I was reading a thread in this forum about raising free range jungle chickens, but it was old so I figured I'd start a new one to ask my question, hope thats OK :)
I have a small flock of 6 semi-feral chickens of various breeds, all seem to be adapted to living and foraging for themselves in the jungle. The rooster and one hen are the tamest, but are not too interested in being touched or held haha. I feed them coconuts and meat and other kitchen scraps and occasional chicken pellets but they mostly feed themselves. They live between our house and the jungle, in a small vine-covered tunnel next to a fence, that they seem to have chosen as their home. I hope to build something there for them to lay their eggs in since they spend most of their time in it when not out hunting. They forage and hunt all over the property which is plenty of tropical jungle land. They can fly very well, and sleep high up in the large bamboo stand.
I want to get eggs from them, now that some are starting to get old enough. I tried making nesting boxes out of plastic totes with removable tops, by cutting a hole in the side and filling with the bamboo leaves they like nesting in, but they were not interested in going inside. I'm assuming because of risk from rats (we have lots of large ones here)? I am looking for suggestions for how I can keep them free-range but also be able to gather their eggs by at least knowing where they are laying them or somehow building a nesting area that I can convince them to use that is safe from rats (which are basically the only predators here, other than the occasional stray cat or dog which we try to keep away from our property). Thanks in advance! Photo of me and Floofy the rooster (he got named when he was still a fluffy little baby and I thought he was a hen! He is definitely the boss chicken, but is the smallest of the whole flock and its hilarious to watch him trying to keep up with all his tall, swift and long-legged hens).