Will freerange chicken come to coop to lay ?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by rosiethechicken, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. rosiethechicken

    rosiethechicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 2, 2010
    I am so glad to find this site with wealth of information and willing folks to share their experience.

    First time raising chickens. We have coop and we let the girls freerange all day.
    We dont have any run. They are BR, already 20 week old and no eggs yet.

    Will free range chicken come to coop nest boxes to lay or do we have to check every corner of 1/3 acre forever for eggs ? :)

    We have raspberry bushes, hosta lining the house, so kinda hard to go through every inch of the place.
    I can only imagine others with 10, 20 and 50 acres of free range :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2010
  2. mdbokc

    mdbokc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    Ours free range all day. They lay in the coop every day. We did have a couple that liked using a leaf pile for a week or so.

    Some experience difficulties. We have not thus far and overall, they will return to the nests to lay.
     
  3. Jeeper1540

    Jeeper1540 Chillin' With My Peeps

    a lot of people say when you know they are laying, lock them in the coop for a week so they get the idea eggs are laid in the coop
     
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Mine free range all day and MOST of them return to the coops to lay their eggs. I had one renegade find a special spot,
    [​IMG]
    and she convinced another pullet it was a good spot too...
    [​IMG]
    but I put the kibosh on that joint venture! They'd chosen a spot between a tree growing next to the house and the enclosure around the water heater.
    [​IMG]

    I set up a kitty litter box on the back porch as an "alternate" nest site for those who wanted to lay someplace exotic. The renegade girls thought it was a grand place to lay their eggs... for a while. Then they went back to laying them in the nest boxes in the coop. Dunno what that was all about, but it WAS during the time when Buffy went broody and hatched my first GrandChick.

    So I do take a walk every evening and check out that special spot and other places I think may lure a sneaky layer.
     
  5. gckiddhouse

    gckiddhouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 9, 2008
    Desert Hills, AZ
    Well, I will say that with young pullets, the place where they lay their first egg is REALLY important!!! If you want them to lay in the coop, then that should be the first place they do it. Otherwise, you have to lock them in there everyday for a week to make sure they have no choice.

    We had a young EE pullet that laid her first egg in a garbage can (mostly full) up on the patio. We don't put gross garbage in there. It was mostly newspaper on the top, but it was deep enough that she thought it was a good place. I had walked out to go check for eggs and happened past, took a double take, and discovered her. I tried to air lift her to the coop, but it was too late. When I picked her up, there was her first little pullet egg. Darn. I took her and her little egg to the coop and put them both in a box, but the imprinting was already in that garbage can.

    The next day, the chickens were out free ranging again. We had put the lid on the garbage can so chickens couldn't get in there. So here comes Hazel (the pullet that laid her egg in there the previous day). I watched her come over to the garbage can jump up on it and then look around. The look on her face said, "This isn't what I remember." So, she jumped down, went back over to the edge of the patio, turned around and came back to the garbage can. She looked like she was thinking, "Let me try this again, retrace my steps, make sure I am in the right place." She jumped back up and looked around, confused again. She did this several times.

    Feeling sorry for her, I took her to the coop and put her in a box, but she got back out and came to the patio again. I ended up locking her in the coop and she did eventually find a box and lay her egg. It was very upsetting for her, though. She spent about an hour pacing in the coop, very upset.

    So that is how the instincts of these critters work. They look for a dark, hidden place. One of the things I have done is prune the yard so that there are NO dark spaces anywhere in the yard for them to get in. That may or may not be a possibility in your yard. That helps if you can do it. The plants grow back and your hens lay in the hen house.

    One thing to keep in mind is that if you are locking a pullet in the coop to lay her egg. Be sure to also lock up any other pullets you expect to lay that day. You can let them out after they have laid. But if you have one locked in and there are others that need to lay, then you will have those hens looking for a spot in the yard.

    Good luck! Once they are all laying in the coop, it will be easy breasy, rice and cheesy. [​IMG]
     
  6. rosiethechicken

    rosiethechicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 2, 2010
    Thanks for the great advice.
    Oh boy, if there is anything abundant in our yard, thats hiding spots.
    The hosta lining the house around, raspberry patch about 20 ft long, wood logs for winter heating.
    As soon as they start laying, will lock them up in coop and see if they get into habbit.
    For now, at 20 wk, they have large red comb, wattle and range around happily from dawn to dusk.
     
  7. SugarDuck

    SugarDuck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 12, 2010
    Lamar, AR.
    I'm having a problem with this too. The only ones old enough to lay that we have right now are 3 White Leghorns, One Barred Rock and one RIR. Two of the Leghorns and the BR are laying but if you lock them up they will lay in their coop but they free range all day. We have one acre privacy fenced in with a few hiding spots. I feel bad because when we lock them up because it's been over 100 degrees this week and last week. We can find them usually in the yard but not always. I hope for cooler weather soon so that ours may do better.
     
  8. gckiddhouse

    gckiddhouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 9, 2008
    Desert Hills, AZ
    Quote:The bright red combs and wattles are good indicators that they are at POL (Point of Lay). You can periodically check their pelvic bones for evidence that they are or are not laying. Do you know how to do that? 20 weeks seems too early for eggs, depending on the breeds, but every chicken is different. Watch the one with the brightest comb. Pick her up and hold her backwards like a football with her tail facing front. Put your hand, fingers pointing toward the sky, up against her backside. You will feel 2 protruding bones. These are her pelvic bones. A non laying pullet's bones will be about 1 finger width apart and rigid. Once the pullet starts to lay, the bones will be 2-3 finger widths apart (depending on the size of your fingers) and will easily move apart as you touch them.

    Also, when a hen stops laying for a period (moult or broodiness) her bones will go back to being narrow and rigid until she starts to lay again. Her comb will also pale during broodiness. So this is a great way to tell who is laying and who is not at any age.

    Enjoy your chooks! [​IMG]
     
  9. rosiethechicken

    rosiethechicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 2, 2010
    Thanks gckiddhouse. They are Barred Rocks.
    I will try the pelvic bones tip you gave.
    I already feel like ObGyn :) (no offense to anyone).
     
  10. rosiethechicken

    rosiethechicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 2, 2010
    I did the pelvic bone test today.
    The three chickens that has very had and huge comb/wattle seem to have bones apart about 2 fingers
    And the two chickens that has pink comb/wattle seem to have bones apart 1 finger.

    May be I should try lock them up in coop for few days and see what happens.
     

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