Is she fak­ing?

El­derly hen may just be pre­tend­ing to lay, says Michelle Dunn

Your Chickens - - Egg-sposé -

When a hen lays an egg, she calls out to the world when she has fin­ished and comes out of the nest­box. At this point she is sex­u­ally re­cep­tive, so the cock­erel drops what­ever he is do­ing and rushes over to her to mate with her. He will of­ten wait out­side the nest­box un­til she emerges, so ea­ger is he to be there just at the right time. Is is pos­si­ble that Grumpy doesn’t want to lose this at­ten­tion, and so pre­tends to lay eggs even when she hasn’t? Or is it sim­ply habit - she is so used to spend­ing a com­fort­able 20 min­utes in the nest­box that she does it re­gard­less of whether she needs to lay, and calls when she leaves the nest­box just to find out where the other chick­ens are?

I re­ally don’t know. But when I look at all the wrin­klere­duc­ing creams on the su­per­mar­ket shelf I do won­der. Peo­ple pre­tend to be younger than they are - why not chick­ens?

ABOVE: Grumpy - is she fak­ing it?

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