Chicken throws leaves on its back!


Jul 27, 2019
Freshwater Point, Qld, Australia
Anyone else seen their hen pick up a leaf and toss it on their back? Then pick up another leaf and do the same. Then another leaf? One of my girls did it a few months ago. Thought she may have had an ant or mites but I couldn’t find anything. Then a different girl did it the other day right after laying an egg.
I've had a couple of broodies do this while sitting. I agree with rosemarythme - it probably is tied to a chicken's distant evolutionary past. They're originally forest birds and would usually roost low in the branches of a tree, but would have to sit eggs on the forest floor in a vulnerable position.

There's another thread on the first page talking about the same thing.
They’re over 2 years old. The first girl that did it jumped out of the nesting box, out of the hen house, after not laying an egg, then walked around the yard frantically chucking the leaves over her. The next girl was the same, did it immediately after leaving the nesting box and hen house, but she had actually laid an egg in the nesting box. That’s why I was really confused.
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My guess would be it's nest-building instinct. I see them do that when they're sitting in the nest - grab a piece of debris and throw it behind them to try to build up the nest and make it just right. It's really cute/funny to watch.
I know this is an old thread, but mine do this too. At first I only ever saw one do it, but now I see another of our girls has started doing it too. I'm very curious as to why. Ours only do it after laying as egg, so perhaps it is an evolutionary past thing, to build up the nest or camouflage.

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