Do your hens lay their eggs everywhere but the nest boxes? Here are a few tips to encourage them to lay eggs in the nest boxes.
• Do you have enough nest boxes: 1 box for every 4 to 5 hens is the minimum for hens to feel comfortable laying in them.
• Are your nests appealing: Make sure the nests are in a dark, quiet place in the coop. Boxes should be a few inches off the floor.
• Train them with a “nest egg”: You can purchase a fake ceramic or wood egg from a farm supply store or online. You can even use a golf ball if needed. When your chicks get ready to lay, by placing the “nest egg” in the nests, this gives them the idea that this is the place to lay.
• Keep them confined until mid-morning: Most hens lay early in the morning, so by keeping them in the coop, this will maximize the chances that they’ll lay in the nest boxes instead of finding a place outside of the coop.
• Make nests soft and comfy: If the wood shavings get depleted in the boxes, the hens tend to avoid them. Keep shavings or straw nice and fluffy to encourage laying in the boxes.
For decades, animal lovers around the world have been turning to Storey’s guides for the best instruction on everything from hatching chickens to starting and maintaining a full-fledged livestock business. Whether you have been raising animals for a few months or a few decades, the Storey series offers clear, in-depth information on a variety of breeds, latest production methods, and updated health care advice. The 4th edition has been updated for the twenty-first century and contains all the information you will need to raise healthy and content animals.
This revised edition written by Glenn Drowns is in my opinion the only book you need to raise a wide range of poultry from chickens and turkeys to guineas and pheasants. Glenn Drowns, an expert on rare breeds and varieties of turkeys, ducks, and geese delivers everything you need to know to raise healthy, safe poultry in just 464 pages complete with illustrations and a nice glossary.
A diverse flock of poultry can provide free-range meat, eggs, and endless entertainment. Whether you’re running a large farm or raising a few birds in your backyard, Glenn Drowns tells you everything you need to know about health care, breed selection, housing, breeding, incubating, daily feeding, day to day care and the processing meat and eggs.
Storey’s Guide to Raising Poultry
This great book written by Gail Damerow is an A-to-Z reference that is both informative and entertaining. Organized alphabetically by term, it covers topics such as anatomy, breeds, coop components, and health problems. Full-color breed illustrations, along with detailed line drawings, such as one depicting how to determine an egg’s age from its position when placed in water, add both visual appeal and substantive information. Tables ease comprehension of complicated subjects like predator identification. It also touches on subjects from addled to wind egg, crossed beak to zygote, the terminology of everything chicken is demystified in this illustrated A-to-Z reference. If it concerns chickens, it’s covered in this comprehensive encyclopedia. You will be sure to find breed descriptions; definitions of common chicken conditions, situations, and behaviors; and much more. Whether it’s the differences among wry tail, split tail, and gamy tail; the meaning of hen feathered, forced molt or quill feather; the content of granite grit; the characteristics of droopy wing; or the translation of a chicken’s alarm call, here are the answers to every chicken question and quandary. This book is a quick reference, but is not meant to be a how-to book, but would go great with Storey’s Guide to Raising Poultry.
Many people are drawn to the idea of raising backyard poultry for fresh eggs and the flavorful meat. Of course there are also other benefits as well, such as manure for fertilizing gardens, keeping down the populations of bugs and other garden pests and they are great companions.
But before you decide to join this fast growing trend, there are several things to consider when raising any poultry.
First , determine your time to dedicate to these animals and how they may impact your life and your family. They do require daily attention and chores. This means daily feeding, watering and yes cleaning up manure. Decide whether you want chickens for egg laying or meat production. If you want egg layers, keep in mind it usually takes 20+ weeks before you will see any eggs. If you want meat production, the best breed would be the Cornish Rock Broilers which take 6-8 weeks from start to finish. If you go with broilers we do recommend a strict feeding schedule of 12 hours on and 12 hours off.
Once you decide which breed of bird you are interested in, you next need to decide how much space you’ll need to accommodate the birds. If you live in a town or city you will also need to check your laws to determine how many you are allowed to have. Most cities have a limit of between 4-10 hens only. You do not need to have a rooster to have egg production. Do you have a coop for them or do you need to build one? A coop protects chickens from predators, and provides shelter from sun, cold and rain. It should have a locking door, a roosting bar and nesting boxes for layers. If you want to try to build your own, I would suggest a couple of items we sell at Welp Hatchery, the Multi-Purpose Mini Barn Plan or Poultry House Shelter Plan. If you’re not the DIY kind, there are numerous places on-line to order coops or check out your local farm supply store.
Before bringing your baby chicks home, you will want to be sure you have waterers, feeders, feed, bedding and a heating lamp. Your chicks need to be handled with care, so having everything set up before you bring them home will help alleviate any stress on the birds. You want to line your coop with woodshavings (not newspaper, it’s too slippery for the chicks), have clean fresh water and food, have the temperature set to 95 degrees for the first week. You drop the temperature 5 degrees every week until there is a constant temperature of 70 degrees or chicks are feathered out. Be sure that the chicks always have fresh water. This is very important as the chicks drink a lot of water.
Lastly, enjoy the chickens. They will provide an entertaining and relaxing atmosphere to your backyard, keep the bugs down, as well as provide you with eggs and or meat.