Chicken Nests

Bird nests come in a wide variety of forms. There are those that build on platforms, others create hanging nests, some are cup shaped huddled away in the shrub, whereas some prefer to use burrows or tunnels.

We provide nest boxes for our chickens, fill them with straw or shavings and the chickens (usually) lay eggs in them. The emphasis being on ‘we’, it is us who appear to be doing the work, so do chickens make nests?

Although it may not appear like much, chickens create what are known as scrape nests. These type of nests are quite typical of ground nesting birds and are perhaps the most minimalist of avian architecture. It serves one function, for the incubation of the eggs, and because it is exposed to predatory threat, location takes over from design. That said the nest is actually constructed; the hen will find the right spot, lower herself into position, and shuffle her body and feet until a depression is made. She will then undertake a bit of ‘sideways throwing’ and ‘sideways pulling’ where she casts aside any unsuitable material (stones or large sticks for example) and pulls more desirable materials (feathers, leaves) towards and in to the nest. It might seem basic but there is still a bit of an art to it I suspect.

Brahma nest


3 thoughts on “Chicken Nests

  1. I noticed that my chickens do this often but I never really understood why, but now I know. My chickens tend to sometimes lay in odd places such as in the middle of the yard or even on our patio, I wounder why that is.

    • Some birds just get caught short and seem to lack any nesting instinct I think. It would be worth checking that the nesting area is large enough, contains suitably litter and isn’t suffering from a mite or lice problem

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