Forever Green

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jul 17, 2009
82
0
39
I free range my flock of 12 hens (1 Roo). My newbies, i have 6 of them (just started laying in Aug) are not laying in the coop nest boxes. They are finding hiding places and building their own nests. Today, behind our firewood pile (which is huge) i found a nest with 6 brown eggs and my jersey giant hanging out by them (she is 6 months old). I'm only getting 3-4 eggs/day from my 12 hens, so I'm certain others are nesting elsewhere. I never had this issue with my first set of birds, just these 6 new ones. I live on 40 acres and while they free range only by our house compound and do not drift into acreage. I have only found one nest and I've been looking for weeks because I know these hens should be laying by now.

How do you stop them from nesting anywhere? I thought maybe i keep them in their coop in the morning and mid day let them out, but they love running the property and come winter they will be cooped up for months.

Any advice on how i get my newbies to go to their coop nest boxes? I thought about putting nesting boxes on the property so at least I'd know where they were laying.
 

JHillgrove

In the Brooder
8 Years
Aug 2, 2011
99
1
39
Snohomish, WA
My pullets are doing the same thing. Its annoying. But I have a hen who wont let them come in at night to roost, I think she chased them out of the nests too. But now they have already decided where to lay, they wont change to the proper place. I just always check that spot where I know they lay.
 

gritsar

Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
12 Years
Nov 9, 2007
28,906
253
421
SW Arkansas
The only way I know to be sure they are laying in the nestboxes is to lock em in the coop for awhile. Sure, they'll hate it and there will be lots of complaining, but it's necessary. I won't put up with egg hunts. I have neither the time nor the inclination to go hunting over 80 acres for eggs.

Tough love works almost every time.
 

ChickInDelight

Never an Empty Nest
8 Years
Apr 27, 2011
1,145
31
158
Browntown, VA
I believe my father-in-law kept chickens all the 80+ years of his life. He seems to know all the tricks.

But one sneaky hen managed to hatch a nest of chicks in his garage while he was completely unaware. That girl seriously wanted some babies!
 

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