Questions about eggs from young hens

sizes“I have 13 comets.
Love them for the ease of required care to production. I am
wondering if these birds would rather lay eggs on the ground
then roost in nesting boxes to lay them? I can’t seem to get
them to roost in the boxes but find the eggs on the floor
every a.m. Also, the egg sizes seem small, they are young and
just starting to lay. Do these birds need any special feed for
larger size egg production?”

— Steve A.

Steve’s questions are common among owners of pullets, no matter
what the breed, so I thought I’d post my answer here.  The
size issue is the easiest — young hens naturally lay small
eggs at first, which gradually grow to full size over the next
month or so.  These first eggs are also more likely to be
irregularly shaped or double-yolked compared to eggs from more
mature hens.

Your period of getting irregular pullet eggs won’t last that
long.  We’re currently swimming in pullet eggs, but the
first hens who began to lay about six weeks ago are now starting
to churn out larger eggs.  So you shouldn’t worry —
there’s no need to do anything except wait for those big eggs to
appear.  (However, I should add that when pullets start
laying, you should
change them over to layer feed so they consume enough calcium to
keep those egg shells strong.)

Golf ball nest
eggGetting hens to lay in
their nest boxes is something we
struggle with occasionally as well
since we’ve yet to
build really good egg accommodations.  One solution is to add
a golf ball or two to the place where you want your hens to
, but I’ve also had good luck just hunting down any
early eggs first thing in the morning and putting them in the
preferred nest site.  Chickens are flock creatures even
when it comes to laying, so if it looks like a lot of other hens
are laying in the nest boxes, your trouble makers will follow
suit.  After a week or two, most well-behaved hens toe the
line and start laying just where you want them to.

Eggs are 74% water, so you may see an
increase in thirst from your new pullets.  Be sure to
provide plenty of clean

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