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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My girls are 6 and 7 mos old. The Black Sexlink and Black Astrothrope are 7 mos and the isa Brown is 6 mos.

Cleo (7mos) laid her first and only egg last week; since then nothing. Is this normal?

Also, I let them free range as there run is nothing but mud but they like to go in my flower bed and eat my plants. How do I stop this?
 

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Pretty normal in my experience for brand new layers to lay one or two and then not lay again for a week or so and then maybe rinse and repeat before laying regularly becomes normal. Best you can do for your flower beds is to fence them to keep the chickens out, IMO.
 

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Yes, it's pretty normal for new layers to be a bit sporadic. If you're free ranging them, though, you might want to make sure they're not making a nest somewhere in your yard. You do have to nest box train them, which means locking them in their run for a week or two to make sure they get in the habit of laying in the nest boxes and not in a bush. You can put fake eggs in the nest boxes, too, to help them learn.

Flower beds are a constant target of my chickens. They don't necessarily eat the plants, but they like to kick my mulch out and dust bathe. Plants they do try to eat I put a chicken wire cone around. When the plant is bigger and older, they seem to leave it alone, and then I remove the cone. They only seem to eat young, tender plants. Places they like to dust bathe I lay chicken wire on the ground, then push mulch over it. I also strategically place rocks or garden statues in prime dust bathing areas. They also tend to leave areas covered in tall plants alone, so I use this as an excuse to buy more plants.

Granted, I have a lot of space so I make my gardens less appealing to them and other areas I don't care if they mess up far more appealing. I plant a lot of fragrant, woody perennial plants that are not tasty and get huge. Lots of chicken wire under mulch in bare spots. Lots of decorative rocks. I make them dust baths in other areas, groom grazing areas for them. They still get after my gardens sometimes, but I just walk around and rake all the mulch back in, no biggie. They do like to eat the young tender weeds, though, so they are good for something.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I put chicken wire around my host as today. The last egg was laid in the coop (I do have 3 ceramic eggs there) and I could have sworn she was laying another egg today but do not see it. Hoping my neighbor gets the extension done soon. Thx to all of you for your help.

How will I know if she may be egg bound?
 

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Sometimes new layers lay "rubber eggs", and those often break when they hit the ground or the hen steps on them, so the hen eats them. With my last group of new layers I watched one lay a rubber egg in the nest box, turn around, step on the egg and break it, and then eat it in 1.5 seconds. Not a trace of it left aside from a damp spot in the shavings. I also have a hen who laid nothing but rubbery eggs for a week or two after she started laying, but eventually started putting real shells on them. I guess I don't expect much in the way of consistency with new layers for a month or so!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sometimes new layers lay "rubber eggs", and those often break when they hit the ground or the hen steps on them, so the hen eats them. With my last group of new layers I watched one lay a rubber egg in the nest box, turn around, step on the egg and break it, and then eat it in 1.5 seconds. Not a trace of it left aside from a damp spot in the shavings. I also have a hen who laid nothing but rubbery eggs for a week or two after she started laying, but eventually started putting real shells on them. I guess I don't expect much in the way of consistency with new layers for a month or so!
Thank you. I guess I am just a nervous new owner who wants to make sure that my ladies are healthy and happy. I have read several articles and feed them what I feel is healthy mixture of main food.
 

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I think we all were. The first time one of my girls was off just before her first egg I thought she was in trouble but I had no idea why.

Once she laid that first egg and was totally normal I figured out what was going on. I saw it a few more times before I got out of them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks so much. I can tell when she is gonna lay as she leaves the others and stays around her coop. On the bright side, she did it in her nesting box and not elsewhere 👏
 
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