One of the most fun and favorite things I used to do when I was gathering eggs was to find a hen in the nest box just about to lay. I would just stand off quietly and wait for the telltale signs. When a hen is just about to 'drop' an egg she stands up in a half crouch and get's this glazed far away look in her eyes, then the egg drops into the nest. After the egg drops, she will stand in that position with the blank look on her face for about another 10-20 seconds. Then she sort of shakes her head, comes back to herself, ruffles her feathers and shakes, and hops off the nest and announces to the world, with very loud clucks and calls, that she has laid the most magnificent egg ever. I would wait until the hen stood up in the half crouch and got the glazed look, then I would gently and carefully put my hand under her and catch the egg as it fell out. Nothing quiet like the feel of that hot, still a bit slick egg in your hand and the fun of watching that hen announce her triumph to the world. If you've never had the opportunity to watch that process, please take the time to do so, it's a trip. The bigger the egg the louder the announcement, too!!