1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    Not a member yet? join BYC here & then introduce yourself in our community forum here.

New layers - where will they lay?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Cyneswith, Mar 21, 2018.

  1. Cyneswith

    Cyneswith Songster

    387
    557
    191
    Jun 14, 2017
    Camden, SC
    My girls free-range during the day, and only go back to the coop to roost or on warm days for a drink. How likely are they to start laying in their nesting boxes vs somewhere under the bushes?
     
  2. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Free Ranging 5 Years

    5,346
    5,574
    687
    Jun 23, 2013
    The Big Island/Hawaii
    No clue ... How old are your girls? Have they showed any interest in the nest box? When they're close to laying, you could put some fake eggs in the nest box, possibly enticing them to lay there. When I used to allow my girls to roam the yard, I'd keep them in their enclosure until AFTER they lay. Did not want to Easter Egg Hunt every day :hmm
     
    Spartan22 likes this.
  3. RWise

    RWise Songster 5 Years

    1,103
    748
    216
    Dec 25, 2012
    Oakhurst Oklahoma
    I have some that use the nest boxes in the coop, while others want to hide out. Keeping them in till noon can help, but I get eggs all the way to sunset. I provide "hidden" nests for them to find. My rooster checks them out, yep jumps in them, makes a nest and tells the girls to use it,, or not to use it as he chooses.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member 5 Years

    46,514
    23,274
    1,032
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    If you want to avoid the 'easter egg hunt' best to 'train' them.

    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 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.
     
  5. Cyneswith

    Cyneswith Songster

    387
    557
    191
    Jun 14, 2017
    Camden, SC
    My girls are about 5 months - I don't really EXPECT them to be laying yet, but I also don't want to miss when they start laying.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member 5 Years

    46,514
    23,274
    1,032
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Do you have a run?
    Free ranging can be great, until you need to have them confined...
    ... terrible weather, predator event, or nest training...
    ...then a good, adequately sized and secure run is a lifesaver(sometimes literally).
    Free ranging birds can freak out being confined, so getting them used to it is a good thing IMO.
     
    ChickNanny13 likes this.
  7. Cyneswith

    Cyneswith Songster

    387
    557
    191
    Jun 14, 2017
    Camden, SC
    I do have a run. I have Orpingtons, Brahmas, Marans, and an EE - all kind of known as late bloomers - so it could be months before they are all laying (and I'm pretty sure none have started.) Doesn't seem fair to keep them all confined that long, given how the cockerel was behaving before they started free-ranging. I mean, it can be done, and I can let the cockerel out on his own to free-range to prevent HIM from being a problem...

    Is it recommended I keep them confined until they are all laying?

    (Also, I mis-counted. They are more like 4 months old. I've been counting by weeks.)
     
  8. Wilmer Gehman

    Wilmer Gehman Songster

    144
    148
    121
    Jun 7, 2017
    I raised several sets of chickens. I stuck a golf ball in the nesting box but not sure if thats what worked. They seemed to know to lay where they sleep=the coop. When we got a new set of chickens, they saw the older ones and new what to do.:) If you dont have a run, I suggest you make one out of 4 ft high with good sturdy wire. if there is no bushes in the run I think they will lay in the coop.
     
    Cyneswith likes this.
  9. RWise

    RWise Songster 5 Years

    1,103
    748
    216
    Dec 25, 2012
    Oakhurst Oklahoma
    At 4 months they may be ready to start laying, or they may not be. I have some that start right on the 4 month mark, and others that will not fire up until they are 8 months old, some are sisters. Or any where between 4-8 month mark Some take a bit longer, each bird is an individual.
    I put golf balls, 1 in each nest (for snakes) it does help them learn where to lay. This does not always work, I have some new girls (new to the flock) that really want to hide out. I caught one on a hidden nest, when I got close she ran to the coop and into a nest. Smart girl, she was headed for confinement,,,she is using a provided nest now.
     
    Spartan22 likes this.
  10. jthornton

    jthornton Crowing

    1,792
    2,478
    272
    Aug 30, 2017
    Poplar Bluff, MO
    My Coop
    I had 2 Rhode Island Reds that started laying at 18 weeks and by week 23 all of them were laying. Found my first egg in a bucket half full of pea gravel, found more behind a cardboard divider in the coop. They all use the community nest box now.

    JT
     
    morganalefae likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: