Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Egg woes

In an effort to coax my chickens into producing more eggs, I spent a few hours working on their coop. First I shoveled a truck load of poop out of there. Ginger was such a good helper, although I cringed every time I saw her use her cute little hand to brush the poop onto the dustpan. I tried to tell her not to touch it, but alas, she's 3 years old. (she did get a bath as soon as she came inside)

The Backyardchickens Forum is a very helpful website with anything you might want to/need to know about chickens. One of my chickens lays egg with very thin shells, apparently because she doesn't get enough calcium. Chickens are supposed to have access to o
yster shells, or even their own egg shells to eat, for their calcium. So that went on the shopping list. 

The 3 chickens that actually lay (out of 18 hens), lay in a corner on the ground, so I decided they needed some new nesting boxes. I guess the ones I have right now are just not right. On the forum there was a thread with pictures of people's nesting boxes. Some had very inventive ideas, while other had mansion nesting boxes. I wish I had the time or inclination to make my chickens nesting mansions, but at the same time it would suck if I spent all that time, and then have them laying on the floor somewhere. 

So I ventured into Joe's shop (can be scary), to see if he had any appropriate sized containers. I found 2 trash cans that he had gotten from a job site, and thought those were just perfect. Joe built a little front for them, so the nesting material wouldn't fall out.  Then I also found one of those cardboard boxes you get from Costco when you buy groceries. This particular one even has a lip in the front to keep the bedding in the box. -- one of my hens actually laid an egg in this box today!!
I also switched from straw to wood chips as nesting material, because the hens don't seem to really like the straw. Joe tried really hard to convince me NOT to buy wood chips. He would just go out with his chainsaw and chop some stuff up, he said. But the wood chips from the store are so universal, and perfect! I was not convinced that I wanted to wait until he had time to hack on a piece of wood, and it went on the list too.

Finally, chickens like to have a "nest egg" in their boxes, so they know that's the place to lay. Previously I have just left one egg in that corner where they lay, but the problem with that is, that they can easily break. So, the forum enlightened me on a solution for that as well. Some people suggested buying wooded eggs at a craft store, or even ceramic ones. But the idea that stood out to me was using the plastic Easter eggs. I filled some eggs with rocks, glued them shut with super glue, and painted them a nice light brown color. Hopefully my hens are easily deceived.

1 comment:

Nancy Sabina said...

Wow! And here I thought you just got a chicken and then it layed eggs. Who knew hens were so picky?

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