I went outside this morning, very early like around 6 am and 3 of the girls were out, Emerald the leader of the pack and two of her sisters, its alway the 3 of them, I put them back in as usual, sometimes we go through this 4 or 5 times a day, Sweet pea and Lucy are really easy to put back in the coop, Emerald USED to be too. Here lately she has been staying one step ahead of me when I go to get her and she is fine when I pick her up but when I go to unlock the pen gate she fights me and really struggles to get down and not go inside the pen. Well this evening I got her in the pen turned my back to come back in the house and I see this streak of a chicken going across the top of the henhouse , she jumped down and ran as fast as she could to the other side of the lot, I own the lot my house is on and the empty lot next door where she ran too, unfortunately the neighbor piles all the leaves and sticks from his yard along the dividing fence, only on my side not his so its mess of tangles and brambles, and she dove in. I tried to get to her but I couldn't find her she is a Speckled Sussex and blends in really good so I couldn't see where she went to exactly. I was standing at the car talking to my boyfriend and about 20 mins later here she comes chattering and looking all satisfied with herself. I saw where she came out from and went and searched around and found her nest, it had her egg from today (still warm) and a crap load of broke open eggs and egg shells ( so shes been laying there for at least a week) the nest was obviously scavenged by some critter out there. Why would she go back and lay eggs in a ravenged nest? I was wondering if she is fixin' to go broody? She has never hidden eggs before, this is a new behavior for her. for the last several nights in a row, when I go to lock up the run and make sure everyone is in she will be sitting there on the garden planter waiting for me to let her in the big door. She used to til just recently, come running to meet me outside and then go to the big door and wait for me to let her in, She is not doing that now, she calls out chattering to me but she doesn't come running to the door to be let in, I have to go get her and take her in now, Also a fairly new behavior. She is a super cool girl, she responds to her name and comes running, she loves people, loves talking to me all the time! I love everything about her, except maybe the fact that she is a Houdini wanta be. So my questiions are these 1. Why would she lay eggs in a nest that obviously was predated on? She has alway laid in the hen house until now. 2. Do you think she may be going to go broody? I have 3 other ladies that are broody at this time, albeit SILKIE girls. LOL Emerald has never been broody before. She is only about 8/9 months old maybe even just 7 months I got to look up her hatch date. For the life of me I can't figure out why they would want to hatch eggs now. Alway heard they hatched in the spring. I have read several stories that say they either found a broody with chicks that didn't belong to them, or that their chicken went missing only to return with a clutch of chicks in tow. Kinda scary with the thought she may just to decide to find a nest that I don't know about and decide to sit. And Her be attacked by something and killed. I think we fixed her escape route, (Think is the key word) but she is a problem solver. I expect to find her out in the morning shes very determined. We blocked her way out of the pen by putting up sheets of aluminum against the tall wood cage so she couldn't get on it to slip out a small hole in the netting This is just a temp. fix because it was so cold out there, I wanted to get in doors. LOL (besides it makes the chicken yard look like a junk yard) We have bird netting over the pen that "Somehow" got ripped open, I sewed it back closed enough that they couldn't sneak through but I caught her pecking at the net right where the old hole was and the next day my three houdinis were out and the hole was back. Could have been an accident but I don't think so. None of the other chickens pull the stuff she does save her sisters Lucy and Sweetpea They at least go back in the coop to lay there eggs. and go back in at dusk if I don't make them go in earlier, All the chickens get to free range some everyday (at least I try and get them out once a day) but these 3 just make there own rules and get out when they see fit. After we fixed the net problem and put her back in , she was the only one that was checking out every possible side of the cage, walked to the end of the Alumium sheets and looked them up and down went back to the cage and cocked her head looking. You could almost see the wheels turning in her head working the new puzzle out. Even my boyfriend who thinks that chickens are the dumbest animals on the planet kept saying would you just look at her, see what shes doing, He was clearly impressed with her thinking it through! He is also the man that didn't believe that most of my chickens knew their names, He still thinks its amazing that when he calls Zues the Rooster and he comes running. (He gets a big kick out of that! LOL) Anyway maybe I should have posted this on Random Ramblings. I just can't figure out why a chicken thats smart enough to escape from Chicken Alcatraz would lay eggs in a "secret hidden nest" that a preditor already went in and destroyed all of her eggs. Wouldn't instincts have told her find a safer place? I feel kinda Doofy for even writing this post, but really She just amazes me sometimes.