First post, need some help with my free rangers!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jonleibowitz, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. jonleibowitz

    jonleibowitz New Egg

    Sep 23, 2009
    Hey All, I have been coming to this forum for a few months to learn about raising chickens, but this is my first post.

    I have 3 hens (barred rock, buff orpington, RI Red) and they are free range with a home-built coop to return to at night.

    My problem is hens are very smart and stubborn. One of them (buff) lays her eggs in the coop everyday and does a little wandering. The other two however go somewhere else, which I have no idea where, (i have spent a long time looking) and I know they are laying their eggs there. They return every night, but the point of having chickens is for the eggs, not for the company [​IMG] I had them laying in the coop for a few days after locking them up, but then after getting full range they started laying and hiding somewhere else pretty much instantly.

    Any tips on how to make them lay in the coop? I don't want to restrict their range, but I also want my eggs! Can I try only letting them out for a few hours in the afternoon? Should I not let them out at all for a week or something? I hear the golfball trick doesn't really work, plus there are already eggs there from the buff that does lay in the coop.

  2. BluegrassSeramas

    BluegrassSeramas Serama Savvy

    Aug 25, 2008
    Central Kentucky
    Can you keep them in a little extra in the mornings? Are there multiple nests so that they can lay while the Orp is laying?

    I would try keeping them in for a while and making sure there is plenty of room...
    Maybe they will get the hint!
  3. BluegrassSeramas

    BluegrassSeramas Serama Savvy

    Aug 25, 2008
    Central Kentucky
    Congrats on your first post!!!
  4. katrinag

    katrinag Chillin' With My Peeps

    When this happens to me, I lock them up for a week to remind that their eggs belong in the coop in the nesting boxes. Give that a try along with some golf balls in the nesting box.
  5. Uppity Peon

    Uppity Peon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Do you colse them in at night and let them out in the morning? If you have the time, stay out in the morning and follow them wherever they go.
  6. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    Glad you came out and joined us!!!! [​IMG]

    Well, keeping them penned until they've paid their rent is the only sure-fire way. [​IMG] Unless you follow them around and find those hidden nests and go on a daily Easter Egg hunt hereafter. [​IMG] You could make them a small run, so they're not stuck in the coop and just let them free-range in the late afternoons.
  7. jacyjones

    jacyjones Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2008
    Aberystwyth, Wales
    Quote:I agree - this is what I do.
  8. Julie_A

    Julie_A Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Brewton, Ala.
    I free range, too, but in a really large pen. My grandpa, on the other hand. Turned his chickens out daily. He locked them up at night in the house. Then turned them out into the chicken yard in the morning. Nests were on the back of the hen house. They would lay, scratch around, dirt baths, etc. He would let them out to free range everyday at 3:30 p.m. and collect the eggs. Back to the house they'd go at night...

    Worked for him. Not to say that the random game hen didn't sneak off to go broody in the woods every once in a while.


    I do the golf ball thing, too. Worked like a charm. My hens were just dropping eggs on the ground whenever they felt like it.
  9. jonleibowitz

    jonleibowitz New Egg

    Sep 23, 2009
    Alright!! Thanks for the all very speedy helpful replies.

    I'm going to take a multi-prongged approach.

    Ill keep them in until later in the day, I'll throw some golf balls down in the other boxes, and maybe I'll make some sort of "outdoor fenced-in run" so they have can have access to worms and bugs before noonish when I let them out. (where they will bolt to their favorite dirt bath holes across the yard they have formed [​IMG] ) But I'm going to start with locking them up for a few days to give them the idea.


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