Will Free Range chickens lay in their coop?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by VaticanChickens, Sep 23, 2014.

  1. VaticanChickens

    VaticanChickens Out Of The Brooder

    My hens are getting VERY close to egg laying age (16 weeks). They have a coop and a run, but during the day I let them free range until dusk. Will they 'automatically' lay in their nesting boxes in the coop? Should I keep them in the run until a certain time of day until I know they've started laying?

    We raised chickens when I was growing up - but they were always in the run so this wasn't an 'issue'.
    thanks!
    Ken
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    What you are suggesting isn't a bad idea. You want them to develop the habit of laying in the nest. The trouble is that you won't know when the first egg will come, especially this time of year.
    It won't hurt to leave them in the run till about 10 AM once the combs and wattles get bright red and they start checking out the nests.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Ditto^^^...or maybe even later, mid afternoon.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2014
  4. Just sayin

    Just sayin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ours free range and they all go back to the coop to lay when it's their time. Mostly... only had one so far lay a stray egg on top of the hay stack in the barn - and that was today. Can't say I blame her - she was close to the right place. Hopefully she'll get it right next time.
     
  5. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine have a coop with a run attached to it. I let them out of their coop at about 8.30am, but they are still contained within the run. The only place they can go from there is back into the coop!

    Usually by 10.30am the morning layers have laid their eggs. They will go into the coop to do that - always. At that point I let them out to free-range for the day, and the rooster will round them up for me again at dusk, taking all his girls to bed.

    The afternoon layers always go back to their coop to lay. Even if they have to separate themselves from the rest of the group who are free-ranging, and walk the entire distance of our property alone, they will. To date, I have not found an egg outside of the coop.

    The only thing I did to train them was when I first bought them all home, I locked them in their coop for a week. Poor things, they must have been so bored! But it established the coop as the safe and acceptable place to lay, so I'm glad I did it. If I ever move house I'd do the same again.

    Krista
     
  6. JodyJo

    JodyJo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    with my first flock, almost all of them would go back into the coop to lay...now I have a new flock, and even with keeping them inside all day and night, they ignore the boxes, found 2 eggs in the poop tarp under the roost, and my 3rd hen that is now laying took off like a bolt when I finally let them out, to lay in her spot under the tractor....she held it in for over 24 hours! Even when I catch her and put her in the boxes, ( I use buckets) she will just hop out....so I am getting aggravated now...how to train them..
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Try something larger than buckets, I'm assuming 5 gallon buckets...I found them to be kind of small.
    They'll fit in there nicely but not quite room enough to turn around comfortably without bending the tail in half.
    Even my smallest bird preferred the larger nests which are 16" tall, 14" wide and 14" deep with a 10" diameter entrance hole.
     
  8. JodyJo

    JodyJo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    well, I would believe that if the spot they went to was that size, but its not...its a tiny hole under the lawn tractor...barely enough room to move...its comfy and cozy I guess...I am going to try a different bedding and put a box in the coop and try that...maybe they just don't like the buckets..and yes, large buckets is what I am using...the same kind you can buy online from stores...
     

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