Thursday, August 9, 2007

yellow legs and roosting issues

The Left Coast Mom pointed out tonight that our girls' legs are getting quite yellow. From past readings (although I can't find these readings at the moment), yellow legs can indicate they're getting close to laying their first eggs. Could it be our first eggs are coming sooner than Labor Day? It still feels rather early, but you never know.

The concern this brings to mind most forcefully is that I now have to deal with their roosting habit sooner than later. Both girls just love to bed down in the nesting box of our Eglu instead of on the perching bars.

I've tried placing a soccer ball in the nesting box to crowd them out (they didn't seem to care that there was a tennis ball in there), to no avail. They simply wedge themselves in the remaining space around the soccer ball, as if the perching bars are made of molten lava instead of pine.

I feel like this is partly due to my not teaching them to perch while they were still indoors in the cage. Ugh.

Any suggestions from those who've dealt with this behavior before would be greatly appreciated: how do I get the girls to perch on the bars instead of squat in the box?


Laura said...

My first chicks finally figured it out around 12 weeks of age, but they had an older hen in with them so may have learned by watching her.

Here's an idea, maybe not the cleanest method, but it might work. Remove the bedding materials from the roost box and pull the nest box out if you can or block it off if you can't. Put some plain cardboard on the bottom to collect the droppings. Not having anywhere to "nest" may encourage them to roost.

You might also want to try going out at night in the dark and putting them on the roost bar. Be sure it's completely black in the coop, that way they likely won't jump back down.

Linda said...

Sorry to hear about your roosting issues. Hope there's a way to fix it before they start to lay!

I'm expecting my pullets next week and am quite excited. They ship from Iowa on Aug. 15, and since I'm in a bordering state I'm hoping that means they get here on Aug. 16.

The Eglu and run are assembled and in place just waiting...

Unknown said...

Laura: thanks for the tips... will give a try to blog the roost box more fully first, then venture out in the dead of night to manually move them if the blocking them fails.

Linda: So happy you're getting your pullets! this means we've got some contraband eggs coming, right? or did the zoning laws magically change where you're at? What color's your Eglu?


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