As mentioned in my previous chicken post, the new layers have begun laying eggs. Since they are new to this whole "egg-laying" idea, they needed a little guidance. The layers started laying their eggs under the roosting area which is messy and makes for an adventure trying to get under the roosting area to reach the eggs. The chickens, being followers, saw one egg laid under there and then decided that they too were going to lay their egg there. Chickens are not one to care about whether or not this is convenient for their caregivers as they pick the middle of the roosting area all the way in the back to lay their egg. I am just glad no one was there to observe me as I tried to find a way to gather these eggs.
This led me to come up with an intervention. I gathered the chickens together with the help of my son (for some reason, if you want to get everyone's attention, bring along a cute little one with you, especially with chickens as they know little children will give them all the attention they want), and we introduced them to the nesting boxes made by my handy husband. We took some of the eggs laid that morning that I cleaned and put an 'x' on them with a marker (to show the difference between the egg that was laid the day before which we would dispose of and the newly laid egg) and strategically placed them in the different nesting boxes. The chickens, being nosy, immediately came over and I figured it was a perfect time to give them my talk on the proper place to lay an egg.
The next morning I went in to gather the eggs. As planned, my talk worked and the nesting boxes had newly laid eggs in with the eggs marked with an 'x.' A couple of chickens decided to be more daring and try a box that was completely empty. It was then that I turned around to look at the roosting area. Perched perfectly between the slats on the roost were two eggs, one on each side. How the chicken managed the acrobatics to lay an egg on there and get it to rest between the slots is beyond my comrehension. Recalling my talk the previous afternoon, I then remembered that there were two chickens that were more interested in our little one's affection than in what I had to say. Therefore, they must have only gotten half of the conversation and missed all of the question and answer session. It is obvious that those two need a more comprehensive, multi-step, one-on-one (without the little one present) intervention program in order to ensure success.
Pictures of our hoop house for our new layers as well as the nesting boxes and an egg perched on the roosting grates can be found under the "Chickens" page which drops down from the "Our Animals" Section.
**Please note that my handy husband did have a lot of help and guidance from the chickens on the specifications of the nesting boxes as they supervised the construction of those boxes. The chickens could be seen walking and pecking at the wood to be cut and even ensured that the tools used were appropriate for the job by their clawing and roosting on them. We want to specifically thank chickens numbered 17, 32, 33, 56, 77, and 84 with their help on this job. However, chicken 34 was demoted from her "supervisor" position by the others for her constant bickering.**