I got my first flock in 2005: eight heritage pullets that grew up to lay white or green eggs. I live on acreage and allowed them to free range, which mostly went well in terms of predators (two losses due to hawks in two years). I never got a lot of eggs and it wasn’t until later that I realized why. As a new chicken keeper I converted a building on the property to a cute, secure coop but installed their nest boxes too high (4’ off the floor instead of 1-1½’). They expressed their displeasure by laying on the floor, and more often than not, outside the coop.
I found communal stashes of eggs in the grass or the woods; and in places like on the welcome mat at my front door, in the tool belt of a tradesman working on my house, or in the outhouse. I learned not to collect all the hidden eggs because that alerted them to move on to a new spot. Even when I left one or two, it still twigged them to my strategy. Luckily I didn’t have any broody hens in that first flock or I probably would have lost even more eggs, or had hens hatching chicks in the forest. I have no idea how many eggs I didn’t get, but I’m sure it was significant.
I took a break from keeping chickens and rehomed those girls where they lived on acreage, but were penned for their safety.
When, in 2011, I got birds again I decided that I would confine them. I loved seeing them roam my property, but one of the reasons I gave away the previous hens was they had discovered the delights of my neighbours’ garden, much to their displeasure. I was also concerned about predators; we don’t have a lot, but do contend with raccoons, mink, raptors and dogs.
I build a 30’x40’ enclosure with a netted top, which contains their coop, storage shed, four fruit trees, and covered areas for year round access to dust baths and protection from the weather. A pen doesn’t have to be small, unattractive or feel like a prison.
One of the side benefits of having penned birds is that I always find their eggs. Most of them are in the nest boxes, but I occasionally find one on the ground outside the coop. I don’t have photos of all the interesting places I’ve found eggs, but I managed to collect some from other chicken keepers and present them here for your entertainment.
You’ll notice there are some themes that illustrate that hens definitely have their preferred places for laying, some well hidden and others, inexplicably, so public that all and sundry could find them.
Chimeneas & BBQs
Nail & Screw Boxes
In Storage Areas
In The House
This is one of mine: not just laid in an odd place, but also a weird egg. It’s a form of soft-shelled egg, called a tubular egg.
I think someone gets the prize for this one!
Feature photo credit: Kelli Anderson
Thanks to everyone who contributed to this piece. If you’ve got a story or photo you’d like to add feel free to drop me a line by using the ‘contact’ button on my homepage.
0 comments on “Chicken Eggs Laid In Odd Places: A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words”