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I have 5 Buff Orpington hens that are approx 6 months old. The hens' combs are just starting to get darker. We also got a BO rooster that is supposed to be a "little older" - he is bigger than the hens (but that can be just because he is a rooster) and his comb just recently got really bright red. (I got them all at the same time about 3-4 weeks ago.) They free range and I do not know if they are laying yet. Definitely not laying in the coop. I have been checking their favorite places to hang out and found nothing.

I am wondering if at some point I should confine them to the coop and a temporary run to determine if they are laying or not. Is it too early? Should I wait until their combs are nice and red?

My intention was to confine them when they start laying to train them to use the nesting boxes. But I am wondering if I should go ahead and contain them now.
 

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I agree with Dizzy. Contain them now with the nesting boxes available to them so they learn to lay there. Scavenger hunts can be frustrating - especially when you step on one you missed a while back. :yuck:
 

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Orpingtons take longer to finish growing than smaller breeds. Make sure they have a nesting box in the coop and put in a couple of fake eggs.
 
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How long B4 they typically start to lay? A friend has some that are 5 months old and aren't laying yet. I have pullets that are younger, and I got my first egg from one of them today.
 

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Heavy breeds and silkies start laying around six months. Light breeds start laying 4 to 5 months. I have sex links that I order that will start laying faithfully at 16 weeks.
 
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