Can you "train" where to lay?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bealove, May 10, 2011.

  1. bealove

    bealove New Egg

    May 10, 2011
    I have a small flock of 5 layers.
    Although they have a lovely coop, with laying boxes, water and food; the girls prefer to be "free".
    They do not come in at night, and it is near impossible to round them up every night.
    I have hunted and hunted to see if i can find where they are laying, and i know they are, because i have found a few eggs sporadically.
    What do I do to get these ladies in line?
    Should I round them all up and keep them in the coop for a week, or two, or a month?
    It would be so sad for them, considering how much they love to free-range the property.
    However, as lovely as they are as "yard-art", we got them for eggs, and i would love something in exchange for their cost in food.
    Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    thank you --bea
  2. hennyannie

    hennyannie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2011
    North Carolina
    Thats most likely the only way to get them to start using the coop for laying. If they get in the habit of sleeping and laying in there maybe they will continue. You may be able to turn them out after they have layed the eggs for free time during the day.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I would lock them in the coop for at least a week, and you may have to repeat that or make the time longer. They are creatures of habit. They currently have the habits of sleeping outside and laying outside.

    Once they accept the coop as home, they should go in on their own at night. The only time I have had problems with this was with immature birds that were being picked on while on the roost. The found a safer place to roost, and this was after they had been roosting in the coop for a while.

    As far as laying, occasionally I have one that decides to lay outside the coop and run. I usually have success training them to lay in the coop by keeping them all locked in the coop and run for several days. Most relearn fairly quickly, especially if you can take the other outside eggs away. I did have one hen that it took three different times of a week long each before she got the message.

    As far as being mean to your hens, consider a dog. If you do not properly train a dog you cannot take it out in company. You have to keep it locked up for its safety and your peace of mind. If you properly train a dog, and this requires discipline on your part to be consistent as well as appropriately disciplining the dog and reinforcing good behavior, you and that dog can enjoy each other's company in many different circumstances. Which dog owner do you really consider to be the cruel one?

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