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Nest Training

Confine the pullets to the slats (where the water and feeder lines are) at housing and allow the pullets access to the nests during the day when they arrive. Walk the birds several times daily, particularly in the morning, to ensure the birds are finding feed and water. To reduce stress and ensure a trouble-free transfer, water-soluble vitamins, probiotics, and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) can be added to the drinking water 3 days before and 3 days after the transfer.

Open a few of the nest box curtains to encourage nest exploration in young laying flocks. Nest lights can be used to train birds to explore the nests and should be turned on for 2 hours per day, starting 1 hour before the house lights are turned on and remain on for 1 hour after the house lights have been turned on. This will help prevent overcrowding and smothering inside the nests. False walls that are 1-2 m (3-6 ft) in length every 12 m (39 ft) along the line of and perpendicular to the nest boxes will reduce nest overcrowding.

Train the pullets to use the nests by frequent walks through the house in the mornings for the first 8 weeks after the birds are placed in the laying house. Use of electric deterrent wires on the slats around the house perimeter will help discourage egg laying in corners or near the walls. Electric deterrent wires must be turned on as soon as the birds are housed. Place the electric deterrent wires 5 cm (2 in) away from the wall or the house and about 10 cm (4 in) above the floor. Avoid using an electric wire over water and feed lines as this practice increases nervousness among the birds. Instead, the use of solid perches above water and feed lines is preferred.

It is important not to have shadows in the lay house, as dark areas outside the nest will encourage floor eggs. Therefore, position lights to eliminate shadows on the litter below the slat area. The lights should be positioned to provide the brightest light intensity over the litter or resting areas and the lowest light intensity at the front of the nest boxes.

In the case of breeders, the breeding pens should be walked frequently (e.g., every 2 hours) in the afternoon while mating is occurring. This will prevent males from corralling hens when the birds come into production.

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