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.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
Do you have a run?My girls free-range during the day
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...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.