Free Range Question

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by backwoodbrigade, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. backwoodbrigade

    backwoodbrigade In the Brooder

    Jun 16, 2011
    So i just built my coop. .a nice 8x8x10 for 6 laying hens and a rooster. . I'm going to build caged run for when i'm not around (16x8) that is attached to the coop. .

    So my question is. .

    I let them out to free range in my large yard (over 2 acres) for the first time, and they did well this evening on coming back to the coop..

    I have a lot of high, "natural" landscape beds around the house where some of them were hiding today and taking dust baths. .Could they potentially lay eggs in the tall grasses surrounding the property? Cause if they do, i certainly wont find them. .

    should i let them out to free range after they lay in the coop? Would they potentially lay during the day in the bushes?

    Any insight would be appreciated

  2. Fritatta

    Fritatta Chirping

    May 16, 2011
    Woodstock, GA
    I have 7 girls. I leave the door to coop open all day so they can free range.

    Of my 7 girls, all would free range and return to the nesting box to lay, then back out again till sundown, and then in and on the roost. I had only one exception - one easter egger found a place in the woods to lay. when i found it, it had 14 eggs in it.

    You will get to know who lays which egg (unless the are ALL exactly the same), and if you notice that you go out to see the girls and one is gone missing for an hour. when that happens wait for the "I just layed a BEAUTY" quack and see where she is coming out.

    my hens sometimes dont lay until 4-5pm, or they can miss a day entirely, so you cant keep them in the coop till all laying is done.

    In my case I made her hidden nest site a little LESS hidden (it was in the thick of poison ivy vines). she did not return and has been laying the the nesting boxes ever since.

    Do you have nice comfy and private boxes for them? you will need at least 3 boxes.
  3. SallyF

    SallyF Songster

    Jul 5, 2009
    Middle Tennessee
    Yes, mine occasionally lay an egg outside the coop as they are free-ranging. Mostly they will go back to the nest boxes, but every once in a while one of them decides to be a free spirit and find a new nesting spot. I usually don't let them out of their coop/run until they have "met production" sometime in the early afternoon. This week, unfortunately, three of my hens have disappeared, so their free-ranging days are over for a week or so until whatever got them gets tired of waiting and leaves the area.
  4. CartierChicken

    CartierChicken Chirping

    Jun 11, 2011
    Stockholm, Sweden
    In the beginning, I would lock my hens in the run until they laid their eggs. Usually around 10 am in the morning, they were done, so I would let them out. Once they got used to laying in a certain nest, I knew they would most likely choose to come back to lay there, so I started to let them out when I opened the coop, 7:00 am in the morning. Usually a line forms for the favoured nest, so now some have been searching out alternative spots, like were I keep the rabbits grass:rolleyes: So now I have extra nests and this has seemed to solve the problem. I did, however, find an egg outside the run just yesterday. One of my children closed the run, so the late laying chicken could not get to the nest.
  5. wava1vaughn

    wava1vaughn Songster

    Jun 24, 2011
    Cairo Ga.
    Hi from Ga. For the most part my hens return to their nest box to lay but now and then they'll lay on the outside. Luckily we know where they lay them and check it each day. [​IMG]

  6. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Songster

    Oct 31, 2008
    Ours return to the nest to lay during the day. What is neat is that usually one of the roos accompanies the girl and waits around for her to rejoin the flock.
  7. Eggie and Me

    Eggie and Me Songster

    Mar 9, 2009
    Southern California
    Our 7 girls are 2 yrs old and have never laid eggs out in the yard. Don't know if we've been lucky or if they're just conditioned to lay in their boxes?? I was concerned at first about having to go on an egg hunt everyday, but they're great!
  8. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    My hens return to their coops to lay their eggs every day, even when they are pretty far away from it when the urge hits. Like Eggie said, just lucky or [​IMG]
  9. backwoodbrigade

    backwoodbrigade In the Brooder

    Jun 16, 2011
    Thanks so much for the answers. .to answer the one question; Yes, they have wonderful nesting boxes in the coop that i built. .and they have been laying pretty consistently (6 a day); however, the last two days i only got ONE egg. .

    Could this be because it was so hot the last two day? Also. .I just got the hens a week ago, and have not let them out until today, so they weren't getting full sun. and it was hot in the coop. .is that what dropped their production?

  10. Eggie and Me

    Eggie and Me Songster

    Mar 9, 2009
    Southern California
    Quote:I would go on a egg hunt. To go from 6 to 1 is a curious drop.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by