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Where will my free range chickens lay eggs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by muddyguy, May 4, 2016.

  1. muddyguy

    muddyguy New Egg

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    I have 31 chickens...4 Roos and 27 hens...the first 7 are a little over 4 months old so im starting to look for eggs when i let them out of the coop...my problem is they only use the coop to sleep and free range all day...im wondering if they will go back to coop to lay or lay wherever,..they dont hang anywhere near the coop during the day...any ideas?
     
  2. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would lock them in for a few days so they have a homing, spot so they know where to lay.
     
  3. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    You didn't say if you have nest boxes installed, or have set up places where you want them to lay. I would recommend doing that if you haven't already, and then "seed" them with fake eggs when the time is close. For now you should probably do what @chicklover 1998 suggests and make sure they see that coop as home. You can block off the nests so they don't develop the habit of sleeping in them, then when you find that first egg ( no matter where that is) you can unblock them. The nests will be all ready to go with the fake eggs installed, bedding in them, and will make such an inviting place they should - and I say SHOULD, not WILL - return to the coop to lay. Good luck, and welcome to BYC.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Welcome to BYC!

    Ditto the not letting them sleep in the nests...
    .....and once you do see some eggs, might be a good idea to coop them up for a few days to habituate them to laying in the coop nests.

    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 for 3-4 days 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 24/7 for a few days to a week, 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.
     
  5. muddyguy

    muddyguy New Egg

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    Thanks for the advice...they do have nesting area in the coop...they dont sleep in the nests really...when i go to shut the door to the coop at night they are roosting up on the dividers between the nests...these are my first and second batch of 7...second seven is a month behind the first...if i lock them in the coop for awhile should i wait till im sure they are laying...would it affect them if they dont lay for another month...and last should i just set some golf balls in all the nesting stations? The Roos and the hens are all acting differently so i suspect somethings about to happen
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    So, chances they are pooping in the nests...which is why you don't want them sleeping in nests.
    I'd put an angled top on the nests, temporarily cover the nest openings, put up roosts(1 foot of roost length per bird) higher than the nests and 'train' them to sleep on them.

    I'd not lock them in the coop until you know at least one is laying.....hopefully your coop/run is large enough to confine 30 birds without crowding.
    Opening the nests by 5 or so months old with fake eggs/golf balls in them will help to get them to lay in the nests.

    The cockerel will try to mate before the pullets are ready to lay, that can be a problem with the pullets being harassed.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2016
  7. muddyguy

    muddyguy New Egg

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    Good advice thanks! Next 12 go to coop in 2-3 weeks...coop is at least 12x12 maybe a bit bigger...going to cover nesting area and get them to roost elsewhere...i suspect they started roisting there because it was wind protected in winter
     
  8. MikeTheGardener

    MikeTheGardener Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My friend's chickens are free range, and he said they are all over the place
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    You don't lock them in the coop at night to protect them from predators?
     
  10. muddyguy

    muddyguy New Egg

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    Every night...they return by themselves and i will go lock them in.
     
    1 person likes this.

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