"What are you talking about?" "I was just walking in the woods."
Two weeks ago, I found several hens walking around in the other part of the barn. This was unusual in that there isn't any easy way to get over there. Well, that is what I thought. As I watched the hens, they both walked behind a barrel and disappeared. I walked around to where they went, and there they both were, sitting on a perfect little nest, which contained seven eggs! I carefully picked the eggs up and discovered that two of the eggs were still warm, so I knew those two were just laid. I kept those, the rest went into the compost pile. I went through the entire barn and found about ten places where a hen could easily get in and sealed them up.
The eggs stopped appearing in that secret nest.
This morning, I let the chickens out into their enclosure and they were happily sifting through the scratch I had tossed out. Oro, one of the Ameraucanas, (who was also one of the culprits in the case of the secret nest), walked up to the fence, looked around and flew off into the yard. I just stood there watching her as she looked like she was on a mission. She walked into the woods, and went behind a tree, and sat down. I gave her a minute and then walked over and as I crouched down next to her she just sat there looking at me. I think her little cheeks were getting red with embarrassment. I picked her up and there was a pile of fourteen eggs! Mostly green ones! (Oro is an Easter Egger). One of them was nice and clean and very warm, so I knew that one was good. The other ones, well, they could be two weeks old, so I decided to dispose of them into the compost.
I have read that if hens start laying outside, or in secret places that they need to be "cooped up" for at least a week. Since it looks messy and rainy for the next few days, I think I will put the chickens on coop duty for three days. I may kick the two roosters out during the day and allow the hens some freedom.
I'll let you know how that goes and how egg production is affected.