free range


In the Brooder
Mar 4, 2015
Is it true that if you let your chickens free range around the yard when it's time for them to lay eggs they will not lay in the bins in the coop.


5 Years
May 18, 2014
Manassas, VA
Not necessarily true. If the chooks have had sufficient time to 1)imprint on the coop as home, 2)the coop provides a SAFE place for them to live/sleep/lay and 3)there are no egg-predators in your coop (that includes the two-legged variety) they should happily come back to lay versus laying in the range. I avoid acting like a egg-predator by using roll-out nest boxes. Folks who routinely slide their hands under a crabby chicken's rump while they're in the nest boxes may or may not be setting themselves up for egg-hiding down the road. I prefer to err on the side of caution.

Additionally, if you are "lucky" enough to get any serious broodies in your flock then all bets are off. They will often eschew safety for the sake of privacy.

Folks with young flocks often hedge their bets and procure fake eggs (wooden eggs, golf balls, etc) and place them in the locations they want their chooks to lay. No chicken wants to be first at ANYthing but if they see an egg or two in a location they figure that someone else thought this was a safe place to lay, it's probably good enough for my eggs too.
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5 Years
May 13, 2014
I have 16 laying hens and with a massive yard I like for them to free range to help keep bugs down. I've hand raised these, and 18 more lil ones now, on a very personal level and has proven worth while. I work from home so spending a lil time everyday is easy. I go in the pen and sit on a ledge and they all huddle around for attention with many fighting for a spot on my lap or shoulders and pet every one of them when I shut the coop for the night. Most have laid their eggs by 1 so around 2 or 3 I let em out till dark. They still go back to the pen to lay like I was hoping. Chickens are a whole lot smarter than what people give them credit for.

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