Hi from Tennessee

TennPuba

Hatching
5 Years
Oct 6, 2014
2
0
7
Kingsport, Tennessee
Hi to all. I am relatively new to backyard chicken raising. My wife and I started out with 3 Buckeye and 3 Americauna chicks this past spring. We ended up with a rooster and 2 hens of both breeds. The chicks have grown into healthy birds and it is just about time for eggs. I do have a few questions. First, we let our birds roam our backyard all day most days. We have a good sized coop and also a decent sized fenced run but the birds love being free! We clipped their wings a few weeks ago as 2 adventurous birds decided to go for a walk outside our fenced in yard! Now getting back to my question....we have a nesting box in the coop. If we continue to let the girls run in the yard all day will they know to go back in the coop to lay? We have been checking under the bushes for eggs and still haven't found any eggs. Just in the past few days both roosters have started "getting busy" with the hens so I assume the hens should start laying soon. Any advise will be greatly appreciated. I look forward to making some friends here and thank you in advance for your help.
 

liz9910

Crowing
Apr 8, 2012
12,404
593
396
Northern California
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It is possible that they will lay outside the coop. You can try putting fake eggs or golf balls in the nesting boxes to show them where to lay, but it's natural for a hen to find a hidden spot to lay her eggs. I just found a nest with at least 15 eggs in it, darn sneaky girl! You can also try keeping them in the coop/run until it's established where to lay the eggs. Good luck to you.
 

Kelsie2290

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Feb 18, 2011
36,684
4,926
586
Ohio
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! liz9910 gave you some good suggestions. If they are laying outside the coop, locking them up for a few days until they start using the nesting boxes often helps, and making sure the boxes are attractive to the hens, fake eggs, dark, covered, plenty of bedding material etc. One other thing, if you have two roosters and four hens total? ... the usual recommended ratio is around ten hens for every rooster or the hens tend to get overmated by the roos and you wind up with a lot of feather loss and even injured hens..
 

roseyred

Songster
5 Years
Jun 5, 2014
690
84
146
Hello! TennPuba, me and my boyfriend are planning to move to tennesse really soon hopefully! Where in tennessee do you live? So you know any good size lots with small houses for sale or rent? I'd like at least 10 acres and would like to bring alllllll my farm animals and heritage crops with me hahahah.
 

TwoCrows

🌻🐣🌻
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Mar 21, 2011
47,951
107,210
1,712
New Mexico, USA
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Hello there and welcome to BYC!
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Yes, I agree with the above advice that if you lock them in when it is time to lay, this will teach them to lay in the boxes. When my girls are out free ranging, if one has to lay an egg, they head back to the coop. So get them well trained to use the boxes and they should return. Keep some fake eggs in the boxes at all times. Golf balls are not that great to use as some hens don't see them as eggs. You can get porcelain eggs from lots of poultry supplies and even on Amazon.

Good luck with your flock and welcome to ours!
 

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