I suddenly stopped getting eggs in my nesting boxes and suspected that my free ranging girls were laying somewhere in the bushes but I have never found their nest.
So I locked them up each day until late afternoon, for one week. During that week, the Barnevelders, Helen and Hilda got the message and started laying in the nesting boxes again. But Hannah Hen, my best layer, only laid one egg during that week. She has not laid an egg in the nesting box since.
While they were locked in for that week, my neighbour was letting them out each day after 3pm and I am now wondering if that wily bantam was holding onto her eggs until she was let out and then scurried off to her bush hideaway to lay her egg.
I don’t mind Hannah Hen living here and eating my lovely food and not producing eggs. But if she is producing eggs, I want them. I do wonder if maybe she has just stopped laying. I think she is probably quite old and maybe has passed her egg time. But I am not so sure.
The only way to tell if she is laying or not is to lock her up for a week and not let her out for an afternoon walk. So I have set up the spare (maternity) coop and tonight after she has gone to bed, I am going to grab her and put her in the spare coop. I got it ready for her today with nice fresh wood shavings and fresh water and food bowls. She will hate it but at least I will know if she is laying or not.