Nest Wars

The approach of Spring also means that more hens are resuming laying eggs. Yay! The funny thing that many chicken keepers cannot figure out is why hens insist on laying in the same nest boxes. Is this the chicken version of “The grass is greener on the other side”? They all seem to want to occupy the same nest box that another hen is in, despite any space issues, and despite the availability of many other nest boxes. The hens currently have EIGHT nest boxes, but they usually still squabble over the same one or two. Silly hens.

The ladies of the Real Hens of Orange County are no exception. They frequently squabble and squawk at each other!

You’re in MY box!

No, you’re in mine!

I got here first!

I’m the senior hen. Both of you shut up and get out of my way!

First come, first served! I’m about to lay. Give me some privacy! There are many other empty boxes. Go to those.

But I’ve been in this box since I started laying! I always lay here. Y’all are so mean.

They push and shove, and cram together uncomfortably.

AND they get really loud sometimes. Sometimes for a long time too!

And sometimes, accidents happen. What kind of accidents, you ask, dear reader? Well, the most common are broken eggs in the kerfuffle. The worst incident with the RHOC occurred when one of them got poop on Sofie. Poor Sofie got poop smeared all over her head and comb. And no, it wasn’t the dry and neat kind of poop. It was the sticky, super stinky, will make you gag kind of poop. Poor Lady Human had to help Sofie clean off all the nasty poop. Ewww.

Why yes, that's POO on Sofie's head! This happened last year. Am still grossed out thinking about it. I thought I'd share the story with y'all, so you can laugh with (at) me over this memory. Seeing @alchemistfarm's hatching egg contest reminded me of this story. They're giving away hatching eggs for rare breeds people! Go to their page for contest details. What's even more fitting about the story is that Sofie is a rare landrace breed — a Swedish Flower Hen. Story below 👇🏼 . 🥚Nest wars. You chicken keepers know what that is. For you non chicken keepers, it's when silly hens fight over and insist on using the same nest box, as if there are no other empty boxes left for them to lay. They're usually are a ton of spots available, but they just like to fight over the same one. The grass is always greener on the other side I suppose. 💩 So on this particular day, Picasso and Sofie decided that they both wanted the same box. There was lots of squawking and squabbling. In the end, Sofie finally kicked Picasso out, but not before Picasso left a nasty present on her head. I don't think Picasso actually shit on her, but in the kerfuffle, Picasso probably kept going in and out, and managed to use Sofie's comb and fancy crest as a foot-wiper. 🤢😷 As you can imagine, the cleanup was loads of fun. NOT. It was so gross and stinky. Because of the location of the poop and how it was smeared well into her feathers, comb and skin, I had to use my bare finger and hands to wash the crap off little by little. I had to use cotton swabs too. So gross! I didn't want to accidentally drown Sofie under a stream of water running water, nor did I want to get poop in her nostrils and eyes. I literally am shuddering at the memory as I write this. Eww. . #chickenshit #poopeverywhere #nestwars #chickens #swedishflower #swedishflowerhen #lovemychickens #chickenlove #chooks #backyardchickens #petchickens #urbanchickens #chickensaspets #freerangechickens #freerange #pastureraised #fresheggs #fresheggsdaily #farmfresheggs #chickensofinstagram #urbanfarm #urbanfarming #backyardfarm #sustainable #sustainableliving #homestead #urbanhomestead #biodynamic #realhensofoc

A post shared by Real Hens of Orange County (@realhensofoc) on

Sometimes physically putting a hen in an empty box works, but many of the RHOC are stubborn and will just hop back out and continue to fight over THEIR box. Oh well. Let’s just hope that there’s no poop-head hens this year! How do you handle nest wars?

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