sneaky chickens!

Ab1010

Chirping
Jul 27, 2020
273
351
93
I have 7 hens in my free range flock. Most are way past the point that they should be laying. Two days ago I decided to lock a few in the coop. I went and checked again tonight.. two eggs!!! These sneaky birds are laying eggs somewhere on the 5 acres of land and there is no way I can find them. What do I do? How do I train a chicken to lay in a nest box instead of wherever it is. I knew they were layong because they would yell out all crazy like and I'd run over to look and could never find an egg.
 

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aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
85,818
101,367
1,727
SW Michigan
My Coop
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 and run 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.
 

Mistycarmony84

Hatching
Aug 25, 2020
8
4
8
All our chickens are free range, but all are trained to lay in the coop in nesting boxes. When we get new chickens we keep them in the coop for 24 hours before letting them out and we keep fake eggs and golf balls in the nesting boxes at all times. Sometimes snakes get in there and we want to know if they are so if the fake eggs or golf balls come up missing we know we have a problem. Doing all this helps also if you see a hen making a nest outside pick her up and relocate her to the nesting box.
 

Ab1010

Chirping
Jul 27, 2020
273
351
93
You may have to lock them in the coop for some time, if it isn't too hot. Have you tried placing fake eggs in nesting boxes?
I've left fake and real eggs in the nesting boxes. Its not too hot here. I just spend moore money on feed when they are locked up but I really want the eggs lol. Guess they loose their privileges for awhile!
 

Ab1010

Chirping
Jul 27, 2020
273
351
93
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 and run 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.
Well the coop is huge. I can walk in it with about 4 other people and 30 chickens at the same time.. but i have a bunch of roosters and idk if its good for them to all be cooped up together.. they get along really well because I just let them run the property. But their run is open.. id have to clip their wings to keep them inside of it and it worries me for predators.
 

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