Every Day an Easter Egg Hunt December 3, 2012

Daily Egg Hunt

Recently I went out to pick the last of my string beans. There is nothing that beats the taste of fresh beans right off the vines. As I picked I noticed something under the plants that didn’t seem to be the color one would expect to see in the midst of a bean patch. Hidden deep under the foliage, in a neat little nest was two blue-green, one chocolate colored and two small white eggs. They had to have been laid there since the last time I picked my beans which was only a few days days prior.

Egg hunt - my buff orpington watches over a nest of hidden eggs

Our Buff Orpington ‘Carmalita’ checking out the stash.

This is not an unusual occurrence around here. There are only a few places my chickens can’t find a way to get into. The house of course, and the front yard are off limits. But the rest of the property is—in their opinion—theirs, no matter how I try to keep them out of certain areas. They also seem to be determined to lay their eggs someplace well hidden other than the nest boxes I set up for them. So when I go out to collect the eggs I have an egg hunt on my hands. I have to check not only the nest boxes but also every conceivable place a hen might find to lay her eggs. And with the perpetual mess around here there is an abundance of hiding places. Once I find a spot where they have been laying and remove the eggs a couple of times, they go looking for another hiding place. Apparently they love playing egg hunt!

I’ve found eggs in several places in the garden, in the compost pile, in the dog house (which they’ve scared the dogs into never entering), in the green house, between bales of straw and in the wood pile just to name a few places. We have a canoe which is stored upside down behind the storage shed when we’re not using it. One of my  Jersey Giants began laying up inside the canoe on the under side of one of the seats. I only found them because I saw her go under it once and decided to investigate. She had laid about a dozen eggs by that time. I once found my Partridge Cochin sitting on a clutch of eggs she had deposited in a bucket. After I found them she never laid there again.

I also have an almost blind Easter Egger that still gets around quite well but I have to keep her separate from the others because they pick on her. She finds her feed and water okay but she lays her eggs wherever she happens to be. So there’s no telling where I might find her eggs.

Most of my hens lay their eggs in the nest boxes which are provided for them, but a few rebels continue to make every day an Easter egg hunt.

traci December 3rd, 2012

Hi Les! I loved your story. I’m convinced my chickens have been doing the same, but I haven’t found their hiding spots yet. Sounds like I need to play the investigator and sit and observe them for a few hours one day.

Also, I, too have an old easter egger (eight years!) who is nearly blind. The younger hens have ostracized her, so she has taken to hiding out in one of our nest boxes in the mornings. It really saddens us. Does anyone else have experience with older hens being ostracized by new young additions to the flock?

Carrie December 4th, 2012

Why do chickens hide their eggs? Does it upset them when their eggs are collected?

Angel December 4th, 2012

My hens used to do the same thing. Finally I got rid of any possible hiding place they could get to. Now, my hens are so spoiled that they only want to use one of the three nest boxes that they have, so if another hen is in it at the time they want to lay they will just run around screaming untill either that box is unoccupied or they can’t wait anymore and lay their egg wherever they happen to be standing. How do you stop chickens from being so spoiled? They will also come in the doggie door if they don’t get their daily treat or if we don’t feed them on time. They are so funny.

les December 4th, 2012

That is so funny Angel. Mine haven’t discovered the doggie door yet but they follow me all around the yard demanding a treat whenever I’m out there.

Delita Baker December 4th, 2012

Several times when I go out to feed my horses hay, I will find eggs hidden in the hay. I have tried to keep an eye on the hens to locate the eggs before they get old. If I find a nest, and I know I will not be disturbing it for a while, I will collect the eggs and put fake (glass/ceramic) eggs there to try to keep the hens laying eggs in that spot to where I am not finding them by accident. I get the glass eggs from Hobby Lobby and write “dummy” on them to where the glass eggs won’t be collected with the fresh eggs. My hens will lay eggs in some of the strangest places…..even on a shelf in my feed room, in the top of one of my tool boxes, in a horse feed trough, etc. I have a washing machine in the barn to wash winter horse blankets in for my horses. Recently, a small hen has been laying eggs on top of it. I have a small wagon that I hook up to my lawn tractor and put hay in to carry out for the horses. I found an egg in it also. I have 6 hanging nest in the hen house. But if the hens are free to wander around, I will find eggs just about everywhere. Some of my hens fly over the fencing that is around the hen house. I have a variety of breeds of hens……..black austrolorps, rhode island reds, dominques, barred rocks, americana’s, 1 light brahma, 1 new hampshire, and some americana crosses from eggs that I hatched out in an incubator. Only have 2 Americana roosters. I thought if the eggs were blueish green that the resulting chicks would be Americana since I only have americana roosters. However, think some of the blue green egg chicks are crosses between the rhode island red, or black austrolorps because of the color of the chicks when grown. Love having chickens around my place. Due to the drought down here this year, the grass hoppers were very bad. My chickens loved them!! Some of my hens are getting very old, and some I hatched out this spring…….and are laying pretty good now.

Steven Josephsen December 10th, 2012

Carrie, Hens hide their eggs as a normal part of their birdbrain view of the world. They need to lay up a clutch which might take 3 weeks at one a day. If the eggs were out in the open, all manner of predators would get the eggs and spoil the clutch. If chicks are to be hatched, the nest must be hidden for yet another 3 weeks until the chicks hatch. So it’s all part of the great design God put into a chicken’s head.

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