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nesting drama

We recently rearranged our back patio, and had moved a shelf that had previously been unused. On Mother’s Day I was out having coffee with my Mom and a friend, and my husband texted me this photo, with the caption “interesting.”

hens on shelf

Later, when I checked the shelf, I discovered that Gloria had laid an egg. Since there is nothing soft up there, it had gotten cracked. I didn’t want to encourage this behavior, so I filled in the shelf with some other items. We only have one nesting box in our little coop, but usually it’s not an issue, because Cleo lays in the morning, and Gloria lays in the afternoon.

This morning, I let Gloria out of the coop and Cleo was still up laying her egg as usual. Oftentimes, Gloria will squawk a bit until Cleo comes down to join her, but today she started a real ruckus, way louder and more insistent than usual, even when I went out to try to comfort and quiet her (everyone else was still asleep, and I myself was hoping for a few more minutes). Then I remembered that she hadn’t laid an egg yesterday, and I wondered if she was REALLY feeling the need to lay, and trying to tell Cleo to hurry up. Cleo was, of course, taking her sweet time, so I felt sorry for Gloria, and was also afraid that she was going to wake my kids… let alone the entire neighborhood, so I went over to the shelf where she had laid on Sunday to see if we could make a temporary nest for her. As soon as I started clearing it, she hopped right up, so I quickly put down some paper towels. She promptly started scratching these out of the way, so I added some straw, and a couple of bricks to keep her from scratching that off, and she settled in.

Meanwhile, Cleo finished laying, and came out squawking, presumably to tell Gloria she was finished, but Gloria was content where she was. Now Cleo wouldn’t shut up. There was no going back to bed for me, and it was time to wake everyone else anyway, so we all started getting ready for our day. Eventually Cleo had quieted, so I went outside to confirm that all was well, and to collect the eggs. This is what I found:

hens nesting on shelves

Now they were both on the shelf. Poor Gloria couldn’t get any privacy! But at least they seemed content, so I went back inside. As we were finishing breakfast, both of the hens started squawking. Now what? I went to the window, where the cats were enjoying the soap opera, and saw this:

cats watching hens nesting

Both were up there craning their necks and squawking away. What the heck was the problem? My daughter suggested that the shelf is too high, and they were afraid to come down. Really? They had no problem with this before. But I went out to help them down anyway. Perhaps Cleo wouldn’t get down because Gloria was still up there, and Gloria couldn’t get down because Cleo was in the way? Finally, all was quiet on the backyard front again. And indeed, Gloria had laid her egg, despite all of the chaos. Sheesh!

egg laid by hens on shelf


7 thoughts on “nesting drama

  1. It seems to me that Gloria and Cleo are, like most of God’s creatures, endeavoring to find harmony between adventure and routine. Too much routine…..boring. Too much adventure……unsettling. Approximately half and half……aaaah, just right.

    Have fun with the balancing act!


  2. I think your daughter might be right about the height thing. Bronwyn, my biggest chook, does not jump down easily. She, of course, doesn’t know this so jumps up on things often. Then whines and shuffles about trying to figure out how to reverse the procedure. I am forever lifting her off “high” bits (like anything over 1 foot). I hope you don’t have a chicken with a similar phobia (or is is just plain sense) who is laying in a high spot (which is not sensible if you hate heights). Oh dear, oh dear.

    • Oh dear, indeed! Yesterday, Gloria was the mischievous one, and decided to fly to the very top of the shelves (about 7′!) and then started squawking like you wouldn’t believe. I had to get a ladder to help her down. Luckily, I think she learned her lesson, and hasn’t tried it again. šŸ™‚

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