Topic of the week - Coop training the flock

I think privacy is one of the main keys to getting them to lay in their nest boxes. They need to be dark and hidden.

Also, since I let my ducks out early in the morning, they haven't always laid their eggs by then, so I scatter boxes around their yard as well. It seems to work better to have boxes scattered here and there, rather than a neat row of them.

And they pay more attention to new nesting locations, so sometimes I even move the boxes. Recently I moved one under a cluster of thorny bushes, and put a cinder block in front of it to make it even more private. Almost immediately, about five ducks decided they wanted to lay in it. A few weeks later, no one cared anymore. So I moved it again. And they laid in it again.
Crazy Canards! but as Daffy Duck would say, " that's deshpicable"
 

Chelsa'sChicks

Songster
Aug 16, 2017
609
845
192
My chickens all free range 100% with out cages or coop. The entire barn is basically the coop, and they always return to it cause they are all a few years old and see it as 'home' by now. When I have young birds though I do keep them confined in the barn brooder box for a few weeks longer just so they know THIS is where you want to be. They then proceed to mimic the older chickens and free range with them and roost in the rafters of the barn about 20-25ft up like the older chickens.

As for laying outside.. I've never had a hen missing that was sitting on a nest in the grass and my chickens will actually head back to the barn and leave the flock from free ranging to lay an egg. They do however, have places within the barn they will lay eggs besides the nesting boxes.. Like in the horses hay holders on the their hay or up in the hay loft way back where the spiders are. They just want something private I feel.
 

Smr

Chirping
Jun 7, 2017
38
54
70
I kept my young birds in the coop for 4 weeks. Then I let them go out into their run for 2 weeks. After that I let them free range at the end of the day and watched for their return to the coop.
When they started to lay eggs I put ceramic eggs in the nesting boxes and they eventually started using the boxes instead of the coop floor.
 

ChickNanny13

Crossing the Road
6 Years
Jun 23, 2013
8,635
12,052
957
The Big Island/Hawaii
I bribed my girls with treats when I was first training them to return to the coop. I used a can with seeds in it. They learned/now know, what the sound of the can shaking means.
Did the same here, trained as chicks the sound of Freeze Dried MealWorms in a plastic container ... Shake several times & they come a running, no matter where they are. I had a few that would be waiting for me in the Coop/Run at close up time. Been feeding some feral chickens at the boat ramp, they've learned the sound of the shaking & my car.

Feedman77 is doing it right! must keep them in in the morning, after they have laid their eggs. Then they can go play
I don't allow my present girls to "free range" anymore, neighbor's got 7 dogs that are too interested even with the fence. I do put them out into the mobile tractor when the weather's nice but not until after they lay, only got 4BOs & they usually lay by early afternoon. Works for my schedule as that's when I'm home and available to keep an eye on those dogs.
 

BoyTheRooster

Songster
Jan 11, 2018
118
198
107
Christchurch, New Zealand
Most of our hens roost in a plum tree in the run. This isn't really an issue in New Zealand, our winter weather is pretty mild and they have shelter if they want/need it. Predators aren't really an issue either
All the hens lay in the nest boxes in the coop though, unless they good broody. In that cause they find some very good hiding spots in the run and turn about a month later with chicks :gig

Our older hens roost in the coops like good chickens. The reason the younger ones don't is they were raised outside the run (a naughty broody got out and hatched 14 chicks). When we finally got them back in the run, they just roosted in a tree like they had before. The the tree in the run is too high to climb and grab them to put them in the coop, so we just left it

As for getting them to use the coop/nest boxes, confining them to the coop for a few days works. If they have other chickens to copy from that can also help (but not always)

But does anyone know how to get chickens out of tall trees? Catching them before they roost isn't an option. To many hiding places

(Sorry this post is so long and probably weirdly worded, I'm typing on my phone)
 

path.otto

Songster
Jul 10, 2017
202
420
152
Mason City, IA
My chickens all free range 100% with out cages or coop. The entire barn is basically the coop, and they always return to it cause they are all a few years old and see it as 'home' by now. When I have young birds though I do keep them confined in the barn brooder box for a few weeks longer just so they know THIS is where you want to be. They then proceed to mimic the older chickens and free range with them and roost in the rafters of the barn about 20-25ft up like the older chickens.

As for laying outside.. I've never had a hen missing that was sitting on a nest in the grass and my chickens will actually head back to the barn and leave the flock from free ranging to lay an egg. They do however, have places within the barn they will lay eggs besides the nesting boxes.. Like in the horses hay holders on the their hay or up in the hay loft way back where the spiders are. They just want something private I feel.
I don't suppose they've eaten the spiders for you before you have to go look for the eggs?! :D Yuck, I'm afraid I'd leave them there.
 
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