I have ten girls that are 7 months old .It seems like only 1 is laying in the nest . What sort of areas should I look to see if they are laying in the yard ?
free range might be hiding eggs ?
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Mine free range and they are NOTORIOUS for hiding eggs!! They're fav spot is in the brush on theedge of the woods...it's pathetic--every time I go to collect eggs out of the barn, I have to walk along the brush to collect them! Sad part is, that's where I collect the most some days! lol Little turds....
- Chicks Rule!
My 2 hamburgs were the sneakiest at hiding their eggs. They got into our neighbor's run-down well house, and I didn't find that nest until there were probably 30 eggs in there. Darn girls, it was middle of summer, and that was 2.5 dozen eggs wasted!
Look everywhere that is a small hiding place - under low-hanging trees, shrubs, in open buildings, hollows under weeds... You have to be as creative looking as they are hiding!
- Hilltop Farm
I'm lucky my girls lay in their nest boxes. I do have a golf ball in each nest.
When mine started laying I didn't know they were even laying til my sons friend asked us 1 day why we had a flower pot full of eggs on our front porch, lol. I wish I could have let them keep laying there, it was so easy to check for eggs. Then the neighbors dog got 1 of my hens, so they don't get to free range unless we are outside now.
My hens like to lay next to structures such as sheds, house a pen with solid sides etc. Most popular spot is the back porch, I simply cannot keep them OFF and several hens are most determined to lay there, no matter what.
One thing you can do is put nest boxes around to attract them into laying more easily accessible spots. Put them off ground level also, many hens like to lay high if possible.
You could even try making a "egg hutch" with a ladder going up to it. I know someone who made one and many of his hens go into it to lay their eggs. Nice way of making nests that are easy to access (he put doors on the outside fo the nest chambers- just open a door to check on a nest). He also made it for his height- no stooping or stretching to check nests, very nice!
One of the most popular nest sites was an old gas grill left against a fence that had the window front taken off. I had to collect eggs from that daily or else they would get broken from excess numbers of eggs..
- Eggstactic for Pretty Eggs
Our previous chickens fooled us for a while. We had no idea they were laying yet until one of our chickens was missing. We went looking for her and found her way inside our dog's doghouse (large igloo type) sitting on a whole pile of eggs. After checking around, we found another stash in the small area between our shed & block wall. After that, we started keeping them penned up until after lunch - by then they were done laying. They still had all afternoon to free range.