I've just got two new chickens, I'm a first-timer. I have a removable partition between the nest box and the chicken house (where they sleep I mean) - should I be putting this in at night and taking it out by day? I leave it in at night because it's an extra layer of wall between them and the cold / foxes / I don't know what. But I make an almighty racket in the morning taking it out when I open their door. Not sure what its purpose is.
Second query is how do the chickens know to lay their eggs in the nest box? They have not started laying yet - they are 18 weeks old - thanks a lot.
Hi - I don't know about the partition, but the hens will lay eggs wherever they prefer (which might not be in the nest box). My hens all lay their eggs on the floor of the house, which doesn't cause any problems. I have heard that you can get fake eggs to put in the nest box to encourage them but I don't know if this will work!
You can buy china eggs which you need to dirty up a bit (bit of poo ) and put in where you want them to lay. if they are first time layers then they should respond to this. don't think you need to be taking things in and out of the coop personally. some chickens are a bit sensitive to noise and anything can put them off laying if they have a mind not to. not sure what you mean by an external nest box as having trouble visualising your set up.
Sorry, haven't explained very well. It's a bit like this http://www.onlinehypermarket.co.uk/shops/kmsdirect/products.php?product=NEW-LARGE-CHICKEN-COOP-HEN-HOUSE-POULTRY-NEST-BOX-COOPS with the nest box attached to the side of the house, as in that link. But there's a removable panel between the nest box and the main house.
Yes I agree with MissBeehiving. If the chickens sleep in the nest boxes they"ll poo in them and subsequently you"ll get pooey eggs. If you don"t want to use the guard you can do as I do (as I prefer my eggs not too pooey) and just quickly change the straw, or whatever it is you choose to use in the nest boxes, in the morning when you let them out into the run/garden.