What do you do when your chicken hides eggs outside? Currently we’ve got a whole bunch of pullets (female chickens who haven’t started laying yet) and one layer. Henny Penny. A close friend was moving out of her farmhouse and needed to find a home for Penny. We are so happy to be giving her a loving place to live.
At Penny’s previous home there were just a few hens. No roosters. And she was used to her old coop. Here at our house we have roosters and no other layers! She has no guidance on where to lay those beautiful speckled eggs of hers. Our chicken house does have nesting boxes but none of the other chickens are using them. And our boxes are up higher, whereas the nesting boxes in Penny’s old coop were at floor level.
When you transition an animal to a new house you have to keep them confined for a bit so they get used to the new space. The first few days we had Penny I kept her locked in the coop so she would know to lay in there. And she did. Not in the nest boxes but on the floor. Still, I called it a win. But the second I let her out she didn’t go back in to lay. No idea where the eggs were.
I looked everywhere for those eggs. But on a three acre property that’s more than half wooded my chances were low. Until one day I decided to mow around the blackberry vines. And walking back I spotted something at the base of a tree!
11 eggs! All the days she wasn’t laying in the chicken coop she was sneaking off to the apple orchard and laying at the base of a tree. Sneaky Penny. I promptly gathered them and took them inside. I knew full well that she would never lay here again after I took these eggs. And she didn’t. I resigned myself to thinking that I’d have to hunt for her eggs every week once she’d picked a new spot. A week later I decided to watch her and see where she was going.
She had picked a new location on the sheltered side of our back shed. Seven eggs! And one was still warm. She had just been there. This investigation also told me that she was laying in the early morning.
I thought I’d have to wait a week to find her new egg laying spot. Out of curiosity I went back to the previous two spots at mid-day the day after next. No eggs in the apple orchard but two eggs by the shed. Maybe she likes this place. I’ll keep checking here. Eventually she’ll have to find a new place because I’m going to fix up the shed and mow around it. It will become the winter home for the animals. But maybe at that time she’ll start laying them inside!
Do you have chickens that lay outside? Tell me about it! I’m curious if they pick the same place every time or if you have to hunt around for them like I do.