When do they lay?


10 Years
May 9, 2009
Denver Metro area Colorado
someone told me that chickens only lay early in the morning and not to let them out of the run until after morning, so they get used to laying in the coop in the morning.
Is this true? i found a little leathery egg in the garden..but I want them to free range.
When will they lay and what do I do to get them to do it in the nestboxes in the coop?
Ours lay anywhere between 6:30 am and 6:00 pm. You would need to keep them pened with their nest area until the use it reliably before letting them free range. Even then you will have some that will lay anywhere they feel safe. Just think of it as a daily Easter egg hunt.
Ours lay between 7 a.m. and about 1 p.m. They've been laying since Labor Day. They are still rather young, 24 weeks yesterday. Ours free range in our yard every morning and every afternoon. When someone gets the urge, I've seen them run back to their yard and into the coop.
Hmm, I'll explain my set up. I have about 100 sq feet of run and two hen houses each with similar nesting boxes. I let all of my 8 hens out into the back yard to range and roam about 7 a.m. or so, but I leave the gate open a few inches wide (using a hook and rope), so that the dogs can't get in but the hens can. So far (except for a two-day period when one of my hens wanted to go broody behind one of the hen houses, fortunately I nipped that in the bud early), all of my 5 laying hens return to the run thruout the day, then go up into their preferred hen house and use the nesting boxes.

Interestingly, a couple of them switch back and forth between the two hen houses every few days, not sure why.

They all go into the run about 4:30 p.m. when they get their evening 'chicken salad' treat, gate is locked, then it's off to bed at sundown. To date, none of the hens lay eggs in the evening or at night. I have two hens that should start to lay any day now, it will be fun to see what they do.
I think mostly in the morning, but I've been woken up with the egg song in the wee hours. 3-5am and sometimes they lay in the afternoon.

My early egg is there by 7 am my last egg around 5pm-I know who she is though.Mine are out whenever they want to be but when it's egg time they just go back inside to lay and then strutt their stuff coming back out.
Simple answer .. .when they are ready.

Mine lay anywhere from 6:00 am to dusk.
When mine first started to lay it was only in the afternoon, after a couple of days they seemed to be done by 1pm, yesterday no one laid anything after 12. I've stopped letting them out of their pen during the day, except about 1 -2 hours before sunset. I had read on BYC that this is a good way to make sure they use the nesting boxes. Since only about half of my ladies are laying or on the verge it will be a bit before they get free range all day.
mine mostly lay in the morning, they all seem to be done by around 10:30am. The door on their coop stays open to the run though so they are usually out and about early then they go back in the coop to lay their eggs. I've only had one hen lay an egg in the run, we took it and put it in the nesting box (after marking a big x so we knew which one it was ) no problems since then.

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