Is there a way to coax free range chickens into the nest boxes?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by joleneschix, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. I have 17 free range chickens which 16 of those should start laying soon. 1 is a roo. So I found eggs today in the "hidden nest" which is under a tree. I am unsure if only one is laying there or if there are 4 laying there. There are 4 older than the rest. So I found 10 eggs in the nest. What I want to know is, is there a way to coax them into the nest boxes that are in the coop? The coop is not far from any point they would be in the back yard, I just think they want to lay outside, I want inside. I do not want to have to go looking everyday for eggs. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I actually do not mind having them outside as long as I know where the nests are, which is not always what the chicken may want! :) Thanks for your help! Jolene
     
  2. luvmigrls

    luvmigrls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is my understanding that when they want to brood or hatch eggs they will lay a clutch (many in one spot). But that shouldn't be the case if this is their first season (?) But I don't have a rooster either. When one want's to lay on the others' eggs I have put a decoy egg (a wood egg from craft store) in one of the nesting boxes and they lay on it instead. When I need to get my girls back in the coop (bad weather etc..) I use a food like broccoli crown pieces (they love it). They didn't put them selves to bed at first but now find their way in at dusk. I lock them in at dark to protect them from preditors. Hope some of this helps [​IMG]
     
  3. TurtlePowerTrav

    TurtlePowerTrav T.K.'s Farm

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    Keep them locked in the coop/run and no free ranging for a week. Put golfballs or fake eggs in the nest boxes and that should fix them.
     
  4. Ok, thanks ladies for the info! Well my ones that I started from chicks were penned up when they were young and then I would let them out to range for an hour or so every day. The game ones(there are 4) they were penned up because we got them from a friend who let them do as they would and they were roosting in his trees at night! YIKES! So we kept them penned and had the coop to themselves. Then when I got the roo we kept them penned up together so he would not try to fly away. That lasted all of about 3 days. They have been penned up together in one coop ever since. They range in my back yard which is pretty big but they are always close to the coop. We do not have troubles putting them to bed, they go to the coop by 7pm(Nor Cal time). Before dark. But when one chicken went "missing" and I knew it was there cause I had just seen her, I looked for her and there she was sitting on a nest hiding in some bushes. Well when she got off the nest there were 10 eggs!! Surprise! I did not think they were laying yet. I got the game chickens in April and they were at the very least a month old. My chicks I got in May right before mothers day and they were 2 days old. I just want to know any ways to get them to WANT to nest in the coop. I keep looking around the yard wondering if there are other hiding spots I do not know about, as I am sure there are. I am so excited about getting eggs. I really want them to use the nest boxes I have built them. Any advise or help would be appreciated! And also wanted to know, is it mean to keep the ladies cooped up all day?? I can't imagine it would go over very well if I did that. Thanks again! Jolene
     
  5. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    Now that the girls are older, they need to get aquanted with the location of the nest boxes. Keeping them cooped for a week will help them put the eggs where you can find them.

    I have had young pullets at 7-8 months bring home 13 chicks from a hidden nest.
     
  6. TurtlePowerTrav

    TurtlePowerTrav T.K.'s Farm

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    Just so you know, not everyone on here is a lady. [​IMG]
     
  7. So, so, sorry to the men who I may have offended! Did not mean to! Was only responding to the posts and I did not read names! SO sorry! I do see what you are saying about leaving them in the coop, I guess they have always been outdoor gals so I feel like I would be being mean! Maybe I will have to try that! Would definatly save some headache for me in the long run. I just feel so bad about it! Not only that but when I let them out in them out in the morning I practically get mobbed by them when I open the door! :D thanks again for all your gentlemen and ladies help! Please check back as I will let you know about the progress! You guys are great!
     
  8. UrbanEnthusiast

    UrbanEnthusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you don't mind them laying outside, then I'd just try to find a way to get them to keep laying in the same spot they already picked. Seems easier than trying to get them to pick a new spot and more humane than keeping them cooped up for a long time. Some folks swear by leaving a marker egg or golfball or two in their nesting spot so they don't figure out that you're taking the eggs and therefore keep laying there. For us, that technique didn't work. One of our hens actually pushes the golf balls OUT! My experience is they tend to keep laying in the same spot for a pretty long time - many months - and then one day they just quit laying there and we have to hunt for the new spot. If it were a different place every day, I'd try to curb it, but if it's just every once in a while, we don't mind. It's like Easter! [​IMG]
     
  9. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    You can make confinement more interesting and less like jail. Feed lots of goodies, especially if you can put in fallen leaves and throw in some grain, only some, keep them LOOKING for a kernel or an oat.

    Maybe a new place to perch, or other toy.
     
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