In fairness to the girls, I give them the fact that it is season change, moulting time, and in general this means that many hens are off production a bit. However, we stopped getting that third egg about 8 weeks ago, at least. And they only began laying in (latter June, was it?). So, we have suspected for some time that one of them is not laying in the nest box, but somewhere in their fence-free range on the acre of land they roam.
Which makes egg hunts nearly impossible, unless we know their haunts. And we have not been able to find one. at. all. So, what is the solution? ADD MORE CHICKENS!
Now, conventional wisdom will tell you not to mix (mature) birds of different flocks because you might end up with chicken disease. But we have a small healthy trio of birds, and we got two new birds from another small, healthy flock of neighbor birds. So, we are taking our chances.
Moving birds can take them off production for a week or so, and at least one of these birds is coming off a moult. But guess what? We picked them up EARLY this morning and locked them in the coop for almost two hours so they could get their bearings. (We collected today's two eggs from our chickens, kicked them out of the coop into their range, and locked the newbies in.)
(Cordelia, named by Mr. Nature, who will give us green eggs)And wonder of wonders - one of the newbies laid an egg for us. Must have been Ruby, since Cordelia will lay green. So, chalk up THREE eggs for today. Hip, hip, hoooooray!