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Your Chickens - - Contents -

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QMy point-of-lay hens have been very nosey re­cently, walk­ing around and look­ing in boxes and un­der bushes. I think they are look­ing for a place to lay their eggs - is this likely? And if they are, then how do they de­cide where to lay their eggs?

AMichelle Dunn says: I would say your hens are def­i­nitely look­ing for a place to lay their eggs. We know hens are look­ing for cer­tain things in a nest site. They want it to be dry, quiet, fairly dark, en­closed and undis­turbed. They like a place that is big enough for them to turn around and stand up in, and they pre­fer some­thing soft on the floor like dry earth, wood­shav­ings or straw. As to what makes any one chicken pick any one spot .... well. This is a mys­tery. A sen­si­ble chicken would choose the nest box that you have painstak­ingly made and po­si­tioned for her. Re­gret­tably, most chick­ens are not very sen­si­ble. Hens will choose an old plant pot, or a clump of thyme, or the cat’s bas­ket, or an old card­board box. When they de­cide to go broody they are even worse - I’ve had hens make nests on high shelves in sheds, un­der elec­tric saws and in the mid­dle of a goose­berry bush. Keep an eye on your hens, es­pe­cially for the first hour or so af­ter they wake up, and try to find the places they choose to lay in. Be pre­pared to step in if they choose some­where com­pletely bonkers!

A hen search­ing for a suit­able nest site

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