Hens laying eggs in woods

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by happyhippiechik, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. happyhippiechik

    happyhippiechik Out Of The Brooder

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    May 28, 2012
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    We recently upgraded the area our chickens are allowed to roam and some of it includes a wooded area. The problem is, they have taken up laying eggs under thick brush out in the woods. The worst part is, we are inundated with poison ivy and I'm highly allergic. I'm treating outbreak number 5 right now. My question is, how do I get them back to laying in their coop nesting boxes? I'm trying to start an egg selling business and this makes the inventory difficult to come by. Not to mention, the blue and green eggs get dirty out there and stain. can't sell ugly, dirty eggs. Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. MadabtChickens

    MadabtChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The only way I've found to get them to lay in their nest box is to keep them confined to the coop and run area and put fake eggs (ceramic eggs, or golf balls) in the nest boxes. I would recommend keeping them confined for a week minimum.
     
  3. happyhippiechik

    happyhippiechik Out Of The Brooder

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    May 28, 2012
    North Carolina
    The problem is, their run area is HUGE. They do not free range as most people consider free range. They are fenced but allowed a large area to safely roam. I would have to confine them to their coop, with no outside time. Not sure that's a very humane way for them to live, even for a few days. Thanks for the idea tho. I'm afraid this is an issue I'll be fighting for a while. We're getting a pair of dwarf goats this weekend to share the area and eradicate some of the poison ivy, so maybe this will discourage the girls from laying out in the open.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Are you able to keep them in the coop until the early afternoon? Most hens lay in the morning, so the longer you can keep them cooped the better. Or, possibly a temp fence to make a smaller run area just outside the coop, to keep them closer to the coop? You pretty much have to keep them where you want them to lay. And even then, when I free ranged I often just had to go on egg hunts. That stinks about the poison ivy. Have you considered putting a goat in there? They eat that stuff like it's chocolate!
     
  5. happyhippiechik

    happyhippiechik Out Of The Brooder

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    May 28, 2012
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    Funny you should mention goats. We actually built a barn and fenced that area to get goats. We're picking them up on Sunday. I plan to tether them for short periods of time around the yard to eat the stuff. When they're not tethered, they will be in the large fenced area eating the ivy in there. I'll have to try the smaller run idea. I'm just afraid they'll go back to the woods once they're out. Luckily they're mostly green and blue eggs so they're pretty easy to spot! :p
     
  6. rhode13

    rhode13 New Egg

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    Aug 9, 2013
    I am very new to chickens, but I had a similar problem...I had let my hens free range in my yard-1 1/2 acres-then just within the past week 1 of my hens started laying and she was laying in the yard...so it was suggested to me to leave them in the run area and put something resembling an egg in the nest box...so I did this and she is now laying in the box...I am told that the others will follow suit...I was also told by a person at the feed store that has 75 chickens that you can keep them in the coop...vented of course...and it just takes 1 time for a hen to lay in the nest box and she will then know where to go
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Well..........that depends on the chicken. Don't be surprised if you have to go on egg hunts sometimes when you start ranging them again. Some folks here would have birds as you described, always lay in the box. My hens would lay in the box for a while, then decide they could find better places themselves [​IMG]
     

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