Free Ranging Egg Hunt

Nestled Chickens

12 Years
Mar 3, 2010
Pacific Northwest
We've been free ranging our chickens for the last week or so and some of our hens found a new place to lay eggs! Of course I didn't know until 20 eggs accumulated! I put the chickens back in their yard to re-associate the hens to their egg boxes. Will they continue to forget where they are supposed to lay when I let them out again?
I have the same problem. Once I raid their hidey hole they just find a new place to lay. I've tried locking them in the coop and they will lay in the nesting boxes for about a week and then lay out in the yard or under the coop. Its so random. Fortunately, my yard isn't that big so there are only so many places they can hide them.
When I was a kid we free ranged...didn't even have nesting boxes...and life was an egg hunt! There was one rule, however....always leave one egg in the next so they know where to come back to lay. It seemed to work for the old timers. The trick is to rotate out the egg so that it doesn't go bad. I always wondered if you could just put a fake egg in and get the same result or if they know the smell. Dunno that one.
For the most part, most of my hens will lay in their nesting boxes, but then there is always a few that decides to make their own nest somewhere else on the property. Once I discover a nest that is too unexcessible, I shut it down, completely block it so they do not return. If they have made a nest that is easy to collect the eggs from, I will leave it there instead of forcing them to use the boxes, at least I know where to collect the special eggs from. LOL When I rebuilt their henhouse with new nesting boxes, it took them awhile before they started laying their eggs in there so I place a few fake eggs in there, which still remain, and the majority of them lay in the designated nest boxes. Now, everyone is happy!

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