Bruce's Journal

Bruce

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Sounds like it was a full, but good trip. I'll bet you finally collapsed when you got home and got those other chores done.
Pretty much! Went to bed at 8:30 Wed, close to 3 hours earlier than usual. Had to be up to get the trash and recycles out by 7 AM. Breakfast and some attempt at forum catch up, took a 2 hour nap starting at 9 AM.
 

Bruce

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Stupid stupid chickens!!!!! Yesterday I saw Aurora (Austra White) scratching around in the center open nest box, no egg later in the day though. Big comb (and mouth), squatting, ready to lay. Sophia (Columbian Wyandotte) laid in the closed box this morning.

Mid afternoon there was a lot of racket so I checked the nest boxes again, nothing. Aurora had come from the north end of the alley so I checked the hay room since Little Lana had laid a ton of eggs there last summer before she disappeared that one morning. Nope, no eggs.

3 PM I gave the girls their scratch and the boys their pellets. Before doing the boys (I can do that from the chickens' side of the gate) I decided to go through the gate and get them a bit more hay in the half full wall feeders even though the snow totally melted between yesterday and today. I grabbed some hay and dropped some in the left feeder then the right. As it dropped in the right side one my eye BARELY caught a flash of white. I pulled the hay back out and found not only the first (that I KNOW of) whitish egg from Aurora but also an egg from Daisy (White Rock). WTH????? Daisy has been laying in the closed box for a month!

I put some hay in the middle open box in case Aurora just thinks hay is a better place to lay than pine shavings. Hopefully she will get the hint. I REALLY don't want to play egg hunt several times a day all winter, not in the summer either!
 

Bruce

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Went out at 8 after putting the trash and recycle bins out at the road. Aurora was already in the wall feeder!!!!! And Daisy looked like she planned to jump right in there with her. I took Aurora out and put her in the nest in th coop with the hay. She turned right around and headed back to the wall feeder :he I moved her again, she came right back out. So I closed the auto door, went and fetched her AGAIN and put her back in the coop. She escaped before I could get the door unhooked to close it. Spent a fair bit of time chasing her around, finally caught her (all chickens going nuts of course) and put her in the closed nest box from the outside. Then went on the hunt for Daisy which again resulted in a bunch of whacked out hens. Most of them went in the "spare coop". I got all of them out but Daisy, FINALLY caught her and put her in the coop as well. No escape, those eggs HAVE to come out.

Went back out at 11:30. 2 eggs in the closed box and Sophia was in the danged wall feeder! Likely because she was locked out of the coop (at least I hope so). I moved her to the closed box and she stayed. I let the other 2 out of the coop.

Sure hope Aurora gives up on the wall feeder "nest" idea. I guess I'll have to spend a lot of time going out to the barn to shortcut her from laying there again.
 

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If I find a nest outside that the dog and predators can't reach, I usually leave it alone and just collect eggs from there. Cuts down on all the nest blocking and having to retrain them if they have an outside nest that's safe but also provides their natural want for a hidden nest. It's also better to have a nest you know about then to block it and have them locate another one you CAN'T find.

But, then, you don't want to have eggs floating around in your hay feeder, do you? They tend to filter down into the hay in those situations and you don't find them~if you ever do~until they've been in that hay for quite some time.

Right now I'm placing a small roll of scrap wire on top of my hay bunker so the chickens can't establish a nest there.
 

Bruce

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I finally got to the "leave it be" method when Yuki was on her 5th outside nest of the season a few years ago. At least that one was relatively accessible and by the pond out back rather than right by the road. She kept with that nest after the alpacas arrived (when no other chicken would go out back anymore) until she stopped laying for the year. She went back to the cat box nest in the feed room the following year and stuck with that until the fox got her last May.

No eggs and no hens in the hay feeder at 9 AM. I put a board over each of the feeders. One would ASSUME they won't lay on a flat board. HOPEFULLY they will think the nests in the coop are acceptable as a second choice.
 
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