Since the hens are starting to lay more often, I needed to fix a nest box that they might recognize as such and hopefully use. I'd heard that kitty litter boxes, milk crates and plastic tubs worked, but found a dishpan at WalMart of a size I thought would be suitable, so I forked out the whopping $1.88 to give it a go.
As soon as I put it out there the chickens all gathered round to see the new toy. I added shavings but had no way to secure it right then, so it wasn't long before it was tipped over.
I rigged a bungie cord around it and filled it back up and within seconds Big Bertha was in there checking it out. She had been clucking loudly all day so I knew she'd be laying.
Here she is, fixing herself a comfy seat.
I put a plastic egg in the pan to see if it would give them more of a clue, and each of the rest of the girls stuck their head in to check out the new contraption and eyeball the bright yellow egg. When they did, Big Bertha was quick to let them know that she had first dibs.
Check out the gawkers
Big Bertha was in and out a few more times, so I left them be for a few minutes. Less than a half hour later I poked my head in to find a pretty little egg right beside the yellow plastic one, still warm. Someone had this nest thing figured out for sure. The egg was tiny like the one yesterday, so I'm not sure what's going on. I'm pretty sure it was Bertha's egg, but hers have always been huge, even her first.
Look how tiny the two on the right are.
Late this morning I checked the chickens again and was surprised to see yet another egg in the nest box, but this one much larger, on par with all previous eggs other than the last two. If I'm counting right, this makes an egg three days in a row, on seven of the last nine days.
I think the girls are getting the hang of this!