Free Range but about to laying age, should I keep them in the run?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MyShunshyn, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. MyShunshyn

    MyShunshyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2011
    Sperrassoville, OK
    Well, we have 18 young hens who have been free ranging for a couple of months now but they are getting to be laying age and i dont want them to start laying just anywhere, should i keep them locked in the run until they start laying consistently in the nest boxes?

    I keep a pretty good eye on them during the day and they all hang out together so I am pretty sure no one has laid yet. I don't want them to get into a bad habit of laying just anywhere.

    So what do ya think?
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    I always do that. I keep the newly laying hens locked in the coop/run until I get home at 5pm. So they at least get a few hours to run free before it's dark. And all the eggs are usually layed by then.
  3. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    My original flock was raised from chicks. I didn't have a run. They were free range in the sense they could have gone to the next county. They went into the coop at night on their own (food and water were there, only) and I'd just lock them up. They always came back to the coop to lay, even if they chose a corner over the nests. JME.
  4. johnsons-r-us

    johnsons-r-us Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2011
    Eudora, Kansas
    I am also interested in what is best as my pullets have been all day free ranging all summer. The do come in on their own at night. They stick around the inner yard all day. I have nest boxes set up in the coop, but wondering if they will want to lay out in the yard as we have lofs of shrubs and plants for them to hide in.[​IMG] I've not seen any of them going into the coop during the day.
  5. ronott1

    ronott1 Daily Digest Guru Premium Member Project Manager

    Mar 31, 2011
    Woodland, California
    My Coop
    My babies just started laying a couple of weeks ago. I let them out at 6 am every morning and they head back to their coops at dusk. I have 10, with two of them being older and living in their own coop. All of the chickens go to the small coop to lay eggs, well they did until Sunday. One of them has been finding hiding spots--once in the squash. It's one of my Australorps which are listed as being prone to going broody, so maybe this is a sign?

    Have Fun!
  6. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Mine always went back to the coop to lay and they ranged all day. Do you have wooden eggs in the nest boxes already?? Since chickens can start laying anywhere from 18 weeks up to 24 weeks (plus/minus), if you contain them to insure they lay in the coop, you may have to contain them for more than a month, at least through the bulk of the day...
  7. MyShunshyn

    MyShunshyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2011
    Sperrassoville, OK
    Quote:no I don't have any wooden eggs... where would I go to get those? they come and go from the run all day in and out of the coop so maybe I have nothing to worry about but I just want to be sure
  8. FairwindsFarm

    FairwindsFarm Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 10, 2011
    Calvert County
    I have been struggling with the same issue for the last few weeks! Our hens are almost 19 weeks old now. We started finding a few eggs in interesting places a few weeks ago - right before our chicken coop was completed. I saw the post about putting white golf balls in the nesting boxes - that worked for some of our hens. But a few of them seem to be stubborn and keep laying eggs in the barn or the tractor shed. I have been trying to keep them in longer to wait them out. The other day 1 flew out and laid an egg in the barn immediately! Today I kept them in until 2pm and had 5 eggs in the nesting boxes - 1 of them almost full size!. (I think only the 9 White Leghorns at the most are laying). I haven't been able to find any more eggs hiding yet. I think a few of the Rhode Islands are getting ready to lay. I feel bad making all the chickens stay in - most of them haven't even started to lay. Any suggestions on how long should I keep them in for?

    We have 24 hens -9 White Leghorns, 6 Rhode Island Reds, 4 Black Minorcas and 5 Buff Minorcas, 2 horses, 2 Pygmy goats, 2 barn cats, 2 boys, 2 girls and one good dog -Max.
  9. karlamaria

    karlamaria Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 30, 2011
    Western montana
    I have five hens, one started acting weird about 8 days ago and then bam she was gone, found her in the hedges, so I took her put and bam back into the hedges( her coop is only 10 feet away with plastic egg in it) she was trying to lay in my hedges, I put her in the coop heard the egg song 3 times and she laid an egg . I left her in the run from then on ( 2 days) to get used to laying in the coop, she did and when ever she has to lay an egg she goes right in now. But the other 4 have jog laid one yet so im just now keeping all the girls in the run until they all lay and im not trying to find the eggs under and inside my huge hedges.
  10. kansasgirlinutah

    kansasgirlinutah Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 18, 2011
    Well, we're right there with ya. We have 9 and they have started laying 2 weeks ago. We only got 1 egg a day for the first week and now we're getting 3 eggs a day. Our coop and run aren't finished yet, but we put some old drawers in the coop with some straw and a fake plastic egg in one of them. We find eggs there, but we also find eggs in one spot in some shrubs behind our shed. We keep checking all our other shrubs because we don't want to miss any of those beautiful eggs if we can help it. Wish we weren't so slow at getting this built, but my husband is a truckdriver and is only home on the weekends. [​IMG] Good to know we're not alone

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