I built two nest boxes with two nest each on either side of the coop. They have a hinged roofs so I can open them from outside the coop and retrieve the eggs, when they start laying. I don't expect eggs until October at the earliest. After the fall harvest and everybodies gardens are used up, I'll let my chickens free range for more than the couple of hours before dusk they get now but... When they start laying will they return to the coop and use the boxes or will they just drop an egg wherever they happen to be? I know there's no absolute answer but is there a tendancy? I was rather surprized to see that every night, just as it starts to get dark, they come home and march right into the coop and go to "bed." I go out and check on them, count heads, put their food in the coop, freshen the water and lock them up. When it's time to shut them in for the night, they're very cooperative. Are they usually as cooperative when it comes to laying? Do I need to keep them confined in the run (it's attached to the coop) until a pattern is established? I'd hate to have to search the woods for eggs or to have the eggs laying around giving the wrong idea to any potential predators.