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How to teach free rangers to lay in the nesting box? - Page 2

post #11 of 12

This is a perfect response for me. My hens sleep in a warm safe room every night but free-range all day.  I was dreading having to lock them up once my coop is fully built and hoping they would learn "their jobs" and I'd let them out again.  They spend time near their coop all day but love the freedom of moving around to find snacks all day. 

post #12 of 12

My older hens teach the younger where to lay.  If you have no older hens baiting the nests is pretty effective...I use wooden eggs because they are brown like my flock's eggs and they more closely resemble an egg.  And they are cheaper than golf balls.  :D 

 

If you think one or two may be laying out in the bush, just confine them for a week to the coop until they get the idea.  I've free ranged for many a long year and I get most of my eggs in this manner...it's very rare that I have a consistent bush layer.  When I had a hay shed next to the coop and they established a nest high enough that the dogs couldn't raid it, I let them keep that outside nest and just collected eggs from there.  I'd leave one behind each day so they wouldn't move their nest to a safer place...if they are laying out and you collect from those, they have more freedom to just move their nesting spot to where it's not getting raided each day and then you may have a problem.

 

On occasion that training to the nests has to be repeated, especially with a new group of layers coming into lay, but mostly they train to the nests well because the inside nesting sites seem safer to them than outside nests.  Occasionally I'll get a bird that doesn't think so and will even hold her eggs while confined and then go back to laying again out in the bush when they are set free again....I usually kill those hens.  If she's no good to me for eggs, then her meat will do just as well.   

 
A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.  Proverbs 12:10
 
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A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.  Proverbs 12:10
 
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