Hi from the east of England! Our neighbours across the road have a free range flock of about 30 birds & a rooster. When they first arrived a year ago we had a garden full of chickens which was quite fun especially as we only had two cats at the time and they show no signs of wanting to chase the birds. After a couple of months I found a chicken in behind a hedge that was sitting on a huge (it turned out to be twenty) eggs. She must have been there some time because she looked seriously rough. Our neighbours are polite but don't initiate contact, this is England after all, but I braved the short walk and told them about their hen and they duly came and removed her. Next day she was back and layed a nice new egg but this time I got them over straight away and she was hauled off to chicken pokey. We don't know what became of her. A few months later I made the long walk to tell the neighbours that our new puppies were arriving soon and we couldn't be responsible for their chickens safety but they said that the chickens (and the puppies) would have to take their chances. Strange but true. The puppies are now five months old and have taken no chickens but our visitor numbers diminished to only two, Blanche and Stella, who set up an old basket on our porch, delicately decorated with dry grasses and moss and who layed an egg or two a day for us.They arrived in the morning and went back home in the evening. At least that was the routine until a couple of days ago. Blanche isn't going home. She spends most of the day in the basket, still lays us an egg, gets up and grubs around the garden, does whatever else chickens do and settles down again. Problem? We do not want to keep chickens. Please do not fall apart with horror but we might as well chain ourselves to a stake in the garden. We have no-one to take care of chickens when we go away to Scotland with our dogs. Finding a cat sitter isn't hard but a chicken sitter? No way. I took Blanche back home yesterday but she ambled back, flew over the five bar gate and popped up into the basket. Much as we love her how do we get her to go? Grateul for any suggestions.
Chicken laying in our yard
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Remove the basket. Chickens are notional, and sometimes they just decide on a new place to lay. As long as you leave the basket, she will like it, and sometimes others will follow her, sure she has found a perfect nest.
If you remove anything that will make a nice depression, a nice bit a bedding and a bit of privacy, they will return to their side and find a good nest there.
but if you like the egg, well, I would not worry about it, if you are gone and she gets hungry, she will find her way back to the other side.
- Flock Mistress
Wait. You are getting the best parts of poultry keeping...while not keeping poultry? You lucky devil!
Blanche has gone broody, meaning she wants to hatch out some babies. She is going to keep returning until you remove her nesting spot. She may continue to return even after that, while just finding a new spot. You might want to let the neighbors know that she needs to be locked in chicken jail until the "baby fever" breaks.
In the meantime, keep enjoying any eggs that appear. Removing the eggs daily will also help to discourage her.