Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Proof that chickens are crazy

Chickens can be particular about where they lay their eggs.

The first nest boxes we tried were stackable platic crates with holes in the sides.

The chickens hated them. Wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole.

We heard that a cat litter box with a top worked well, and they do love that. But they are neither cheap nor stackable. Well, one is cheap. Six or eight are not.

So my husband installed a 6-holer that he built from scrap wood.

They use it grudgingly. Their two favorite spots are still a) between the 6-holer and the wall on the right, and b) the cat litter box.

The 6-holer has a preferred seating arrangement. Bottom row is best overall, and first choice is always bottom right. (We placed golf balls in all the nest spots, to convince them that it's ok to lay an egg there, but most days they're not buying it.)

1: Lakenvelder arrives to find all the good nest boxes already taken.

2: I like your spot so much better than mine.

3: Lakenvelder leaves? No. Look closely at the bottom right. A Buff Orpington is already in the plum spot, but that does not deter Ms. Lakenvelder. She decides to lay her egg ON TOP OF the other chicken.

4: Oh wait, maybe it's better over there.


NoIvory said...

Ha! Hysterical photos. I've wanted to raise chickens. But I'm a weekender in CT, and I work during the week in NYC. I'd have to start my own business and move up there full-time! I don't know what's stopping me... Anyway, we have lots of hawks who love chickens, and I'm sure I'd be more of a mother hen to the chickens than their own moms, which would put me over the edge! Thanks for the fun photos. NoIvory

sugarcreekfarm said...

What a hoot, er, cluck!

Olivia got Lakenvelder chicks, looks like she will have some pretty hens when they grow up.

Rexroth's Daughter said...

That's a great documentary! Very funny. You definitely captured their crazy behavior.
Went to the camera store yesterday-- but they didn't have the Canon digital rebel. The salesperson tried to sell me a film camera, extolling its superior quality photos. Next stop-- the mall.

shannon said...

When our old silkie went broody, she was constantly being sat upon by the other hens who had all decided she had the best spot of all. :)That nest box looks good - do you have anything set up on the top so they don't roost on top of it and poop everywhere? p.s. Our girls hated the plastic crates too, oh well!

Jean said...

Priceless photos. Wonderful.

Charles said...

hey listen, you can do some seriously cool art with those images. they look like Joseph Cornell boxes or something. they look musical, like notes, and beats, and syncopation. Imagine an entire wall covered with large reproductions of that. It is really not hard to imagine seeing them at the next Whitney Biennial. Large output is your only challenge.

Hick said...

I think I have to agree with Charles.

Those are super pictures.

roger said...

thanks for the pix and commentary. chickens are rather picky about nests. they might like slightly smaller spaces than you have. why is there a hole between boxes? golf balls! grand idea. i was happy when my hens laid eggs anywhere other than on the floor litter. i do recall seeing one climb in with another and sit atop it.

it's been while since i've had chickens--too long. they seem to me dim-witted (to the point of stupidity) but charming.

LauraP said...

How very typically chicken. Aren't they fun?

TurtleHeart said...

Hilarious pix. Love the commentary. Thanks for the laugh.

Rhodent said...

You do have funny chickens...I love your posts about them!

Maktaaq said...

How long did they avoid the plastic crates?

jojo said...

Too funny! But you're scaring me; we've got our first laying hens coming in 10 days and the hubster has been fussing over their roosts like crazy! We've only ever had meat birds before and I'm convinced that their is no telling what the hens will like, but he's all for trying for milk crates and piped-in Puccini. Aacchh!

Rurality said...

Thanks for all the comments. Chickens are so much fun. Never a dull moment!

Yes Shannon the top is very slanted so that they can't land there... We were warned about that.

Charles, you are too kind. I had to go look up Cornell - very cool.

DPR, the thing doesn't have a back since it is really designed to be attached to the wall of the coop. But it ended up on the floor for various reasons. There is a little space between the back and the wall - just enough for a Lakenvelder's head!

Maktaaq, we were dogged in our persistance with the crates... we just took them out a couple of weeks ago. All the chickens wanted to do was poop on them.

Jojo, I have heard that some people use the milk crates with no problem. Maybe it's just the breed of chicken? Ours also liked laying on bales of hay and in half-full bags of wood chips.

Don't know about the Puccini but it probably can't hurt! We don't have electricity in the coop so the only music ours get is when I sing to them. I can't even carry a tune, but they don't seem to mind.

Anonymous said...

Those pictures really had me laughing.....boy can I relate! And your nestbox situation is very Brady Bunch. :)

My hens are so funny about the nestboxes. There are plenty for everyone, but whichever nest is used first thing each morning becomes THE Nest for the rest of the day; all the hens piling in one after (or on top of) another.


Rurality said...

Sarah you are so right! Brady Bunch all the way - why didn't I think of that?

Yep sometimes ours will wait in line to lay in a particular box.

Charles said...

>> Charles, you are too kind.

just the facts, ma'am

Zanne said...

What funny photos...do they mind you taking their pictures? This looks like "Hollywood Squares - the Poultry Version". I'm so enjoying your photos and narrative.

Rurality said...

Oh no, first Brady Bunch and now Hollywood Squares! How did I ever miss those two allusions? You'd think I hadn't wasted half my youth watching tv, which I most certainly did. :)

They didn't seem to mind me taking the flash pictures, as long as I didn't get too close.

Chicken Nesting Boxes said...

Ours are crazy too. Two nesting boxes for four Chickens but it may as well just be one. They all refuse to use one of them even though it is exactly the same as the other one. That's Chickens for you!