It had been a stressful week for our hens. Sheila the Aussie had gone broody and subsequently been incarcerated in the broody jail, then to top that off, a pen holding two new youngsters had intruded upon their happy coop, making everyone feel much more crowded and irritable. Lady Buffington, the 2nd in command, took matters into her own wings, and set up a nest in the corner of the carport behind a piece of plywood. She began laying her little beige eggs there. I found her out rather quickly and made the decision, given the turmoil in the coop, to let the nest be, even putting some hay in there plus one of the fake wooden eggs that my hubby had lovingly turned on his lathe. When Stella joined her in this outlaw nest, I added, right next to it, what I thought was a more suitable nest box made from a crate, with more hay, and in this one I put a ceramic egg. They ignored that for a few days, and then suddenly switched preferences. Still, I checked both outlaw nests every day. Little by little, the girls began returning to the coop to lay, but I’d check the carport just to make sure. One day last week I forgot to check, and the next morning, found broken egg shell outside the crate nest, the ceramic egg under the truck, and then, oh no! the wooden egg was missing!!!! A predator had found the nests, eaten a forgotten egg and stolen the wooden egg! I felt bad about losing the handmade egg, and looked everywhere to no avail. I changed the hay in the nests, washed the ceramic egg, and hoped for the best. Every day, I still check both outlaw nests, and since last week have found 2 of Lady Buffington’s little beige eggs in the crate. Today I went out there, and lo! behind the plywood, there was the wooden egg, all dirty and full of teeth marks!!!!!! I couldn’t believe it! The critter brought it back! I can only guess the thief is a raccoon, and being disappointed that there have been no more free eggs to steal, put this one back, hoping to entice a hen to lay there once again.