Thinking outside the box..............I mean coop!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by murdeb, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. murdeb

    murdeb Out Of The Brooder

    May 17, 2011
    Sebastian, FL
    I have 2 BO who I believe are getting ready to lay, combs are getting redder and I believe they are around 24 weeks old. My questions are:
    They free range all day now, is that going to affect where they lay their eggs? Think they will start laying in the yard or will they go to their nesting boxes?
    They are sleeping in their nesting boxes at night, bad thing?
    Do they normally lay at night?
    Should I shorten the amount of time they free range by keeping them in the run most of the day?
    If they start laying in the yard, how do you train them to lay in the nesting boxes?

    Thanks guys! You are the best!
  2. ChicKat

    ChicKat Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Why not keep them in the yard, since they are close to laying, until they get in the habit of laying in the nest box. Put some fake eggs or golf balls in the nesting boxes. After they establish the routine, they will traverse back to the nest box from free ranging when it is time to lay the egg.

    If they don't sleep in the nesting boxes, they won't poo there, so your egggs will be cleaner.

    Mine don't lay at night-- I think chickens pretty much go into a stupor at eating, no drinking, no laying.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011
  3. coonhoundmama87

    coonhoundmama87 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 26, 2011
    Quote:I agree with this [​IMG] I have free range chickens that I trained to lay eggs in our pole shed for me this winter just by giving them a few boxes with some hay and putting an egg in them. Their roosters brought them right to them lol. I don't care where they lay in the spring because I expect them to make me babies [​IMG] but I need their eggs this winter until my new layers start laying.
  4. Hunter0704

    Hunter0704 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 8, 2011
    Wentzville, MO
    From my understanding and experience, they lay eggs in the morning. Usually by 9:30 a.m.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I agree. Put a fake egg where you want them to lay. It may not work but it sure helps. You can keep them in the run for a while to maybe help them learn where to lay, but it probably is not necessary. It is probably a good thing to occasionally lock them in for the day to see if you get eggs when they are locked in if you think they may be laying.

    When I find one laying not in the nesting boxes, I lock them all in the coop and run for several days, like a week. You need to break them of the bad habit of laying elsewhere. It also helps a lot to find their outside nest and remove the eggs, even open the area up if you can so it does not look like a great place to hide a nest. Whe one is laying outside and I lock them in, the hen starts pacing the fence when it is time to lay her egg. You can let her out and see whare she goes to maybe help find the nest, but remember she is trying to hide the nest. You may need to be a bit sneaky.

    Are your roosts higher than the nesting boxes? If not, they need to be. If they are, try putting the hens on the roosts after they have gone to bed for a while. They may eventually get the message. Just do it after it is too dark for them to find their way back to the nesting boxes.
  6. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 6, 2010
    Bay Area, CA
    I agree w/ the previous posters. You want to make those nest boxes as desirable as possible to entice them to lay there. Hens want to feel safe as they sit and lay eggs. They don't want to feel vulnerable to predators. So nest boxes should be cozy and filled with straw or pine shavings to make them comfy. Hens tend to like them on the dark side or not out in the bright sunlight. This usually means they are back in some quiet corner where they feel safe. And DEFINITELY put in a few fake eggs or golf balls. This shows the hens that this is a safe place to lay eggs as others have laid here already.

    Take a visual inventory of your yard. If you have lots of thick bushes with lots of leaves under them where the hens can get in and hide, well, they may just go lay there instead. You can try and rake up those leaves or prune the bushes or do what you can to discourage them from laying in the yard.

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