The chickens have a large area open to them during the day and many locations that seem secluded enough to serve as a nest. All around the compost bin is thick brush with open areas underneath that seem like a great place to lay. But we also have rats that live in the compost, so any egg laid nearby would probably be eaten. Then there are the snowberries around the creek. Lots of good hiding places under the snowberries. I have used the handle of the hoe to poke around looking for eggs and not seen any. So that brings us to the barn.
The barn is closed every day to keep larger animals out. But there are plenty of spaces around the bottom big enough for a chicken to get in. And the barn is dark and cool with lots of nooks and crannies. Perfect nesting. Jordan and I check under the shelves, behind the tractor - places where we have found eggs before. But for the past week, nothing.
This morning I went down for the ritual feeding and decided that the grass in the pasture is low enough that the sheep could use some hay. We have an open bail from feeding Francis and Sue while they were in the barn bonding. I went to grab a couple squares and sitting between the open bail and towering stack of the rest of the winter hay were 6 eggs.
So now, every night, in addition to checking under the shelves and behind the tractor, we get to check the hay. Maybe it's time fill the gaps around the barn.