I love collecting eggs from the coop. This gives me satisfaction that keeping chicken is worth it. Our mutual benefit is worth the troubles of feeding, watering, and giving them shelter. Generally keeping happy, makes me happy.
In the beginning, I just used to collect eggs when I felt like it. I would forget once in a while, for several days. No problem. I would still get eggs, but this time there were dirty. Being tossed around the litter and chicken coop would stain them. No big problem, I could wash them before consumption.
Until I noticed that when I did not collect eggs each day, I would find no eggs. If I made several visits each day to the coop I would several eggs. I discovered that my nice calm cool chickens had started eating eggs. But that is a story for another day. Today we collect eggs.
Where do chickens lay eggs?
The first thing you need to understand is the laying habits of chickens. Where do they lay their eggs? In the coop, of course, one might retort. While this is the case with most backyard poultry keepers and homesteaders with small coops, it is not always the case.
Chickens will lay their eggs anywhere they feel safe. Laying eggs is a function of reproduction. Chickens hope to incubate their eggs and get some offspring.
In enclosed housing such as coops, the chicken will lay their eggs on the floor when there are no nesting boxes. They find a nice corner to lay their eggs in.
Chickens will lay in nesting boxes that are well placed and designed for chicken privacy. This is true most of the time. Do not be surprised when they ignore the nest boxes and continue laying on the litter.
If you have a sizable backyard or homestead, chances are that you let your chickens forage outside. Chickens left to free-range will sometimes find a secret safe place in the yard to lay their eggs. They will cover the eggs with straw and leaves. I have severally found dozens of eggs, well hidden in a corner of my yard.
When to collect eggs
The best time to collect eggs is in the morning. Most chickens lay eggs early in the morning. The good thing is that hens will sing the egg song when they want to lay eggs. Some will even sing after they lay. If you are around the home or homestead, you will know that is your signal to go collect eggs.
How often should you collect eggs?
It is advisable to check for eggs every 3 hours or so. Doing this makes sure that eggs do not get eaten by the chickens. You will also collect clean eggs if you check more often. In case you are not there during the day, you can setup roll away nest boxes, where the eggs roll into a hidden compartment as soon as the eggs are laid. You will then collect the eggs when you get home in the evening.