Easter egg hunt!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by brokk, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. brokk

    brokk Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 3, 2011
    My wife finds me in the yard, looking under bushes and around the base of trees and says "Huh, I guess I know how the easter egg hunt tradition started..."


    I got my first chicks (16) in April 2011. I had a great year and learned a lot. The girls produced like crazy from the fall into the winter. Nearly a dozen a day at one point.

    I got new chicks in the Spring of 2012, planning to replace half of my flock. I hear they produce a little less in the second year and a lot less from the 3rd year onward.

    I kept the old chickens and put them in a new coop with 4 guinea fowl I got this year. So far they get along great. That left me with 14 chickens (mix of pullets and 18 month old hens) in the old coop with an enclosed large pen.

    Not only is my egg production way down since the middle of Summer (before moving the flocks around), the ones I let free range are laying anywhere but the nest boxes!

    I first figured this out when I found two nests near each other, under some wild rose bushes. One nest only had 1/2 dozen eggs, but the other had 2 dozen! Clearly this had been going on for a while. Only Cuckoo Maran eggs (of which I wasn't getting many from the nest boxes, go figure...)

    So I take what I think are the offending Marans and move them to the old coop with an enclosed pen. No more free ranging for them. I watch those nesting places outside, but never does a new egg appear.

    I found another nest a few weeks later, but it had some very old eggs in it, along with one new one.

    Today I found one egg on the ground under some stairs.

    Of the 6 hens I let free range, I'm getting roughly 1 egg a day. They *must* be laying elsewhere, but with fall having arrived, my chances of finding their nests are pretty unlikely.

    So how do people with free ranging chickens manage it?

    Leaving them locked up would be very difficult, because of the guineas. They are skittish and hard to get in and out already.

    Any advices?

  2. 4 Love of Baby Chickens

    4 Love of Baby Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sounds like me. I'd like to see if my hens are laying or are being lazy. They sure are squatting and their combs and wattles sure are red!

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