Does free ranging slow egg laying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lucky7chickens, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. lucky7chickens

    lucky7chickens New Egg

    Apr 2, 2011
    We just started letting our chickens free range and they seemed to have slowed down laying. It's not because we can't find the eggs either. We have searched everywhere and know where their free ranging nests are located. Anyone have that problem? Thanks.
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Mine have always free ranged and I've had good production. Never underestimate the ability of a hen to hide her nest! If you've had a serious drop in production, look harder or consider you might be offering up a buffet for some critter. Or your dog [​IMG]
  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I found a nice nest one day and got lazy about taking the eggs (since I knew some would be old, I just sorta didn't think I wanted them, and forgot - whoops!) and two days later, ALL eggs were gone. Something decided they were tasty.

    So it's quite likely there are eggs laid and eggs eaten you don't know about.
  4. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    I free-range/pasture my girls and boys 24/7, have been since I first had chickens, and never had production issues because of it.

    It may be the weather, a predator, molting, stress, or that they're laying their eggs somewhere else. Trust me, they can be pretty clever.
  5. MakNugget

    MakNugget Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2010
    Portland, OR
    I've been allowing supervised free ranging during the afternoon and haven't had issues with production. On weekends they get more playtime during the day, and they have all managed to make it back to the coop by themselves to lay.

    I'm assuming you're in the northern hemisphere and in relatively decent climate?
  6. tuesdays chicks

    tuesdays chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2010
    stuart florida
    [​IMG] free ranging makes for happy birds, happy birds lay more not less unless of course something is harassing them during the free range, look harder for the missing eggs.
  7. Sjisty

    Sjisty Scribe of Brahmalot

    May 18, 2009
    Welcome to BYC! I have been free-ranging my chickens for 3 years without any reduction in egg production. Occasionally they will decide to lay eggs elsewhere and we have to go on a hunt. We have had snakes take some of our eggs, and we had a dog that would sneak into the coops and snatch the eggs. He learned to listen for the egg song. He gained about 20 pounds and had a beautiful shiny coat before we figured it out!
  8. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

    Mar 16, 2009
    onchiota NY
    Quote:[​IMG] HI Janice [​IMG]

    I free range mine when warm and when production seems low I do a search and always find nests in the weirdest places-10 eggs 15 eggs 21 last year in 1 spot-I just cook all those and feed back to the girls since I dont know how old they were:( Keep checking the oddest places and you just might find that nest if they are laying outside!
  9. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Some days mine stay in their yard, some they are turned loose. Egg production does not change. Only twice in several years did I find a hidden nest, because a hen was gathering a clutch to sit on them. Even when they are free to wander, they usually do this in the coop.

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