain things :lol: . They may change the behaviour themselves in time or you could try another bedding type to see if that helps (I use Easibed). Often they just scrabble the bedding about presumably in an attempt to make a comfy nest (which won't work if they chuck it all out :roll: ). Or you could just ignore it if they seem to be happy laying on a hard surface!

 

Sometimes they take a while to get the hang of laying so they may eventually realise that a comfy nest is actually a good thing :lol: .

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Straw and shredded paper are easy to scatter, maybe try a thin covering of woodshavings, small packs of these can be bought from a petshop and they can be used under the roosting bars so won't be a waste of money if the don't work

 

I think the 'big fluffy nest' thinking comes from us wanting the hen to be comfy, I know a lot of chook owners that use nothing at all in the nestboxes. Mine only gave a thin covering of shavings to minimise the chances of an egg being broken and to keep the eggs a bit cleaner

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Sometimes it's hard to know why hens do certain things :lol: .

 

This is so true. My chickens seem to hate paper of any sort in the eglu and nest box :shock: . I used to line it all with newspaper; they shredded what they could reach and dragged it out into the run. I then tried kitchen roll under the aubiose. This proved just as unpopular and before laying they would pull/push it out. They are just as happy to lay when there is nothing in the nest box but I use aubiose to stop the eggs getting too mucky.

 

They get to FR for a couple of hours or so and have an extended run with perches and dust bath so I don't think it is due to boredom just curiosity :lol: .

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I don't put anything in the nest box now, they didn't seem to like it and it irritated Ebay (she went a bit bald underneath, but now has her feathers back). I do put newspaper in the eglu tray, but sometimes they do pull that out!

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Mine have always chucked their bedding out - short of super gluing it in place (wouldnt obvioulsy) I leave it to them - if they are happy laying on cold hard plastic so be it - me I'd want something soft for my derriere if i was a hen. :lol:

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after a suggestion from someone here I put a sheet of paper on the floor of the laying box in both cube and eglu...to stop the wood shavings blocking the vent and then put in wood shavings...mine have always raked out anything else

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