Will my free run chickens continue to lay eggs in their nest?


8 Years
Apr 8, 2011
I have 12 chickens all around a year. They've been here for about a month now and I had them closed up in their coop then entire time. I just started letting them out to free range and I'm worried I will start losing eggs due to them laying them in other various places than in the nests. So far they seem to be coming back to the coop to lay but I have 10 acres and there is a lot of junk for them to hid and lay in. This is my first time having chickens and I want to make sure I keep getting eggs. Should I fence them off a place to free range? Because right now they have free run of the property and seem to be staying close to the coop. I don't know what to expect from them. In case this info is important I have 6 black sexlinks
2 white chickens (no idea what kind they are)
2 road island reds
2 red cochin's
1 red cochin rooster

plus 6 pullets that are about 2 1/2 months old.

Thanks for your advice
My girls all lay eggs in their favorite next box even if they are freeranging out of the run. little escape buggers that they are. Everyday I find 21 eggs in the 3 preferred boxes.
They will lay but everyday can turn into an Easter Egg hunt !!
We have 8 that are old enough to lay. They spent the winter confined to their coop and run area. Now that they have access to the whole back yard they still seem to be coming back to the nest boxes to lay. I don't know if this will change as this is our first spring/summer with layers.
They start off staying pretty close to home but eventually wander further away, always coming home at night. Most of them will still lay in the nest boxes but if one feels like going broody she might take up an outside nest. If you start to slow down lock them up for a couple days and get a full count again to compare and then you will know for sure. With only 12 chickens you should be able to tell.
Thanx for this post! I have a 2 yo Rsl that refuses to lay in the nest box. She was frantic one day trying to get out of the run so I obliged to her wish, even kept her out for about a wk to watch for broody signs. She picked an area to lay her egg but as soon as she's done she hangs around waiting to be let back in with the others. Now she.s escaping in the am & I have to let her back in. I wonder how long she will keep this up. Anyone else have issues like this?
My 8 laying hens are over a year old and are now free ranging all day for the past couple of weeks.

Only 2 are coming back to the coop to lay their eggs.

I've been thinking of locking them up for a couple of days just to remind them of where they need to lay. It's great having the feed bill cut down so low, but I want my eggs back.
My barred rocks and buff orps tend to lay in the box. My rir crosses tend to hide their eggs and when I finally discover where they are hiding their eggs, they will move on and find another spot.
Once my young pullets start laying the rirs are finding new homes.
Mine free range during the day on 12 acres they stay pretty close to the barn where their coop is,all but 2 lay in the nest boxes.One lays under a saddle the other, lays in a empty feed bucket.I hope I stay this lucky,don't like wandering aimlesly
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