Egg laying and free ranging

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ostroh, Aug 31, 2014.

  1. ostroh

    ostroh In the Brooder

    May 8, 2014
    we got our first egg two days ago (nothing yesterday... is that weird?) from our BR. We usually let them free range when we are home, but now i'm afraid they'll lay somewhere in the yard??? Or will they know to go back to their nesting box?
    They are 21 weeks (the other is a RR and NADA from her).
    Any suggestions? the first egg was layed in the nesting box, RIGHT NEXT to the fake egg, and it looked EXACTLY the same! super clean, weird right? so, i thought it was fake and broke it when i put it back in the nesting box... ugh....
    so, will they go back to their nesting boxes to lay? and i'm starting to think we need a 3rd chicken for our back yard flock...
  2. Ol Grey Mare

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

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    Nothing weird at all here in regards to the day with no egg - when a bird starts to lay it is quite common for them to lay, skip, lay etc as their systems get the hang of production and they fall into their "normal" laying pattern -- also, even once a bird is actively laying regularly you will have days when one hen or the other does not produce. Depending on breed you will see anywhere from 4-6 eggs a week on average.
    Your birds may lay in the yard or they may go back to the nests - there is really no way to predict. What you can do is keep an eye on things, check the yard regularly and if you start to see egg scattering going on you can do some "coop training" or adjust your routine to stack the deck in favor of eggs in the boxes. You can confine them for a week or so so they are 'homed' to the nests or you can just keep them confined during the time of day that they tend to lay and let them out after they have laid, etc. All that being said, if you don't have a huge area that is filled with places you won't easily find the eggs, there really isn't anything *wrong* with a daily EE hunt.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2014
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Grey Mare is correct. Personally, I've always free ranged and never had any issues with them laying other than in the coop except on one occasion when the door closed on them and that day, they all deposited their eggs in a straw bale under the coop. Mine will run back from far out on the property to get to a nest to lay.
  4. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Crowing

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Don't mind my weighing in. I once had a Marans hen who came into the garage and laid her egg on the mat in front of the kitchen door. Only did it a few times but I think she liked the privacy.

    Had one laid her in the crook of a tree for a bit and in my raised bed of corn.

    I keep some wooden eggs in the nest boxes and situate the boxes so they're dark and private. I've never cared for the communal nest boxes. Those photos of the cute little basket with eggs is imo staged. As are those cute little neat and clean coops.

    I do free range but keep runs so I can keep them in if need be. I open run door and let them "free range" when weather allows and I'm home to monitor things. Seems to me even a small run so they can get some fresh air is a good thing. My birds are out most everyday if they choose.


  5. ShockValue

    ShockValue Songster

    Jan 10, 2010
    West Sound, Washington
    Mine are just starting to lay and are free range from sunup to sundown. One of the girls didn't "get it" that the nest box was the place to lay. She was consistent in her placement (bare patch of dirt under our deck) but in the wrong place.

    We locked them in the coop for 3 days and they all laid in the nest boxes.

    Today is their first day out of lockup, so we'll see if it did any good :)

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