We are very new to backyard chickens (the website and owning). We have, what we were told, are two amber sex linked hens that are four months old, born in March. I think that is the breed? We did get them as chicks so the age we are sure of. They are full amber colored with a few white feathers. One of them is laying eggs but will not stay on them. I read that sometimes they lay several eggs before they stay on them, is this true? Currently there are 5 in the nest and she's still not sitting on them. Is it normal for them to start laying so young?
I was reading on this site that several people have free range chickens on over several acres. Our chickens (now 11) have been free range since they were old enough but recently we had two fox/coyote attacks and have lost six of our babies. Last week a coyote ate two of them right in front of my 6 year old who is now traumatized. They come right up to the house! Therefore, we've had to keep the chickens caged now and don't want to. We've trained them to come when we call and we love watching them roam the yard (3 acres) from the house. Not too mention how adorable it is when they beg for food... Does anyone have any recommendations on how to prevent this from happening so we can keep our chickens free range? They do an excellent job of keeping the ticks at bay and since we live in MA that was one of the main reasons why we got chickens; aside from fresh eggs.
I appreciate any suggestions, advice, or help...