I think that sometimes the hens tire of laying their eggs in the same place, or perhaps they wish to spread out their laying areas in order to increase the odds of having some eggs not get taken by predators, such as might occur with "wild" chickens. On the other hand, perhaps they merely wish to confound me, so they can sit back and cackle as I try to find their latest hiding spots. For the most part, they lay in the intended nest boxes, which are supplemented with some lovely hand-turned wooden eggs my father made, giving the hens the impression (I think?) that their eggs will be "safe" in that spot. Recently, I found that they'd chosen another spot, thanks to the snow.
Here you can see my footprints on the right, accompanied by Jet's prints, where we strolled along on our walk on a recent afternoon. Crossing our paths, you'll see some familiar-looking tracks.
Chicken tracks aren't unusual here, of course, since I do have 16 hens and 2 roosters here on the farm. I rather like their little footprints in the fresh snow - they're so distinct and deliberate.
There's an old dog house left by the former owner that's off to the side of the driveway - I never use it, since I haven't got an outdoor dog, and thus have no need for it. I rarely notice it, really, since it's obscured by wild shrubbery and alders.
I noticed it on the walk though, because the chicken tracks led directly to the dog house. Then, another set came directly out of the dog house. Ah, I thought to myself, how sweet. The chickens have found the dog house and are hanging out in there to keep out of the snow.
Then I had another thought. I remembered that there was hay in the old dog house, still left there from the previous owner's dog who must have used it as bedding. It occurred to me that if I was a chicken, looking for a good spot to lay an egg, this might be appealing. So, I went forth to take a closer look.
Here's what greeted me! "Happy spring!" they said (despite the snow).
A lovely total of 7 eggs were carefully harvested with the help of a long stick. None of them had frozen solid and the float test showed them all to be fresh. So, now I have 2 places to check every day for eggs. They've continued to lay here, even though I've discovered the cache. I suppose now I shall have to wait for the next hiding place!