I have 16 adult hens ranging in age from almost 2 y/o (11) to 14 mo/o (5). Two of the 2 y/o got broody about 2 weeks ago. They are setting in a communal nest box but are not sitting on eggs, since I have no rooster. Ever since they got broody my egg production plummeted from 10-12 eggs a day to 4-6 eggs a day. The eggs that I am getting are mainly from the 14 month olds plus an occasional one from the dominique or the wyandotte. All chickens combs are red. They have no parasites or worms as far as I can tell. They are otherwise active, healthy and doing their chicken things all day. They roam 1/2 an acre and have 24/7 access to food, water and oystershell. I have roamed the 1/2 acre to find an outside nest to no avail. The coop is super secure so it is highly unlikely that any critter could get in to eat the eggs, even snakes cannot get through 1/2" hardware cloth. So a couple of theories but I'd love to hear other ideas as to what might be happening: 1. could the broodies be bullying the other hens out of the nesting boxes? I find about 2 of the 4 eggs under the roosts and not in the nest boxes. After 1 week I put in some dividers so that the other chickens had options on where to lay in private but it hasn't really increased the number of eggs. 2. could the chickens or the broodies be eating the eggs and not leaving any trace? I'd think the straw would be wet and sticky if they broke and ate them. I haven't seen/felt any of that. It would also get smelly pretty fast, I'd think. I inspect the broodies' nests a couple of times a day and collect the 1 or 2 eggs that she may have stolen from the other hens. I would be able to feel if there was a massive breakage. 3. should I search the 1/2 acre again inch by inch to find a nest? 4. could it be that the 2 y/o are done laying already? And all at the same time? 5. Edited to add: The weather has been on the cool side for the midatlantic in late July, mid 70s, low 80s for the last 2 weeks. The weeks before it was hot and humid. Could the change in weather have anything to do with this? I'm stumped. My egg customers and I would like to figure out what is going on, rectify and ramp up production again. Any thoughts are appreciated.