I realised just before dusk one night last week that one of my hens was still out, so I went searching for her with a torch. She started to make some noise and I followed the sounds, eventually finding her in a cosy little spot in the back hedge. When I reached in to scoop her out, I discovered there were some eggs tucked in behind the undergrowth.
The next morning I went to take a closer look – my hen had hidden herself in a long tunnel, a natural underground passage between the bank and a web of overhanging ivy. I reached in with the camera to take some pictures and then pried back the leaves to gather the eggs – there were sixteen in total!
All those mornings when I’d found no egg in the nest box, I’d assumed that the old girl was having an off day – not thinking for a moment that she had found a nest box of her own!
I disposed of the eggs sadly as I had no way of knowing how long they’d been there. Happy nonetheless to have found her new spot and I’ll make sure to check it on my rounds in the mornings.