range time and eggs

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hannahransom, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. hannahransom

    hannahransom In the Brooder

    Jan 15, 2012
    Lakeside, CA
    I let my chickens out every day for as long as I can (usually hours). I go to work at 2:30pm and can't let them out past that time because I am gone (and haven't yet figured out a way in which to protect them from predators and let them range at the same time.

    My question is this: when they start laying, how can I ensure they will lay the eggs in the coop? The chickies are always excited to come out, so I am worried that if I open the door for them to come out while one is about to lay they will come out and then lay out there later. If anyone is in a similar situation what do you do? I have heard a lot of people say not to let them out before noon. But this is impractical because of when I have to work and also I would assume they would lay eggs at different times different days, right?
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    for the most part, they need to imprint on nest boxes. Otherwise they'll lay wherever.
    IMO the best thing is to provide good nest boxes in the coop and a good one in the tractor or wherever they range BEFORE they start to lay.
  3. Hunter0704

    Hunter0704 Chirping

    Sep 8, 2011
    Wentzville, MO
    To give your chickens more free range time, let them out early in the morning...then you can put them in the coop before you head off to work so they will be safe from predators.
  4. 33yardbirds

    33yardbirds Songster

    Jun 15, 2010
    Southern New Jersey
    Mine range from dawn till dusk and the hens stroll back to the coop when they're going to lay. I've never had any hidden nests although I have found an occasional egg in the run, probably because her (their) favorite box was occupied.
  5. Holy cow, then you can drop your gym membership b/c of all the exercise you'll get chasing chickens![​IMG]

    Hunter, you clearly have better behaved birds than I do, I'm envious. What's yer secret??

    I keep mine in until they acclimate to the nestboxes. They will return to the coop to lay...well, in an ideal world, anyway. (I've got some EEs who think otherwise!)

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