Getting my hen to lay in the coop

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Vora, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. Vora

    Vora Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 15, 2011
    Okay, so currently I have one hen (started with 6, but an opossum got into my backyard coop, so I moved the remaining Roo and Hen to the farm, where the bantie roo was picked off by an unknown nocturnal predator. But I digress) who is COMPLETELY free range. At night she roosts on the partial wall between one of the horse stalls and the hay storage, and by day she mainly roams in front of the open-faced stable. I DO have a coop for her, about 8ft tall, 5 ft wide by 4 ft long. It has a 3-ft high roost and four crate nest boxes, 3 of which are stacked open side out and one on the floor, open side up. The door is the size of the shorter front wall, with an open strip above it, covered with wire, for ventilation. In summer, we open the door and instead install a half-screen door. With the addition of 6 new chicks this year, currently at home in the brooder, I know it's time to get a little more strict and start putting my hen - Chocolate Milk - in at night.
    So far, I haven't been collecting her eggs - she basically lays wherever she is, it seems. We find her eggs mostly in the muddy stalls that we abandoned due to flooding, and sometimes on the floor of the hay storage. I'd like to start, though, and so my question is this -
    What is the best way to not only get Chocolate Milk (I call her Gwen, but no one else deigns to) to happily transition to the coop, with the 6 new chicks when they come, and to get her to lay in the coop, and not outside? I've seen it suggested that I leave her in until 10am, but this isn't possible, since I leave for work at 9. Also understand that no one lives on the property, it's simply a stable and pasture, but there is always someone there in the morning and evening, if not all day on my or my friend's days off. But this prevents us from being able to 'keep and eye' on things, or to follow her around and wait for her to lay. Also, if it's important, she's fairly tame. Only slightly flighty, but if you can approach her, you can easily pick her up for a snuggle.

    Anyway, thanks for reading, and I look forward to hearing your ideas!
     
  2. cooped up

    cooped up Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 6, 2012
    Portland, Or
    you could confine her to a run with access to the coop, put her food and water inside the coop. or there is an automated door that is set on a timer.Either way you would have to confine her to the coop for a couple days so she knows where home is.
     
  3. LolaIsAChicken

    LolaIsAChicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 5, 2011
    Edmonton
    I am having the same problem, I will await some responses also :)
     
  4. so to get her to lay inside the coop put fake eggs (or golf balls) and it encourages them to lay in there, but you will have to have her stay in the coop, what Cooped Up said should work great
     
  5. Vora

    Vora Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 15, 2011
    Thanks for the advice, guys! So perhaps a combination of keeping her 'cooped up' for a couple of days, and putting golf balls in the nest will encourage her to lay when she's in there at night.
     

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