There is never a dull moment with the “chickie laids,” as my sister so lovingly refers to my flock.

I honestly never saw myself owning birds. I don’t even remember meeting chickens until the end of high school. I thought, they were loud, messy, and impossibly smelly. What could the appeal be?

My journey to owning my own flock was slow, yet looking back, inevitable. First, I babysat kids with chickens, then helped care for my university’s rescue flock. I loved having fresh eggs in the morning and found peace, and dare I say enjoyment, from watching the birds scratch for worms in the muddy Washington dirt. After graduation I bought four chickens, then two more the next week (because four was not enough), waited a couple months and bought two more. Counting six chickens felt like I was missing some, so yet again, I bought more. Now here I sit with eight chickens (sadly after losing two members of the flock this year). I will probably buy more soon. Do I pass the crazy chicken lady vibe check yet?

Although my flock size has changed like the tide this year, one thing has remained the same. Every week brings a new adventure with their nest box as they find strange places to lay, start to brood or not so patiently line up to lay in the same bucket.

Our ladies have five, wonderfully crafted nest boxes in their coop/run. They have privacy, comfortable bedding and even a fan to beat the summer heat.

*Cough* pampered chickens *cough*

 Where have they chosen to lay instead during the last year? A dirt filled bucket, under a bush or two, a couple of dusty pet carriers, behind a fence, and their absolute favorite spot: a dirty old mop bucket.

Sometimes I laugh to think about what must have gone through my Buff Orphington–Lily’s–head the first time she decided to lay in the mop bucket.

*Sees the bucket*

“Hmmm. I have not seen that before. I have walked this yard a hundred times. Has that always been there?”

*Walks closer, stretches neck left and right to see inside and walks perimeter of bucket*

“It is the same color as me. This must be a sign. OOOH! There is a lovely gray bedding [the mop] inside. It smells like dirt. I enjoy sitting in the dirt. Let me just try it out…”

*Jumps inside*

“Oooooohhhhh yes. This feels nice.” *Ruffles feathers and wiggles to find comfort* “Maybe I will just sit here a while…SQUAAAAACK!!! Oh! I laid an egg. I. Must. Protect. My. Egg. This is the perfect spot to brood.”

 The first time Lily laid in the bucket, I laughed. Crazy chicken. Then Lacey, one of my Ameraucanas, lined up to lay her egg. Before I knew it, I had three chickens laying eggs in this dirty bucket on a daily basis. My border collie, Scout, helps me collect eggs, and now the mop bucket is the first place he runs to check. I guess it is unlikely they will stop laying there any time soon.

The only downside to this whole comedy routine they throw for me is, what will I use to clean my floors?