Laying in the woods


7 Years
Jan 4, 2013
We have about 50 chickens of various breeds that free range around the horse barn and a couple adjacent sheds. Lately we are having trouble locating the nests, all the usual places in the barn, out in the hayshed and such don't seem to have any. There are some nesting boxes as well, but they have never been especially prone to using them. Its about 70 yards or so to the edge of the woods, more of a swamp actually, real thick, almost impossible to walk through.
My wife is of the opinion that they are mostly laying in the woods.
If that is so, how can I encourage them to abandon that and return to the barn area to lay?
Gets a mite discouraging to have the wife send me to town with a shopping list that includes both "Chicken Feed" and "Eggs"!
I know that feeling! No matter how nice the nest boxes they'll find something better. What are your nest boxes like? Are they comfy and semi-dark inside? Hens do seem to prefer laying in places they feel safe in, since they lay with hatching chicks in mind, though we think they are simply doing it to please us! LOL What I found helps, in addition to making the boxes attractive, is placing some fake eggs or golf balls in there. Hens seem to like to laying where there are eggs already. I've tried this recently with a "free range" layer of mine and her very next egg was in the box, next to the fake egg I put in there to show her where I wanted her to lay. So give it try? Hopefully it will work just as well with your girls.

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