I am new to this forum and to raising chickens. I got 6 baby Rhode Island Reds back in April and and picked up some Buff Orpingtons around the same time that were 3 months old. I have been patiently waiting for just one egg since mid july. I put the RIR with the Buffs around late june because they were big enough. I kept all the chickens in their coop until late June and let them free range. I find them going into the woods alot and I thought it was just to look for bugs or to beat the heat in the shade. Well today I looked in the coop to clean it out and found 5 eggs. 2 large and 3 small eggs, but they were on the coop floor all together, not in the laying boxes I have for them. I have been reading up on this behavior, going in the woods and suspect maybe there is a hidden nest out there. I have 12 hens and 2 roosters. Tonite, I re arranged the nest boxes for easier acces and put 1 egg in each box to help them get the idea about the box. After doing a head count I am missing 2 Hens.???? Maybe they are in the woods on an illegal nest? I locked the rest of the crew down in the coop, and not gonna let them out for a day or 2 to see who is laying and how many. Like I said I am new trying to figure out how to help them learn about where to lay/nest. I let them out around 6 and they make thier way back around dark. So I think maybe in a couple days I will let them out in the late afternoon, keep an eye on them until dark. Any suggestions about the illegal nest and the missing 2 hens? Dont want any bad habits starting .