How to get hens to lay where they should?

SamMiller

Chirping
Oct 23, 2021
34
92
59
I have quite a darn few hens. They're all free-range with about an acre to enjoy. They haven't been laying where they should- and I just can't find where they are laying. They sleep in the coop at night and the nesting box is in there, but I might be lucky to find 3-4 eggs in there at best, when it should probably be more like 10+.

How do I get them to lay where they should? Some are escapees so I sorta get the missing eggs, but others just seem to not being laying where I can find them.
 

All4Eggz

𝕁𝕖𝕤𝕦𝕤 + ℂ𝕙𝕚𝕔𝕜𝕖𝕟𝕤 = 𝓐𝓵𝓵 𝓘 𝓝𝓮𝓮𝓭
Apr 23, 2021
3,135
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Massachusetts
I've rarely had issues like this, but when I did have them, I put golf balls in the nesting boxes and it kind of encouraged the newer pullets to learn where to lay. Some of my hens never learned, and lay in the corner of the coop (on the floor), which I don't mind, but it's just a little harder to reach :)

Good luck ❤️
 

m1chelle1

Crowing
5 Years
Jan 12, 2017
518
1,127
282
Central Florida Coast
yeah, golf balls is popular (because they look enough like an egg to most hens to do the trick) and of course, there is the old fake egg trick. TSC and other feed stores cell ceramic fake eggs. Usually come in most egg colors, blue, white, brown. You can also find (online) wooden fake eggs. Ive got some of them and they do the trick as well. The ceramic can break real easily.

i usually will put one or two fake eggs in each nesting box, or every other box to show them "hey lay here!!" :clap
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
101,642
147,519
1,867
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Fake eggs is a start, but if several of the birds are just laying willy nilly in the yard area, best to lock them in their run/fence in a run area to retrain them and force them to use the nest locations you've set up.
Yes, this^^^!!!

Hopefully your coop and run is of adequate size to confine them without too much stress.



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/run for a week or so 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 and maybe run 24/7 for a few days to a week, provided you have adequate space and ventilation, 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.
 
Apr 28, 2021
536
1,349
216
Arkansas
My Coop
My Coop
Yes, this^^^!!!

Hopefully your coop and run is of adequate size to confine them without too much stress.



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/run for a week or so 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 and maybe run 24/7 for a few days to a week, provided you have adequate space and ventilation, 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.
I’m having this same issue but I have 40acres which they don’t cover all of it but nothing is fenced off.
I set our auto door to delay opening by a few hours and I had more eggs but I still have some holding out and not laying in the coop.
I’m worried however that leaving them locked in with the roosters is going to stress them out rather then help them lay in the boxes.
What do you recommend? I have 2 roosters and 12 Pullets laying each rooster has their own ladies and they were raised together so there is no fighting among the roosters.
 

HumbleAmerican

Songster
Nov 3, 2021
338
1,271
138
I’m having this same issue but I have 40acres which they don’t cover all of it but nothing is fenced off.
I set our auto door to delay opening by a few hours and I had more eggs but I still have some holding out and not laying in the coop.
I’m worried however that leaving them locked in with the roosters is going to stress them out rather then help them lay in the boxes.
What do you recommend? I have 2 roosters and 12 Pullets laying each rooster has their own ladies and they were raised together so there is no fighting among the roosters.
Lock them in and observe. My rooster doesn't mess with my layers.
 

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