Egg Laying Behavior

Have you ever sat quietly and watched your hen lay an egg? Being able to do this is yet another reason to have a coop that you can walk into and spend time in. The Gem’s egg production has been down, so for the last couple of days I’ve spent quite a bit of time observing what is going on (more about that in another post.) In any event, it’s fascinating to watch an egg being laid.

Each hen has a different laying style. Some hop into the nesting box, sit down, and within minutes lay an egg. Others spend a half hour loudly clucking, peering into each box, sitting on top of other hens, moving to another box, making an even louder ruckus, and finally settling into a cubby. That’s Agatha’s style.

looking at boxes

Once she’s in a box she’ll sit for awhile, stand up, circle around, sit back down, and repeat, until she finally gets quiet. It’s almost like she’s in a trance.

in box

This can last for about fifteen minutes, or sometimes more. I know she’s about to lay when she yawns. Next, her feathers stick out, making her look twice her size.


She’ll stand up,


and lay her egg just like that.

stand up

The egg comes out round end first (you’d think that the narrower, pointy end would come out first, but you’d be wrong.) If the nesting box is nicely bedded and if the hen doesn’t reach around to check on the egg, then it will sit there, upright!


Once the egg is laid, most hens ignore it. Agatha does. Off she goes to eat and join her friends.


Agatha is quiet after laying. Not all hens are. Onyx announces her achievement. If you want to hear a loud hen, go here.

The Clown Car

There is no difference between this:

clown car

from the television show “Modern Family”

and this:

nesting box jam

There are not two, but three hens squeezed into this nesting box. Etheldred is flat as a pancake underneath Agatha and Ruby. No one is willing to budge. No one can lay her egg because in order to lay, a hen must, at the last moment, stand up. Impossible in this jam.

Note that all of the other nesting boxes are empty.


A Charming Coop Door

I’m always pleased to hear that what I do inspires others. One of my readers, Jennifer, has a new flock and her talented and capable husband is building her a coop. She’s been reading my blog for chicken care advice, but has also come away with decorating ideas. It makes me smile to think that coops all over the world are now sprouting ladies room signs. (BTW, I copied my friend, Wendy, who put a loo sign up on her coop, so I can’t claim credit for the original idea.)


Jennifer’s coop will have a side area for storage, and the coop itself is large enough to walk right in. I approve!


Jennifer also liked the red door on my Little Barn. But, I have to say that she did it one better. Just look at this – an egg-shaped window! So, so charming!


Now, all this coop needs are chickens. I hear that they’ll be moving in soon.

One other reader photo for you – I got an update on Beryl and Topaz, my broody Buff Orpingtons that were handed off to a HenCam viewer who doesn’t mind broody Orpingtons. Kim lives near the ocean in Maine, and perhaps the sea salt fresh air has cured the girls, because they haven’t gone broody since their move. Or, perhaps it’s that they’re in a smaller flock with a lot of space and interesting things to do. In any event, they look great and they’re laying eggs. Here’s Beryl with one of her new friends.


It’s finally stopped raining here, and my girls will be getting a nice long outing while I spread compost in the pumpkin patch. I’ve already done my Memorial Day shopping. Agway was having a sale, 20% off one item. I got the broom that I’ve wanted for awhile. When I was a teenager I went to riding school in England. Every day we swept the stable yard. First thing in the morning, we stable girls would scramble for the best brooms. Some girls tried to hide the good ones, and if you were stuck with one of the brooms worn to a nub, it made chores ever so difficult. That experience certainly made me appreciate a broom with full bristles and bounce. To this day, a new broom in my hand makes me feel happy. What’s making you happy today?


Listening to the Neighbors

A maple tree grows at the back of the Little Barn. A family of robins has moved in. They are quarrelsome and loud, and often have spats directly overhead.

The chicks aren’t afraid of them, but it is rather like having a neighbor that you’d like to ignore, but can’t. The drama is simply too compelling to pretend that it’s not there.

This Ameracauna pullet stopped in her tracks to listen.


She’ll be going with Mr. Grumpy to a new home on Tuesday. Perhaps to a more peaceful neighborhood?

Mr. Grumpy’s Reprieve

Lucky Mr. Grumpy. One of my readers has a young flock that she’d like to free-range with a rooster. Her 6 week old cockerel is already showing signs of bossiness and aggression. She’s smart to recognize that he won’t be a nice animal to live with. Mr. Grumpy, however, appears to be just the sort of mellow fellow to have in a backyard.

Mr. G

It can be a challenge to integrate only one bird into an established flock. Two is easier. So, this stunningly beautiful Ameracauna is going with Mr. Grumpy. I’m hoping that she’ll lay bright blue eggs for her new owner.


They’ll be picked up on Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday five of the remaining chicks will go to the nursing home (much more about that next week!) That will leave six here. I’ve no idea yet what I’ll name them. You’ve given me too many good ideas!

For those of you in the States, have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. Much gratitude to those of you, and your family members, who have served this country in the military.