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Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Warthog, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. Warthog

    Warthog Chirping

    Jul 7, 2009
    Wondered if anyone could advise.

    I used to let my chicks have total free range, but since they started laying about 6 weeks ago, I keep them in their pen until they have all finished laying.

    This is usually around 11am, then I will let them out. I have had one or two eggs later in the afternoon, and the chicks have always gone back to the next boxes to lay.

    I decided to keep them penned until they have finished laying, because we have lots of bush and finding eggs would be virtually impossible.

    If I give them total free range again, will they always go back to the nest boxes to lay?
    Has anyone had experience of this?

  2. fiberart57

    fiberart57 Songster

    May 31, 2009
    Mine always go to the nest boxes but I had to pen them in the coop and run for a few days. Now they only lay in the boxes and wander about my yard. Of course, I have a back yard not an acre of land like some people.

  3. bdp7150

    bdp7150 In the Brooder

    Oct 17, 2008
    mine will only lay in boxes and they roam all day i think once they know where to lay then that it haven't had any yard eggs . but i have to gather eggs 2 time a day . when my girls lay a egg they yell and make a bunch of racket until my roo talks back to them and i think this is a show for them which i like .

    to you question if you see that eggs are in yard i would'n't let them out of run but i would let them out of coop till they see that this is where i should lay my eggs.
  4. Ken H

    Ken H Songster

    May 21, 2009
    I have 10 acres with areas of heavy bush. So far my girls return to the nesting boxes to lay eggs. It's a good thing too because one of my black Australorps usually lays around 2;00-4:00 in the afternoon.
  5. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Mine tried twice to change laying places, but they only laid one or two eggs there so maybe it was just a wild hair.
    Now I just let them out of the coop when I leave for work (9:30-10am) and they all seem to be laying in the nest box.
    If it's convenient for your schedule I see no problem leaving them in the coop for a few extra hours [​IMG] I don't get up at the crack of dawn anyhoo, so they just have to wait on me to let them out anyway.
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    My chickens happened to be on lockdown in the coop during the time that the majority of them started laying, since they had just moved into the new coop. After their lockdown was over, I just let them go back to free ranging as usual. I have yet to find an egg anywhere but in the coop.
    I might suggest that you let them start free ranging again and then if you have a sudden, unexplained decrease in egg production you lock them up for a few days to see.
  7. My DH designed what we call the "chunnel", a passageway that allows our girls to freely go back and forth from their pen to the coop, coop to pen all day long without exposure to predators. Okay, I guess it doesn't really apply to a pure free-range situation but it's been a huge help to us. Since we are new to chickens, we didn't even realize when we built the coop how valuable it would be for the chickens to have free access. Three of our four are laying now, and today was a typical day: two laid bright and early this morning, one sometime between 2 pm and 4 pm this afternoon. Eggs seem to come anytime between 7 am and 4 pm, so I'm really happy to have the chunnel. We have so many hawks, coyotes, raccoons, etc that it gives us huge peace of mind. There's a door that we close after we put the girls in for the night - it's not necessary for protection but it does help keep the coop a bit warmer.


  8. write2caroline

    write2caroline Songster

    Jun 21, 2009
    I love your chunnell!

    Will you take more pics as far as how it sits in the coop area and fenced area of it and message me with them. My husband has wanted to have something similar and this would help.
  9. Warthog

    Warthog Chirping

    Jul 7, 2009
    Thanks everyone. I love that chunnel, its great.

    Anyhow, most of the eggs are laid by 10am now with 2 or 3 later in the afternoon. So I have started letting them out just after 10am and always find other eggs in the coop in the afternoon. So I will just see if there is a decrease in the number of eggs, and if so I will lock them back up.

  10. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Songster

    Sep 4, 2009
    Mine free-range a good portion of each day, hopping inside the coop to lay an egg. They usually fill up at the feeder after they've laid, then bounce back outside with a loud "squaaackkk".

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