Coop Upgrade = Anxious Hens

"Something new!  Looks like the lady's been busy!"

“Something new! Looks like the lady’s been busy!”

I learn things every day.  This weekend, I learned that hens, at least my hens, are not fans of change.

I thought I was doing them a favor. They thought differently.

I wanted to give them something new, something nice.  Since I needed to take out the roost in the goat shed to make room for the new goat lofts, I thought I’d give the ladies a top-of-the-line nesting box in the coop to thank them for their egg-laying efforts.

You see, the coop and run were well-built, because Very Excellent Husband Don was the designer.  The nesting boxes were, ahem, my project.  A poorly built tri-plex was tucked under the roost, a single unit was in the goat shed (long story) and I thought I was being clever by repurposing a bedside table for a lower box when Liberty was hatched.  Kind of a shabby chic thing.  Yeah, well, the shabby part was right.

Best intentions in mind, I got started.  First, I took the box out of the goat shed.  It was forever an argument about who’s turn it was in there anyway.  I was glad to see it go.  They didn’t take it so well.





Really, it was just here a minute ago...wasn't it?

“Really, it was just here a minute ago…wasn’t it?”

Then I set about building the new boxes.  It took most of the morning.  Getting the old boxes out of the coop and installing the brand-spanking new ones took most of the afternoon.  They weren’t happy.  Eggs needed to be laid.

Oh my goodness, I can't look - what is she doing?

“Oh my goodness, I can’t look – what is she doing?  I need to get in there NOW!”

Yes, I CAN see her.  No, I don't know what she's doing.  Quiet!

“Yes, I CAN see her. No, I don’t know what she’s doing. Quiet!  Cross your legs or something!”

Installation complete, I invited the ladies in so they could lay eggs in luxury.  Maude was the first one in.

Hmmm......I'm not liking the looks of this.

“Hmmm……I’m not liking the looks of this.”

Rapunzel came in squawking.  I gently put her in one of the boxes to show her how nice it was.

Here's what I think of your nesting boxes, lady.  I'll just lay my egg on the floor, thank you very much.

“Here’s what I think of your nesting boxes, lady. I’ll just lay my egg on the floor, thank you very much.”

They were standing around, obviously agitated.  I think they hated my cute pink privacy curtains.  Apparently I don’t have the shabby chic gene.

The pretty pink curtains were not the hit I was hoping they'd be.

Nope.  Ain’t never gonna make it onto Pinterest.  Curtains comin’ down.

Curtains removed.  Cindy Lou gives her approval.

Curtains removed. Cindy Lou gives her approval.

I was excited to see their new laying behavior.  I knew they’d settle in quickly.  With all that new space and fresh straw, wouldn’t they be happy?

Today, they squawked all morning.  Annoying squawking.  Unhappy squawking.

I gathered eggs mid-afternoon.

Seven eggs.  All laid in one box.  I swear.

Really?  REALLY?

Really? REALLY?

I give up.

(Shared at the Homestead Barn HopClever Chicks Blog HopBackyard Farming Connection HopCountry Homemaker HopDown Home Blog Hop, Frugal Days Sustainable WaysHomeAcre Hop, From the Farm Blog Hop and Little House Friday!)


  1. Backyard Chicken Lady says:

    Funny funny story! I love the captions, I am sure you captured their thoughts exactly. They will adjust I am sure, and hopefully try out separate nesting boxes. I guess the beautifying was more for you then them. I think it looks lovely 🙂

  2. Lesson learned on my end. Right now the girls are only 13 weeks so I don’t have boxes in the coop yet. When I do get them in there, they will not be temporary. No matter what! Thanks for the story it was very funny and I loved the captions for what the hens were thinking.

  3. Sadie T says:

    We have 8 hens and 6 nesting boxes. More often than not all the eggs are in the same box!
    They are creatures of habit, and funny too.

  4. Too funny! I loved this post…mainly because I could totally identify with it! 😀 We built a wonderful coop – a friend even dubbed it the chicken mansion. HA But as we built permanent roosts (and an awesome ramp to them, which they have only now resigned themselves to use) and then nesting boxes, I know our girls were thinking along the same lines: what the HECK are they doing to our place now?? I just love the pictures and captions. You totally nailed it! Visit us in Texas at
    Cheryl in Texas recently posted…Successful Hive Inspection

    • Hi Cheryl! Thanks for stopping by – I loved your Making Jam post last week. Looked so tasty!

      Ya know, some people think chickens are dumb. I’m not sure about that, but boy, they are definitely opinionated 🙂

  5. Haha!!! Too funny. I’ve learned this same lesson the hard way too. Chickens hate change! When my first flock was younger I put some dried leaves in their coop to freshen it up a bit and they wouldn’t even go in there at night. They were terrified! I installed new nesting boxes last spring and it took them forever to lay in there. My Easter Egger still lays in random spots all the time. Every once in a while I’ll find a pretty green egg in the strangest spots. It’s pretty funny actually 🙂
    Tammy/Our Neck of the Woods recently posted…Clearing The Camera

  6. Okay I can so relate to this post, hilarious! I swear we are on such similar life parallels. I put the babies… well not so much babies now, outside in a temp coop next the big coop and sectioned off a piece of the play yard for them. I have had crazy squawking since Sunday. My big girls don’t like change at all, even when its not them but next them. Surprise coming their way, they’ll be another change soon when we integrate the flocks into a larger coop.
    A View From A Brown Dog recently posted…Our weekend at the beach…

    • Well, I want to hear about the integration. Actually, I MAY hear it half way across the county. Let the squawking commence!

      Looks like your weekend was wonderful! Yipee!

  7. Hahaha! That was great! It’s kind of like my husband – he loathes change!
    Vickie recently posted…Zucchini, zucchini, zucchini

  8. Funny! Our chicks get SO confused when something changes, it’s Oh So Scary!
    Kathy recently posted…Meet the New Guys-

    • They are creatures of habit! I think they’ve recovered, however. I took all my cute pink curtains off the boxes and I gathered eleven eggs today – at least one in each box! Go girls 🙂
      Joan Hobbs recently posted…Why I Love Summer

  9. Don’t try to outwit the chickens- they always win. ROFL!
    Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick recently posted…Flock Focus Friday, 6/21/13

  10. Oh you cracked me up! Those captions…..Well, ours should start laying soon. I hope we have ours setup good enough the first time! Thanks for making me smile. Thanks for sharing!

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    Summers Acres recently posted…He’s My King