I can't figure out whether the hens are unreliable because they are fairly elderly (some of them are 2 years and a bit) or because they are being sneaky buggers and hiding the eggs. So yesterday, I went on an egg hunt. On an egg hunt, it helps to think like a chicken.
We use old coffee containers as feed scoops and egg totes, so I had one in my hand on my hunt. The blue or red containers mean food to the sheep, chickens, and dogs - when any animal sees a coffee container, they come running. As I made my chicken-thinking way around the garden, the greenhouse, the banana patch (noticing that my husband took out my lilikoi with the tractor - again), I gathered a lot of attention. The entire flock was following me - the complete circle around the banana patch, through the taro mala, around the garden fence, through the citrus trees. I told them, "If I were a chicken intent on laying my eggs where I wasn't supposed to - I would lay them in this little patch of trees - what is wrong with you hens?!"
The sheep then spied me through the fence and started up their baas and stampeding toward the pen. The horses made their gentle, yet insistent whickers and Crazy Horse Gib nailed Ohia on his rump. (I think that is the most movement Ohia gets every day in the daily "I'm-hungry-move" love tap from his pasture mate.
I was pleased to note that the newest little black ewe lamb got over her confusion - she still went to the horse stall first, but she figured out she was on the wrong side of the fence on her own.
Maybe the trick to getting everyone where they are supposed to be is a slow walk along the pasture fence with a brightly colored feed scoop!