There is an unexpected benefit to having chickens roam around freely (well as freely as they can within a large penned in area) all day.
You end up getting daily Easter Egg hunts.
Some of the birds like laying eggs in the black over tipped horse buckets, some like the wooden crates (purchased at a local grocery store for 5 dollars a piece) we’ve provided. Some of the girls apparently just like to squat where they are standing because sometimes we’ll find naked eggs right smack in the middle of the yard. Seems a little anti-evolutionary to me but who am I to say anything? When I was in hard labor, I would have dropped my babies in the middle of the pumpkin patch if it meant they would finally leave my body. Compared to that an egg on the bare ground looks pretty good.
Interestingly, it seems that where the first hen layer of the day puts her egg, the others girls will follow.
One day one of our nature loving hens decided to lay an egg near a pine cone. A few others followed her direction. This is what we found.
Another day, that handy horse bucket was the nest laying area of choice and sure enough, by end of day we had several of the girls following the first one’s lead.
You can not imagine what a joy it is to take the egg basket in arm and go outside hunting for eggs each day. Remember when you were a kid and you ran as fast as you could to gather those bright primary colored plastic eggs in your arms? You didn’t care about how many you found, or even what was inside.
For just a moment, finding the egg, picking it up and letting the sunshine bounce off of its shell as you carefully inspected its perfectness was reward enough.