Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How to trick a chicken

Today on How Do Chickens Work?: How (and why) to trick a chicken.

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to trick a chicken, I recommend getting specially-produced fake eggs. I ordered some a few days ago, and today they came. Yesss. Step one of my tricky plan: complete.

This afternoon I used the eggs to seed some nest boxes that I would LOVE for the chickens to use, but that the chickens are not currently using. Some chickens are instead putting their eggs in crazy places, like on the ledge, or under the chicken house, or in the stone wall on the other side of the fence: all places where I cannot reach.

But here's what happens when the hens see a collection of wooden eggs in the nest boxes: "Oh," they think. "What a great place for a nest! Some wooden hen has accumulated a lot of eggs here already; this spot must be very safe. I think I'll put one in, too." And then they start laying their eggs in the nest boxes. Which is far more convenient for me, and saves Amy, with her healthy knees, from having to climb over the fence and back with eggs all the time.

And, hold onto your hat... ready to get your word-nerd socks blown off? These fake eggs are NEST EGGS. Then the hens will add to them. That's where "nest egg" comes from!

I have high hopes for these fake eggs. I used to try and trick the chickens with golf balls, but the chickens were not totally fooled. Instead of "Wow, what a perfect nesting site!", they seemed to think "Wow, these people are really bad at golf! This seems like a dangerous place to lay eggs."

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