Will Free Range Hens Lay in the Coop?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by HeidiG, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. HeidiG

    HeidiG In the Brooder

    Apr 12, 2010
    Hampton, VA
    I have hens that are 18 weeks old, so I'm hoping they'll start laying soon. I'm wondering if they'll lay in the coop, or if they might lay somewhere else? They free range all day - in the yard, under the deck, in the compost pile, in the bushes, under the wisteria, around the pool, etc. I'm worried about having to go on an easter egg hunt every morning!

    Will they go back to the coop to lay, or will they lay anywhere?
  2. Sir Birdaholic

    Sir Birdaholic Night Knight

    Mine go back to the coop, except 1 turk hen. She preferrs the brush pile.
  3. elsathecat

    elsathecat In the Brooder

    Apr 5, 2010
    Funny! I asked this same question about one minute before you did! See below for some answers.
  4. kcsunshine

    kcsunshine Songster

    Nov 3, 2009
    Maryville, Tennessee
    If they're used to laying in their nest boxes, they'll go back. If they've not layed before, they'll look for the first dimly lit, out of the way, let's drive mama batty, place to lay.
  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Well, nobody but your chickens can answer that question for sure, but I can tell you that MOST of my pullets/hens go back to the coop to lay their eggs. I found one hidden nest two pullets were using, but they'd only started the day before. So I cleaned out a large cat litter box, put pine shavings in it, and set it up on my back porch. I thought, perhaps, if they didn't want to lay in the coop, they might be lured into that nest. And I was correct - two or three of them lay in it, now.

    I think the coops (I have more than one) are just too hot right now. It's a tad cooler on my back porch, and they hang out there a lot, anyway. So, voila! a handy nest!

    Oh - I strongly suggest you put golf balls or wooden eggs in your nest boxes. That helps put it into their minds that's a good place to lay eggs.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2010
  6. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    some folks leave them in the coop until late afternoon, since "most times" they lay in the morning to early afternoon. THen, allow them free range the rest of the day. THen you are SURE they will lay in the nest boxes.
  7. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Mine do, but they were on lockdown in the coop during the period when the majority of them started laying.

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