Easter Eggs - Every Day?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Chiks N Stiks, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. Chiks N Stiks

    Chiks N Stiks In the Brooder

    Feb 3, 2015
    Out In The Sticks
    No, not the cute little blue and green eggs... My chickens hide their eggs from me.

    I live out in the country, way out in the country. My chickens are very free range. Aside from penning them up, what can I do? They laud awhile in their little coop, but when I started taking their eggs, they began moving their laying spot. Each time I find it, they move it. I'm not getting any yummy eggies! I'll find a nest with two dozen eggs in it, but YUK they've been there a month or longer by the time find it. It's like an Easter egg hunt every day at my place. Thank you!
  2. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Songster

    Dec 15, 2014
    Pen them up for a couple of weeks to get them back into the habit of using the nest boxes in the coop. Then when you allow them to range again, they'll be more likely to come back and lay in the coop.

    If you don't want to pen them, what if you planned for them to want to set up house somewhere else and placed a couple of nest boxes around the property in the areas that they usually range/lay in? As long as you know they're going to move their nests around on you anyway, give them a couple of attractive options. If a couple of them like the boxes enough to use them maybe the rest will join in. Checking a few remote nesting boxes each day sure beats rummaging through the brush looking for hidden nests. If you're handy just throw together some little covered wooden boxes and put hay or straw in them. If you're not handy then small dog houses might work well, or plastic barrels laid on their side and anchored down.
  3. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. .....

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    This is fairly common - and usually fairly easy to correct in a couple of ways. Does your coop have an attached run in which you can confined them close to the coop or not? If so, you can cut out free range time for a week or so to get them well "homed" to the nest boxes - then give them a shot at being out and about and see if your production stays the same with what ends up in the boxes. Another option, also using confinement, is to confine them until late afternoon and offer free range time until bedtime. This should have them near the boxes during peak laying hours and cut down on the number of birds still left to lay when free range time comes.
  4. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Crowing

    Apr 11, 2011
    So, pretty much, you'll need to confine them to retrain them. Or, continue to allow their free range time and keep going on Easter egg hunts everyday. You could try placing golf balls or ceramic eggs in the nests, but if they're already in the habit of not using them, I don't think it'll make a difference.
  5. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Yes, if you are keen on establishing good laying habits, you need to resort to some discipline. Chickens and children are a lot alike in that it does them a world of good to have boundaries. It also makes both of these species feel more secure to have them.

    Do as the previous BYCers have recommended, depending on your level of commitment to this retraining. Giving them free reign is obviously not working for you, so you will need to do something if you want to see a change.

    Kind of guessing here, but I bet you would be more pleased with the results by limiting free range time to post laying hours. You would still need to confine them in order to retrain them to use the coop laying boxes, but afterward, limiting free range to late afternoon works best for many of us.
  6. Chiks N Stiks

    Chiks N Stiks In the Brooder

    Feb 3, 2015
    Out In The Sticks
    Thank you! I did build a run just for this purpose. I can confine them for a couple of weeks and then when I do begin free ranging again, do it when I get home from work. These are all very doable solutions for me. Building boxes around the property is not as good. I rent. There is an old falling down barn within easy walking distance. It's not safe to go poking around that thing for egg nests. Snakes. Wasp nests. And, it is probably not structurally safe. But, I can see how would be utter heaven to a hen for little place to lay some eggs. I wish the owner would either fix it or bulldoze it.

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