A place where birds don’t lay eggs, and dogs don’t crap

This isn’t the easiest saying to find an accompanying image for, which is why I’ve had this post in my drafts for so long. Though after a recent trip to Kaohsiung’s Neiwei flea market I saw the perfect opportunity.

The text in the photo was seen above a book shop and reads 鳥會生蛋的地放 (鸟会生蛋的地放 Niǎo huì shēng dàn dì dìfāng) “a place where birds lay eggs”, which wouldn’t mean much unless you knew the original saying that this is playing on. 鳥不生蛋 (Niǎo bù shēng dàn) “birds don’t lay eggs” is a way to make fun of a place for being deserted, or desolate. So by saying the bookshop is a place where birds do lay eggs means that it’s a busy and happening place.


niǎo bù shēng dàn

lit. birds don’t lay eggs
desolate, deserted, boring (of a place)

To use this saying in a sentence you might say 這是什麼鳥不生蛋的地方 (这是什么鸟不生蛋的地方 Zhè shì shénme niǎo bù shēng dàn dì dìfāng) “This is one desolate place!”. The translation here is quite literal, and the actual usage covers places that are boring, where nothing is happening, that are in the middle of nowhere, or out of the way etc.

If you want to take it to the next level then use 鳥不生蛋,狗不拉屎 (鸟不生蛋,狗不拉屎 Niǎo bù shēng dàn, gǒu bù lā shǐ) which adds “dogs don’t shit” to the end. Really adding some emphasis – This place is so remote that birds wouldn’t lay eggs and dogs wouldn’t shit here!


niǎo bù shēng dàn, gǒu bù lā shǐ

lit. birds don’t lay eggs, dogs don’t shit
desolate, deserted, boring (of a place)