Concerned about my new chickens

kaseyh

In the Brooder
Apr 24, 2015
10
1
24
New chicken keep her here. Just got my chickens about two months ago. I have a small coop built for four chickens. I let them out during the day in my backyard to roam free. I am concerned that once they start to begin to lay eggs, they may not go back into the coop, to lay the eggs. How do I know how to get them back into the nest to lay their eggs. Or will they just do that naturally
 

nchls school

Crowing
5 Years
Apr 22, 2015
6,878
3,584
376
Tennessee
New chicken keep her here. Just got my chickens about two months ago. I have a small coop built for four chickens. I let them out during the day in my backyard to roam free. I am concerned that once they start to begin to lay eggs, they may not go back into the coop, to lay the eggs. How do I know how to get them back into the nest to lay their eggs. Or will they just do that naturally

Provide nests in the coop. You may have to shut them in until they get the idea to lay eggs in the nest boxes. When chickens are free range there is always the chance that they will lay eggs elsewhere.
 

LeiaLayers5

Songster
May 12, 2015
327
44
126
Suffolk VA
My Coop
My Coop
I am fairly new to this too only having had mine a month, but we worried about this too. From what i have read on this site and from others, if they have spent a good period contained in coop say for a week without going out and know that the coop is where they lay, they should instinctually go back to coop to lay. There are always exceptions but generally they view coop as the safe zone and should want to go there to quietly lay. I am sure someone else will have an even better response to this on this site!
 

BayBay Peepers

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 5, 2013
5,156
1,126
338
Wisconsin
For the most part mine will still lay in the coop. Once in a great, great while I find an egg in a secluded area. You could leave them in a little later in the morning if you don't think they'll lay in the coop, but they should figure it out.
You can also leave some fake eggs in the nest until they start laying.
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
15,031
821
Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
New chicken keep her here. Just got my chickens about two months ago. I have a small coop built for four chickens. I let them out during the day in my backyard to roam free. I am concerned that once they start to begin to lay eggs, they may not go back into the coop, to lay the eggs. How do I know how to get them back into the nest to lay their eggs. Or will they just do that naturally

Some birds will naturally return - others require a bit of training. A lot of it will have to do with the amount of space they have to roam and the amount of other suitable (in their mind) nesting spots available outside of the coop.
The first thing to do is to "bait" the nests you want them to use. Seeing another bird has left eggs in a place indicates to them that that is the place to lay your eggs - it is a safe place endorsed by another hen. Golf balls, wooden eggs, etc all work for this.
If you notice that you are finding eggs outside of the coop (once you start to see signs of being ready to lay do some regular checks of likely nests in the yard) confine them to the coop and run for a few days. Being confined and seeing the bait in the nests should start "homing" them to those boxes as the place to lay. Once they are consistently in the habit of using the boxes you can start letting them out to range and watch to see that they return to lay. If you start seeing a decline in eggs in the boxes, it's time to go on an egg hunt - if rogue nests are found it's time for round 2 of training to commence - meaning repeat the previous process. You can also have luck by confining them for part of the day and allowing them to range in the later afternoon which stacks the deck in your favor that most of them will have already laid for the day.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,068
19,448
857
Southeast Louisiana
New chicken keep her here. Just got my chickens about two months ago. I have a small coop built for four chickens. I let them out during the day in my backyard to roam free. I am concerned that once they start to begin to lay eggs, they may not go back into the coop, to lay the eggs. How do I know how to get them back into the nest to lay their eggs. Or will they just do that naturally



Some birds will naturally return - others require a bit of training.  A lot of it will have to do with the amount of space they have to roam and the amount of other suitable (in their mind) nesting spots available outside of the coop. 
The first thing to do is to "bait" the nests you want them to use.  Seeing another bird has left eggs in a place indicates to them that that is the place to lay your eggs - it is a safe place endorsed by another hen.  Golf balls, wooden eggs, etc all work for this.
If you notice that you are finding eggs outside of the coop (once you start to see signs of being ready to lay do some regular checks of likely nests in the yard) confine them to the coop and run for a few days.  Being confined and seeing the bait in the nests should start "homing" them to those boxes as the place to lay.  Once they are consistently in the habit of using the boxes you can start letting them out to range and watch to see that they return to lay.  If you start seeing a decline in eggs in the boxes, it's time to go on an egg hunt - if rogue nests are found it's time for round 2 of training to commence - meaning repeat the previous process.  You can also have luck by confining them for part of the day and allowing them to range in the later afternoon which stacks the deck in your favor that most of them will have already laid for the day.


X2

They don't come with guarantees, even after they have learned to lay in the nests, but you stack the deck in your favor by having the nests open when they start to lay and baiting the nests with fake eggs. If they are roosting in the coop they tend to lay in the nests in there.

When they first start to lay it is not all that unusual for a pullet to drop an egg wherever she happens to be, either on the roosts or somewhere in the coop, run, or out ranging. Most get it right to start with but some don’t. That’s not a problem but keep those eggs cleaned up. Don’t leave them laying around. When they learn to control the laying process they will look for a safe place to lay eggs. If they return to the same spot to lay eggs every day, that is their nest. Baiting the nest does help but the reason you need to remove any eggs just dropped is that they may take that as bait and make their nest there.

It’s important to have the nests open when they start. Where they lay that first controlled egg is where they return to lay the next egg.
 

kaseyh

In the Brooder
Apr 24, 2015
10
1
24
I know it is just me, but I feel so guilty, leaving them in the coop all day long. I feel bad if I don't let them out. I am sure this is something that I will just have to get over. Thank you for all of your help and time. I will go and purchase a few wooden eggs, hopefully that will help them to know to lay in the nest. They seem to like their coop though. They go back in to roost every night. I never have to put them up for the night. They seem to be great happy little chickens at this point. I think they are about four months old. No Cone nor waddle development yet. So I may still have a bit of time still before I see any eggs. Thank you again
 

BayBay Peepers

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 5, 2013
5,156
1,126
338
Wisconsin
I know exactly how you feel about letting them out. I get "the look" every day. Like I said before, I let mine out all day and don't really have a problem with rogue layers. It could all work out the way you want. Good luck :)
 

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