I'm always learning new things about chickens. For example, did you know that one of a chicken's eyes is used for looking at objects that are close, and the other for objects that are far away? That's why, when a chicken finds you interesting, it seems like she is turning her head and looking at you sideways. She's just using her close-up eye.
Here's another: once you find a chicken's hidden nest and take the eggs, she won't lay there anymore.
So when we found the secret mother lode of nine eggs laid by our teenage pullets (known as the Wild Bunch), and took away the eggs, we inadvertently launched a game of Chicken Hide and Seek.
Round 1: The Wild Ones laid their eggs in the nest in the woods. Kim took away the eggs. The pullets abandoned the nest.
Round 2: The pullets laid in the dry, warm spot underneath our external chimney. Kim took away the eggs and the pullets abandoned the nest.
Round 3: The pullets laid their eggs in the dry dirt near the bicycles under the verandah. Kim found the nest, took away the eggs, and the pullets abandoned the nest.
"Why can't they lay their eggs in the coop?!" said Kim.
Finally, in Round 4 the Wild Ones got smart. They didn't lay under the verandah. They didn't lay in the woods, or around the house, because they knew Kim the Chicken Sleuth would find the eggs and take them. We knew they were laying somewhere, but where?
Apparently they decided the principle of hiding in plain sight might apply, because after three days of missing eggs, and searching high and low, Kim found their new nest...at the coop, if not precisely in the coop.
Yes, that's right: under the coop.
What clever chickie-chickies. What exasperating chickie-chickies.
The upshot? The Wild Ones have been confined to quarters pending their successful completion of Egg Laying 101: How to Lay an Egg in a Nest Box.