Question...How long do your hens sit in the nest box?


8 Years
Jun 13, 2011
My hens seem to be "camping out" in the nest boxes. I mean, I don't expect them to get in, pop out an egg and move along, but they seem to be sitting in there for a long time. I got worried about a couple of them yesterday. It's been so hot, and they're in there panting. I was trying to give a couple of them water while they were in the nests, ready to yank her out and soak her up to pull out a stuck egg. But then all of a sudden she just hops up and out, fine and dandy like cotton candy. What the what?? I figured they'd sit for about 20, maybe 30 minutes, but an hour and a half? Then I thought maybe it's because they're new at laying...I don't know.

How long do your hens stay in the nest boxes when they lay an egg?
My BTB Japanese is a McLayer. She drops and goes. My LF hen who is laying takes longer, maybe even over an hour, and she is 18 mos. old. It could possibly just depend on the bird. They could also be panting because laying is hard work!
Mine sits in there for a good hour or more- she's on her 4th egg so maybe its because she's so new to the whole laying thing. She panted the first few times but I haven't noticed it since and her box is in my livingroom so I know its not because she's overheated.
Nothing to worry about. Some of mine would leave and go back for more sitting. I think some people call them broody.
Some of mine are in the nest for around 2 hours. However, if you notice them fluffing up in the nests and setting on the eggs (or fake eggs) all day/night then they're broody.

~ Aspen
Mine "camp out" for an hour or two as well. The RIR's sing the egg song before and after the "event", but remain silent while actually laying the egg. My Monty Blue (game) is quiet all through the process, even though she spends about 1/2 hour total in the nesting box. So what exactly is "normal"? I don't know- either.
Thanks all, that eases my mind. I was starting to wonder if we had some egg laying mechanism issues...?
I've noticed they will sometimes get up and return later too! Like they changed their mind for the moment cuz they thought of something they wanted to do!
Just goes to show, chickens do, what chickens do, and "normal" for one, isn't nessessarily "normal" for another. They're all like little snowflakes....

Except when it comes to treats, then I can count on all mine to act like they haven't seen food for a week.

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