I have 9 hens and a rooster and they are all about 6 months old and just started laying a couple of weeks ago. They started off okay but then the egg production dropped off. Today I was getting ready to put another bay of hay in the goat feeder when I found one of my hens nestled down in the far back corner. I picked her up and there was a clutch of 13 eggs underneath her. I collected the eggs and moved her to a nesting box but she panicked and went right back to the feeder. Is she broody or is this just THE spot for them all to lay eggs and it was just her turn? Also, the goat feeder is outside and it has been getting cold here (for California 30 degrees) and all the hens sleep in the hen house at night. Are these eggs okay to eat or are they well on their way to being little chickens? I will crack them into a bowl when using them to be sure.
I am putting a door over the goat feeder to prevent this from happening again. I would love it if one of my hens went broody on us, but how can I tell? We would love some nice little chicks in time for our big vineyard pruning party the last weekend in February.