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Egg laying drops when birds allowed to free range

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lfreem2, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. lfreem2

    lfreem2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 27, 2010
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    I've had my Speckled Sussex flock about a year now, and in the last 2 months I've allowed them to free range the property most days. What I've noticed is that if I leave them in the coop and their 35 foot long run for the day, they lay far many more eggs than when I let them roam around the property.

    I was thinking maybe they were laying eggs around the garden, but I've looked around and do not see that. They will return to the coop to lay when they have to. I just notice less egg production when they are joyfully running around freely.

    Anyone else notice this?
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  2. RBOutdoors

    RBOutdoors Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My bet is you still haven't found their hidden nest.

    Keep looking it is there.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    My free-ranging birds generally produce more eggs than their confined counter parts is all else is equal and foraging provides at least some additional eats. As indicated by RBOutdoors, intensify search for nest. Once you find one nest, you will develop a search image on where to look for balance of nest. Start around bushes and clumps of grass that are slightly elevated relative to immediate surroundings.
     
  4. lfreem2

    lfreem2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Keep looking? It's half an acre! I've looked in all the places, but I don't see any eggs. But there are leaves everywhere.............
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  5. RBOutdoors

    RBOutdoors Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know what you mean. My egg production suddenly dropped off so I went hunting and found[​IMG]

    I am sure there are more out there but mine roam over four acres. When you let them out watch them in the morning.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Pretend like it is an Easter Egg Hunt. Will sharpen your hunter-gatherer skills.
     
  7. bldmtnrider

    bldmtnrider Out Of The Brooder

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    Mine do the same thing, but at 1/3 acre it is pretty easy to determine that there is not a hidden nest. The work around I have found is let them out for a few hours in the morning and then put them back in the coop. Seems to be a mad run for egg box as soon as the door closes on them. An hour later, I have all my eggs and let them back out for the remainder of the day.
     
  8. lfreem2

    lfreem2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Most fascinating! I went around searching today, but found nothing! It has to be somewhere, but gosh darn it is too much space to cover! And fall leaves are still everywhere. All I know is that when I have them penned up, I get more eggs! These birds are way smarter than I am for sure!
     
  9. lfreem2

    lfreem2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 27, 2010
    Waxhaw, NC
    I did this today. I didn't let them out until 3PM, and I noticed the same thing. They were all running for the nest boxes!
     

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