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We are closing up our laying hens today and tomorrow to get them all to lay in the hen house. Do we go in tonight and collect the eggs from today or wait the whole2 days to go in?
 

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You will need to get the eggs soon or they may eat them from boredom.
And realize that the stress of being locked up may disrupt the laying a bit, especially if the coop is unlighted.
When you go to start letting them out again, do it close to dusk the first time, around 45 minutes to an hour.
Then encourage them to return to the coop.
The next time, a little longer out, then a little longer etc...
 

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I would still check on my birds in the morning feed water and general well being hello. Then in the afternoon for eggs and again in the evening for a goodnight check. Its what I do. When I first put my babies out I check on them alot they can and do getinto all kinds of trouble. They get stuck in things, get lost in the pen, get caught in netting and strings stuff you do see. and it keeps them knowing you as you come and go around them they dont get afraid of you and fly and run all over the coop.
 

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Goshen Farm
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I am about ready to do the same with my few hens/guineas/ and the new pea fowl. I know everyone will go in this evening and I am thinking I can just leave them in for a couple of days and then do the timed out exercise. They do seem to get along ok and the hen house is pretty big.
 

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Crazy Canuck
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It sure is nice when they start going into the coop by themselves. I have 3 that still insist on roosting on a fence to the brooder house, and
still have one little runty tail-less chicken that I can't catch and I can't find where it roosts!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well they have been in there for 2 1/2 days. they have only laid 17 eggs in total. We were getting about 16 a day before. We have 38 layers. What to do now?!!
 

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HOW do they DO that?
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Need more info to offer a viable solution:
How big is coop? Lack of space can cause stress.
How many nests?
How old are birds?
Are you using supplemental light?
What exactly are you feeding?
What are your protein levels?
 

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I'm not so sure I buy into the need for supplemental lighting. I have 150 laying hens at any given time, no light, and I continue to see good egg production out of them. 80+% laying at any time.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
We have 35 layers. Feed free range(usually), spent brewers grain, and scraps. We have 16 nest boxes in there. The last few days we have had them in there I did put a light in there. We have just been assuming that they were laying in the timber or somewhere on the property with only getting 14-16 eggs a day. So we expected to walk out there and find eggs everywhere after we closed them up for 2 days.... Not so much!
 

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Curious, Mrs Whodunit--- what do you use for feed? Especially in winter?

I go a bit inbetween running out of layer pellets, but they are free range and get scraps, a bit of corn or oats, left over parrot seed (what she doesn't eat).....

In winter, gotta give something; no green stuff on the ground, only the 'white stuff'..
 

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I feed alfalfa hay in winter along w/ our custom made feed (roasted soybeans, corn, barley, alfalfa, minerals, lime, oyster shell). I don't think that pellets, crumbles etc, would matter regarding supplemental lighting....
 

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HOW do they DO that?
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I'm not so sure I buy into the need for supplemental lighting. I have 150 laying hens at any given time, no light, and I continue to see good egg production out of them. 80+% laying at any time.
Even thru winter with birds over 1 1/2 years old?


We have 35 layers. Feed free range(usually), spent brewers grain, and scraps. We have 16 nest boxes in there. The last few days we have had them in there I did put a light in there. We have just been assuming that they were laying in the timber or somewhere on the property with only getting 14-16 eggs a day. So we expected to walk out there and find eggs everywhere after we closed them up for 2 days.... Not so much!
Adding the 14-16 hours of light is best done slowly over time and can take weeks to have an effect, it is not instant especially this late in season.
 

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Even thru winter with birds over 1 1/2 years old?


Adding the 14-16 hours of light is best done slowly over time and can take weeks to have an effect, it is not instant especially this late in season.
In the dead of winter, our % drops to 50-70 or so, but thats w/ no light. I'm not set up to run electric hundreds (or thousands) of feet to the coops. Birds are always on pasture, and it varies which one they are in. Again, I don't really see why supplemental lighting is an issue.. Trailers are oriented East/West so they get maximum lighting.
 

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Curious, Mrs Whodunit--- what do you use for feed? Especially in winter?

I go a bit inbetween running out of layer pellets, but they are free range and get scraps, a bit of corn or oats, left over parrot seed (what she doesn't eat).....

In winter, gotta give something; no green stuff on the ground, only the 'white stuff'..
Our chickens eat all our kitchen scraps, whole wheat, day old bread. In the winter I add in whole corn also. All of that is MUCH cheaper than layer pellets.
 

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Crazy Canuck
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I feed my laying hens a 50/50 mixture of layer pellets and wheat, all free choice. Then they get kitchen scraps too.
I usually keep all my roosters together in a bachelor pen in winter and feed them wheat and oats and kitchen scraps. That way in spring time I don't need to worry about any 3 week waiting period in case of cross breeding.
 
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