Watch Where You Step

Tillie Lays an Egg is a work of fiction. She didn’t really lay her eggs in those silly places. However, it was inspired by a bird who did not bother to lay her eggs in the nesting boxes. It looks like I have another one of these hens.

An astute HenCam viewer emailed me with concern. Tina was walking funny. Was she ill? No. Tina was about to lay an egg. Most hens hunker down in a nesting box, where they are safe and comfortable. It takes a bit of an effort to lay an egg. Some chickens are drama queens and make it clear how hard they are working. It’s almost as if they squinch their eyes shut and push. Others sit prettily, lay an egg, then daintily leave the nest as if nothing has happened. Others, lay their eggs, and then loudly announce their achievement.

Then there are the hens who would like to ignore the whole business of egg laying. They’d rather not take a moment out of their busy days to lay their eggs. If you know a toddler who refuses to go to the potty, and has that look, well then, you know what Tina is like. She walks around, getting more and more uncomfortable, and finally leaves an egg wherever she is.

Sometimes hens avoid the nesting boxes because of fear – perhaps a predator has been in the coop. Sometimes, there aren’t enough boxes for the number of chickens. Or, maybe, there’s a nicer place, like a pile of hay in the barn. None of this applies to Tina. The other day she left an egg near the chicken ramp. I didn’t see it until I closed the girls up for the night. Luckily, Tina lays white eggs that are visible in the dark. There’s not much that I can do about this except to watch where I step.


  1. Tina did not want to spend time caring for the egg-laying. She wants to live life without worries, if she could would take contraceptive. She wants to be a pop star :-)

  2. Angela- your response made me laugh!!Thanks for that! I also have a hen that will just lay wherever if the nest is busy- even though there IS another nest, so if there are not the expected number of eggs in the nest, I go looking…

  3. I have enough nest boxes but my girls love this one nest box. They will hold an egg til there’s no one in the box then race over to lay their egg in that one nest box. Really it’s funny to watch.

  4. Interesting…… if that egg was in my hen yard, it would end up being eaten. My girls would start playing with it and soon it would break revealing the yummy surprise center! They don’t bother the eggs in the nesting boxes, but I have a distinct feeling an exposed one would end up as a snack in a heartbeat.

  5. I had a chicken who would hardly even stop walking, out would come the egg and she wouldnt even look back, it was like egg hunting on Easter morning, one day I found a clutch of 8 eggs hidden behind a box, heaven knows how a chicken would be able to get there but obviously did, I tested them all, some I had to dispose of because they were a little old, hens have such individual personalities thats what makes it so lovely having them.

  6. “hens have such individual personalities thats what makes it so lovely having them”

    Ann-Marie said it for me… each of my 6 hens have their own laying habits, I’ve got to know what they like to do and where they prefer to lay (none outside, unless there’s a broody madam puffed up in the nest box – then I have to search the hedges!)