Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the great feedback! I knew I could count on you all.
I got out tonight and was able to at least make a quick modification to the nesting box part of the coop. I really am inclined to think that that is at the root of the problem. It's one of those things that I have thought about many times. Like I said, I've never been very happy with it from the beginning but, since the chooks seemed to be doing well, and since we were getting eggs so regularly and consistently it just got pushed to the back burner. That, for the record, is the wrong thing to do!
This is the short term modification that I made to the boxes tonight. I basically just slapped a panel on the front of the box and then split the boxes in two with another piece and filled each side with some straw. That reminds me, anyone ever put sawdust into their nesting boxes? I have a very good source for course saw dust for free, and was wondering about useing it in the boxes? Anyway, tomorrow I'll get out and give a good powdering of D.E., something I've been planning on doing anyway once the weather was dry for a couple of days. I also have a couple of other things I need to do to prep them for the winter, so hopefully I can get them all done before more winter shows up.
I think this is a good time to mention, probably mostly for the benefit of newer folks to this way of living, that procrastination is the bane of not just the rural farmers life, but the urban homestead as well. When you endeavor to regain your connection to the land and to the food you eat, you really have decided to also be pretty connected to it's needs. You now have plants and animals that require your attention to thrive an do well, thus feeding you later. This is why we don't wait until later. At least that is why we TRY not to wait until later; we are still human after all and for the most part still learning.
So I've been reminded of the cons of my inaction when I know there is a problem. Now, I just hope I have caught the problem soon enough to fix it; I'll keep you all posted of course. Thanks again for all the great advice.