The Tao of the Egglayer

Unobtanium

Songster
May 13, 2018
122
137
113
Pineville, MO
I have Welsummers. I live in SW Missouri. I feed them "egg layer pellets", and let them free-range on several acres most of the time. They were hatched Jun 5, 2017. There are 10 hens, and one cock. When they are not free-ranging, they stay in a 10x6x6 coop/run, as pictured below.

Until 2 days ago, they had not layed a single egg, but on that day, there was 1 hen which did not come out when I opened the coop at around 8 am. I found her sitting on 3 different patterened eggs. I had checked the coop the previous morning, and there were no eggs. I did not check the coop that night, other than to close it as they went in.

Neither yesterday, nor today, have I noted an egg again. That said, yesterday, they free-ranged all day.

My questions:

-Will they always return to the coop to lay an egg, just as they do to roost at night, or will they plop the egg out "wherever"?

-If they plop the egg out "wherever", will the hen remain and roost over the egg, not returning to the coop that night, and must I go hunt her down? Or will she abandon the egg(s) and return for the night to the coop?

-What kind of egg production should I be seeing from 10 hens? Will my specific breed stop in the winter, in my location? I do not plan to artificially stimulate them with lights.

-Did these eggs all come from 1 hen over 24 hours, or did she sit on the eggs of 2 other hens, or maybe 3 others and she herself did not lay any?

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Unobtanium

Songster
May 13, 2018
122
137
113
Pineville, MO
1: Hens will find places that they think are good places to lay eggs. Hopefully this is your coop.
2: Hens will only sit on eggs if they're going broody.
4: Probably one of those is hers, but hens do not lay 3 eggs in 24 hours.

How big is your coop? It looks kinda small for 10 hens.
1. I hope so, too.
2. What does that mean? I took her eggs and she acted offended and then went about her day?
4. Thanks. I'm ignorant as to their capabilities, but figured such.
The coop is 10x6x6. I honestly figured some would die on the way to adulthood/to predators, so it kindof is what it is. They are super survivable, even with a massive predator load of hawks, foxes, feral cats, bald eagles, coyotes, and the like, apparently.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
96,641
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SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
They were hatched Jun 5, 2017.
2017...or 2018?

Your coop and run is 6x10...coop itself look to be maybe 6x4...tight for 11 birds.
..and I see no ventilation.
Pics of inside might help...are they sleeping in the nests?

But I digress, as for egg laying, that you found eggs in the coop nest is great.
Free range birds may make a habit out of laying out in range area.

Oh and some broody behaviors are when they stay on nest most the day and all night.
When you pull her out of nest and put her on the ground, she'll flatten right back out into a fluffy screeching pancake.
She'll walk around making a low cluckcluckcluckcluckcluck sound on her way back to the nest.
 

Unobtanium

Songster
May 13, 2018
122
137
113
Pineville, MO
2017...or 2018?
2018, sorry.
Your coop and run is 6x10...coop itself look to be maybe 6x4...tight for 11 birds.
..and I see no ventilation. Yes, the coop is above the run, so no floorspace is lost. It has a window on the other side, and the way the corrugated roofing works out, air can flow up and out. There is a diagonal bar in it upon which they all roost.
Pics of inside might help...are they sleeping in the nests?

But I digress, as for egg laying, that you found eggs in the coop nest is great.
Free range birds may make a habit out of laying out in range area.

Oh and some broody behaviors are when they stay on nest most the day and all night.
When you pull her out of nest and put her on the ground, she'll flatten right back out into a fluffy screeching pancake.
She'll walk around making a low cluckcluckcluckcluckcluck sound on her way back to the nest.

Oh, she wasn't broody then so much.

This is obviously when it was new. I use woodchips from TSC as bedding.
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20180515_141224 (1).jpg
 

Windy_Acres

Songster
Mar 3, 2015
118
139
141
Ontario, Canada
My Welsummers laid pretty well through their first winter with no light (probably 2 eggs a day for the 5 of them), but weren't terribly prolific in the summer - averaged 3 most days their first full summer, fewer as time went on. And no eggs in winter after the first year, even when I added a little light, although I've since learned I needed more light. However, you could actually tell their eggs by flavour- they were by far the most flavourful, absolutely delicious.
 

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