Yesterday I found one of the hidden nests. This one was hidden in plain sight, behind the cattle panel in the shed where the onions are hanging.
I had previously searched the shed a couple of times, trying to be thorough. Either this nest is only a couple of days old, or I wasn’t as thorough as I meant to be.
Now if I can only figure out how to persuade them to lay in the nesting boxes. For a couple of days I didn’t let them out of the henhouse in the morning. I wanted them to have no choice but to lay in there, hoping they’d break their habit of hiding. But it’s been too hot to leave them in there long. I kept the gate shut on the chickenyard, but the young hens just fly over the fence (we don’t clip wings on this farm), and go lay in their hidden nests.
Once the weather cools enough to keep them inside all day for a couple of days that may be my only option. I figure once they lay a couple of times in the henhouse they’ll get used to it.
In the meantime, I’ll keep checking the equipment shed…