Free-ranging and Egg Collection

Almost Eden

Farm Hand
I wait until 11:00 am to turn my chickens out and most of the girls have all laid by then. The ones who don't lay early in the morning typically do a good job about coming back to their nesting box to do their laying. I consider myself lucky, because when I was growing up we had hens that would often hide their eggs when turned loose. I'm curious as to which behavior is the norm. For those who free-range, how do you collect the eggs?


Golden Chicken
Top Poster Of Month
When I get new chicks, I keep them fenced in around the hen house until they're almost full grown. The hen house has nesting boxes. They get the idea to lay in the nesting boxes, and once they're full grown I let them free range. You do get the occasional hen who hides her eggs, but most of them go broody, so they often disappear for a few weeks, and then come back followed by a line of tiny chicks.


Farm Hand
My hens have always returned to their nesting boxes. I think they feel safer doing their business in there. My ducks would usually lay in their nesting boxes too, but I had one that insisted on nesting in tall grass, so I just let her. I probably wouldn't let the chickens out of their run if they didn't use the nesting boxes. Having eggs everywhere will attract predators over time.