1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    Not a member yet? join BYC here & then introduce yourself in our community forum here.

Free ranging reducing laying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BoerneChickens, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. BoerneChickens

    BoerneChickens Songster

    Mar 3, 2010
    Boerne, TX
    I have a friend who has no chickens, but he keeps telling me that a guy he works with used to work in commerical egg production and he says if I don't keep my hens confined it will reduce how much they lay. I have not read that in any books and honestly once my hens start laying (guessing will be late Sept) I will have more eggs than I need, but I am tired of being told not to let them out in the yard or I won't get eggs. I have a small city sized lot and the girls get out for a few hour in the afternoon during he week and have most of the day to come and go as they please on weekends.

    Can someone help me end the annoying debate? Does free ranging reduce egg production?
  2. Free ranging won't reduce egg laying! It will only make your hens happier, which might lead to MORE eggs.

    Sometimes, free ranging hens may decide to lay eggs somewhere beside the nest box, though. If you don't find these eggs, it might APPEAR that they are laying less. I've had hens think that behind a door or unused snow shovel was a better location than the nest box.

    If your hens are already well trained to the nest boxes, they should continue to lay there and you'll have no problems. If it does seem like laying is dropping, just check around your yard - my guess would be that you'll find the missing eggs in a hidden nest!
  3. noodleroo

    noodleroo Snuggles with Chickens

    Apr 29, 2010
    Rockport, Tx
    I agree with TurkeyMountainChickens, free ranging chickens are happy chickens. Our 9 free ranging chickens lay 7 to 8 eggs per day.
  4. WingingIt

    WingingIt Songster

    Apr 16, 2009
    They are going to lay no matter if they are free ranging or penned. If you're short eggs, they are laying them somewhere hidden and you just need to go on an egg hunt. [​IMG]
  5. LeezyBeezy

    LeezyBeezy Songster

    Mar 13, 2010
    Lancaster PA
    I am new to this, but my gals go out, and I leave the coop door open. They can go in and out, and use the nest boxes when they're ready, which they do. One of them likes to lay in a particulat spot in the barn, but not in the coop, if they are out. That's OK, 'cause I know where it is... a nice, dark, comfy corner.
  6. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    For the most part, my layers have been laying just as much, and in the nest boxes, since I started letting them free range on the weekends and in the evenings (when I'm home). The first weekend, I did find two eggs in unusual spots, but I attribute that to hens who were not yet used to how to get back to the coop in time to lay their eggs. They weren't hidden at all. Now I get all 6 to 8 eggs a day - from 8 layers - in the nest boxes even on the weekends.

    Pooh! I say, to your nay-sayers.
  7. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

    Aug 25, 2008
    Yup. Free ranging hens tend to lay in odd places, hard to find places!

    The other downside is that sometimes our local snakes find the nests before we do- which ultimately results in fewer eggs.

    But it has nothing to do with how often the hens lay. If anything, I think happy hens lay more regularly.
  8. my chickens were trained to lay in nest boxes but they seemed to have forgotten

    and they play psycological games with my.
    i would find a hidden nest out and about and after i raid the nest. and replace with golfballs. they stop laying in that spot and find a new spot. this has been proven many times with my chickens. i am about ready to burn the hillside to make finding eggs easier.

    i have 27 mature hens. 4 are broody 3 are roosters. the remaining should lay every day with 3 chickens posssibly too old to lay. but i am getting 6-7 eggs a day.

    my mom thinks i have the prettiest and diversified flock but also the laziest.
  9. Sesame

    Sesame In the Brooder

    Apr 2, 2010
    Mine don't free range but if they are out in the run, they won't lay. I only have one that will occassionally lay there if she really has to, but otherwise if they are out in the run before they would normally lay, there won't be any eggs that day from any of them.
  10. SunnyDawn

    SunnyDawn Sun Lovin' Lizard

    Sep 12, 2009
    Nor Cal
    Mine free range all day and I get lots of eggs from them. Often I get an egg a day from every hen! Once they were all laying I kept them inside the coop for three days (and put fake eggs in the nests) for most of the day and they learned real quick where to lay. Once in awhile, at first, I got an occasional egg laid outside but that stopped after a few times as well. I do give them Layena and put out oyster shell out as well though, so they can get enough calcium, but that is kept in the coop and they just wander in and out all day.
    You can't listen to everyone's opinions, you'll just drive yourself crazy. I have a neighbor that swore, when I first got my chicks, that I wouldn't get any eggs without a rooster. He never had chickens either but he got his information straight from a chicken rancher! [​IMG] No matter how often I tried to tell him different he insisted I wouldn't get any eggs! I had to bring him a dozen eggs before he finally believed me. [​IMG] Most times though, when he's going off about something, I just say "really?" even if I know it's wrong. It makes him feel good and doesn't change what I do a bit.
    If he just won't let it go tell him you don't care as much about quantity as you do about quality. Free range eggs are lower in cholesterol and have other health benefits as well. Plus they just plain taste better! There was an article in Mother Earth News that addressed these findings if you want to look it up.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: