Friday, November 28, 2008

Picky Pullet

As you may or may not have heard I have been gradually switching the nesting material in the chicken coop from straw to pine shavings. I started with three nests about 2 weeks ago. I let a week pass then switched two more nests over to shavings. Then last night I emptied the last 3 (including their favorite one) and filled them with the shavings. I did this late in the day so that when they woke up they would see that all the nests no longer had straw. When I went out to check for eggs I saw that there were two in the favorite nest and one in a separate nest. What good girls! They made the switch!

But it's never that simple with chickens is it? There's always one that has to be "special" or otherwise buck the system. And that chicken is usually a Plymouth Rock.

Case in point...this is Cheese Doodle, my only Buff Plymouth Rock. She's a little girl but a very reliable layer. I happened to be in the coop when she came in to lay her daily egg. She was having a snit. Her favorite nest no longer had straw in it but had pine shavings instead! The nerve! She fretted and fussed hopping from nest to nest looking for one that might have straw in it. The photo shows her eyeing her favorite nest. I picked her up and put her in the favorite nest but she wasn't having it. I decided to leave the coop for a while and see if she settled in. When I came back about 15 minutes later she was under the nest boxes with her backside firmly tucked into the corner! Oh no! My girls have always been very good about using the nest boxes. I couldn't let this bad habit begin! I kept putting her in the favorite nest but she popped right back out clucking away!

I had to come up with a solution and it seemed that compromise was the way to go. I put a large handful of straw in each of the 8 nests, just enough to cover the shavings. Cheese Doodle investigated the nests while I did this and she finally settled on one that seemed right to her. I left the coop again to give her some time alone. When I came back she was still in the nest! Good pain-in-the-butt girl! It seems that the compromise was good enough for her. She left me her signature pink egg. Whew!

Chickens! Oy!


  1. hehehe! This totally made me laugh. I've got a few hens like your Cheesedoodle. They fuss and go from nest to nest, too.
    Then they started laying in a corner of the henhouse, so that wasn't working for me because it was too far to reach in to gather eggs.
    I had to compromise, too. I found an old wooden basket and filled with with straw and put in the corner.
    They soon started pushing the basket out of the way to lay in the corner.
    But this time I wasn't going to compromise anymore.
    I attached the basket to the wall with a wood 'swing arm' that allows me to lift up and carry the basket out when I gather eggs.
    Those silly birds finally got the idea that I wasn't budging and settled in to lay their eggs. lol!

    What we do to make our chicken happy, eh?

    By the way, I really like you nest boxes. Great design and very simple and comfy. :)

    New Mexico

  2. Darling photo. Recently, we remodeled some nest boxes, well as you can imagine, that didn't go over well with the some of the girls.

    Are ya getting the pine shavings for free? We do at a lumber company. As long as we get up in the trailer, bag it, and haul it off.

    Yes, SweetPea is really cute, I sit down, hold her, rub my face in her fur 'cause she smells so good. She just falls asleep while I love on her. Pure contentment for me. I'm trying to spend quality time and snap many photo's of her while she's baby. Did I tell ya that she slept in he bed with us the first night that we got her? I'm fairly certain I could have house trained her. :-)

  3. This sounds EXACTLY like my Buff Orpington hen, "Ole' Bitty"! She will only lay an egg in a nest that already has an egg in it! If she can't find one with an egg in it, she will cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck! I just love chickens. They are each so unique.

    I love the photo!


  4. Some are so picky and then there are those that aren't! I wish the hens I have that like to lay eggs underneath the barn, in the corner of the stall or in the hay feeder would appreciate the trouble I go through to make their nest boxes cosy!! Love the name Cheese Doodle!!

  5. It doesn't take much to fool a chicken, does it? They certainly don't like change. I've been trying to put heavy plastic strips on their pop-door to break the wind coming into the henhouse. I put up two strips along the edges last week and they're finally used to it, but, oy, what an ordeal! I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to get the rest of the strips in place!

  6. Funny hen! My girls have shavings in their nests, but like to scratch it all out of the way and lay on the wood. My hens are weird!

  7. That is one hilarious photo. We're still sticking a handful of straw in the nest boxes every morning when we let them out. Silly birds. :)


  8. That first picture is too funny!!

    I put pine shavings in the nest boxes and they promptly quit laying in the nest boxes. So I put straw back in them and wa-lah. They're back to laying in the nest boxes.

    Chickens are so funny!

  9. You ought to send that photo into the "Backyard Poultry" magazine cover photo contest!

  10. Poor little Cheese Doodle... she's just like me and public restrooms! (I won't squat just anywhere! LOL)


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