All or Nothing or Sometimes

May 30, 2012 | 3 comments

It’s seldom all or nothing with chickens.  They don’t all come when called.  They aren’t all friendly.  Sometimes they aren’t all hens and, even if they are, they aren’t all good layers.  And, despite popular opinion, they don’t all roost on their perch at night.

In fact, in the five or so years that we’ve had backyard chickens, we’ve never had a group that consistently slept on the perch.  Some have bedded down on the floor of the coop, making a sort of nest in the carpet of hay.  Others have used the nest boxes which entailed other problems.

Hens seem to be fastidious about where they lay their eggs, though not so picky about where they poop.  When Farmer Nyel built their coop, he installed dropping boards beneath the perch.  These can be easily removed for cleaning and are not in an area where the chickens are likely to walk.  If the girls use their perch consistently, their coop stays neat and tidy, and so do they.

However, when they choose other places to sleep (and poop, which seems to be a part of a chicken’s nighttime routine), life gets more complicated.  Hens go to great lengths to lay their eggs in a clean area, but that sometimes means that the eggs are precariously placed so as to miss a recent dropping.  Chickens don’t seem to have much cause-and-effect kind if reasoning.  They don’t ever figure out that fouling their nest boxes makes for tricky egg laying.

Our new brood didn’t seem much smarter than any of our past girls.  The first night they were outside, several didn’t even return to the coop as twilight faded.  Nyel had to put them into the coop one-by-one.  So imagine his surprise when, on the second night, he found all girls not only inside but on the perch!

Last evening I went with him to batten down the hatches and I took my camera ‘just in case.’  Sure enough, they were up on the perch all in a row!  I don’t know if it’s logical to feel proud of chickens but… I did.  Never mind that they weren’t all facing the same way.  As previously noted, it’s seldom all or nothing with chickens!


  1. Nancy

    “Grandmother” to another group of girls thinks that your new flock will provide antics for fun writing by you and great “reads” for your fans.

  2. Jenny

    Awww…aren’t they cute all lined up in a row!

  3. Stephanie Frieze

    Wow, are there “chicken treats” they can have as positive reinforcement?


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