When we moved to Upstate South Carolina over 15 years ago one of the first things that we did was hand our three children the Murray McMurray catalog & let them pick chickens to raise. We ended up with a colorful variety that we very much enjoyed. As the years passed, our middle child, Eric, began to invest in laying hens & sell their eggs. We now sell "Eric's Eggs" to several restaurants & through our local farmers market.
Our eggs are laid by chickens that truly are free range. They travel any where they want on the farm, often venturing from the front driveway back into the woods at the creek. They often keep the sheep, cattle & goats company in the pastures. They are quick to gather around when we turn soil, rake leaves or do any other activity where they know tasty snacks are liable to be uncovered. Most return to the several buildings on the property where we have nesting boxes for them. Many eggs are gathered each day. And those that are laid down in the woods or out in hay piles in the pastures usually end up as nice treats for the pasture dogs that come across them.
We have about 350 chickens on the farm so can't keep an eye on everyone which means that several times a year a hen manages to snuggle down on a nest in a hay loft or other safe corner. When she appears with her hatchlings we make sure that the family is safely contained to grow up & join the farm family.