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Getting hens to lay eggs in their coop--questions!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hiddencreek, Jun 15, 2016.

  1. hiddencreek

    hiddencreek Hatching

    Apr 5, 2016
    I am new to chickens and I have some questions about my hens as they approach laying age. I have five 15 week old hens that roost in a nice big coop I built them (6X8X6) with a loft with nesting boxes. The nesting boxes are in the loft and I have a golf ball in each one to encourage laying. The thing is, I let them out every morning around 7 am and let them free range all day. They immediately travel about 200 yards to the horse barn where they hang out for the entire day, and then return to the coop at night to roost (I lock it up at dusk every night). Am I dreaming to think that when they start laying they will return to the coop? Should I keep them in the coop until mid-day to encourage laying in their nesting boxes? Should I throw in the towel and put nesting boxes in the horse barn? If I do will they ever return to their coop again? I spend a lot of money and sweat building their coop so I'd really like them to use it. Thanks for your help!

  2. Best answer I have is to wait and see what happens? If they go to the coop too roost at night ? Chances are they will lay the eggs where they should too...
  3. threescompany

    threescompany Songster

    Aug 3, 2014
    I used to let my chickens out later in the day when they first started laying and once they came to love the nesting area, I didn't worry to much because I saw them run right on in there to lay when they got ready. They know a good nesting spot when they've got one![​IMG]
  4. Donna R Raybon

    Donna R Raybon Chirping

    Apr 13, 2016
    I agree, when they get close to laying as evidenced by red comb, wattles, I would leave them penned for first few weeks until after about three pm. Chickens usually lay in morning.
  5. Weehopper

    Weehopper Songster

    Feb 26, 2015
    Chickens and horses go hand in hand..or maybe hoof in foot. Anyway the chickens go there because there is lots of stuff that is very nutritional there. They love to pick through horse poop. It's a good source of, if I recall, B vitamins. They pick out any undigested seeds and such. And then there is straw. Well who doesn't love to dig and scratch in both straw and hay.
    I would think that if there is a comfy corner, with straw in it, that won't be stomped by a horse, a hen might just pick that for egg laying. So, don't be surprised if you start hearing hen songs coming from the barn.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Do you have a run attached to the coop?
    Might really be a good idea to keep them confined to coop and run when they get close or start laying.
    It can take up to a month or so for them to get things running smoothly,
    they might lay any time of the day (or anywhere) for the first week or two.
    Maybe just let them out to range the later part of they day until things get in the groove.
    Once things smooth out and they are well in the habit of laying in the coop nests,
    you can let them range all day and they should come back to coop to lay.
    They may eventually need some 're-training' and need to be confined again for a while.

    Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for 3-4 days can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop 24/7 for a few days to a week, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.

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