Okay, I’ve been doing this in the Big Chickenhouse for a long time and I’m better at finding them than they are at hiding them. Plus whenever they choose a nest that’s hard on my back, the rocks come out. But I am impressed with their persistence.
The girls had a good day yesterday so I wasn’t expecting much during this morning’s chicken chores. I saw one in a bucket nest, and a small hen was laying in this spot between the sunflower seed barrel and a concrete block that used to hold a waterer. I figured I’d leave her alone and collect whatever was there this afternoon.
But then she got up and moved on her own, and…
Those definitely weren’t there yesterday, so even though they had already averaged more than an egg per hen they apparently stayed busy in this new spot. There are a couple pressed down under the ones you can see – I hauled a dozen newly-laid eggs out right there. A couple of the Leghorns were upset with me: I think they believed they were really pulling off a good trick.
Instinct is a funny thing: None of these hens would ever be able to hatch a nest of fertilized eggs. They’d forget all about them. Brooding and raising chicks has been bred out of them. But there’s still a vestigial part of their pea brains that says – at least momentarily, every now and then – they’re mine, they’re important, and that human is stealing them!