The Truth About Sharing

Yes, in Tillie Lays an Egg, the hens share and take turns. But, sorry, that’s a work of fiction. This is what happens in real life:

not sharing

Philomena and Agnes both want to lay their eggs. There are three nesting boxes. The other girls are outside. Plenty of room, right? Wrong. They both insist on the middle box. Today. Yesterday they laid eggs in the right-hand box. What one has, the other wants. It’d be funny, except sometimes they get so pushy that they trample their eggs.

The egg that you see to the right is a decoy egg. It’s wooden. It’s used to convince new layers to lay in boxes and not on the floor. It works. Well, for everyone except for the aptly named Eggers, who lays whenever she is ready, wherever she is. Today it was on the floor of the coop. The other day it was under the bunny hutch. Last week, it was in the mud, in the rain. I stepped on it before I realized it was there. Once she lays her egg, she doesn’t look back, which is a very Tillie-like thing to do. So, there is some truth to my book!


  1. I have 6 hens and two nest boxes. ALL six hens lay their eggs in the same nest box! I’ve stopped putting hay in the one because nobody ever uses it. They are silly, that’s for sure!

  2. LOL… My girls do the same, I have 5 hens with two nesting boxes. Sometimes they sit on top of each other or stand outside the nesting box and pitch a fit till who ever is in there leaves!

  3. We are new to having hens, We have 6 and are getting about 3 eggs a day now. Got 4 the other day. We have so much fun with them, love the egg presents they leave us. Ours are not using either of the two boxes we have for them. they all lay next to the boxes.
    I love watching your hen cam and reading the fun comments.
    We are in Washington state.

    • Have you tried a decoy egg? If so and they’re still laying on the ground, there might be something about the nesting boxes that they don’t like. Can they get in and turn around? Is there bedding? Look at it from a chicken’s perspective. Good-luck!

      • I had never heard of decoy eggs until I read it yesterday on your site. I will see if I can find one. we do have shaved wood chips in the boxes same as on the floor and they are big enough, we had a lid on which we took off thinking that might be it but made no difference. might be that the boxes are sitting on the ground too rather than raised like yours. well thanks for your suggestions.

        • We have 8 hens and 3 nesting boxes. We use ping pong balls to lure them on the nest. They work pretty good. We just had a hen go broody on us she would collect all the ping pong balls in her nest. They have made 3 nest on the floor in some hay as well, most of the time that’s where they lay their eggs.