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Something stealing eggs but not bothering chickens. Idea of what kind of creature I'm trying to catch?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I have six girls laying well. I've noticed in the shed over the last week or so, droppings from some kind of animal, I thought maybe a squirrel, hoping not something that would eat my hens. I ordered a trap but haven't gotten it yet. Today I noted I was shy a few eggs and droppings in the nest. I put the solid wooden door up which hopefully will keep the critter in the shed and out of the coop. I cancelled the order for the trap and am going to go ahead and pay the higher price to buy a trap her in town so I get it sooner. But I have the same question what animal would steal eggs but not bother the chickens? The droppings are about the size of a rabbit pellet, the kind you feed them not what they poop. They are dark almost black and seem to be left in a line and don't smell. The animal is destructive and I think looking for food, tore open a back of charcoal.  I hope knowing what I'm trying to catch will give me a better idea of how to catch it although now I think I know I can bate the trap with egg but don't want to clean that up. Any help in identifying what has taken up house in my shed with the chickens would be appreciated.

post #2 of 8
Squirrel droppings look a lot like rat droppings. Search the internet for pictures of both and see which one your mystery animal's droppings look like.

My money's on rat. Let us know what you catch.
post #3 of 8

I would say rat. And, do you have any other farm animals? Cause my pigs steal eggs. :lol: 

post #4 of 8
I have been losing eggs and finally found the culprit. A black racer snake. So, my question is how to deter snakes in my chicken coop nests? That's where I found it. In one of my girls nests. Any ideas??
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

OK I've had activity but have not caught anything. I broke eggs on cardboard and put one inside the cage before the trip lever and another on the other side of the lever. I don't have to worry about cleaning up the eggs because there is no sign there was ever an egg there except for the sheen the egg white leaves. I tried a can of tuna no evidence that that was of interest so ended up throwing it out, it's hot in the shed dried it right up. Thought I had scared it away moving things to place the cages as my shed is very full. Took the cages down and have seen no more evidence of nest making it/they were shredding tar paper up in the loft. However found more dropping where I had the cage before and hung a cob of corn some tomato and a whole egg in there. They ate all the tempters outside of the cage and some inside but the cob was still hanging and the egg still there but the tomato was gone. Then yesterday I was short 5 eggs. AHH. So it's returning. This time I left the cage where it was and left the whole egg, put a whole tomato, and tied the corn just above the trip lever and put boxes and stuff over it again. YES I checked that the lever would shut the door when tripped and that the safety was off. There are now a LOT of squirrels running around much more than I've seen before. Most of them are coming from my neighbors shed (yes I've talked to them not going to solve the problem there) So this time I set a trap outside with just a cob of corn tied in it with stuff on top of it in their path back to the neighbors yard. I collect the eggs several times trying to get them before they do. I know they prefer we trap them but is their squirrel poison? It's getting ridiculous. A squirrel I think could climb along the side of the trap and grab what they can and run. Thus leaving the hard to get stuff they can't pick up with one hand. It doesn't appear they can get in the coop anymore. I put 2x4 along the floor to fill in the gap below the door . My girls appear distressed jump into the nest then back down over and over. Do squirrels eat eggs? Help I feel the critters are winning the war.

post #6 of 8

I would be thinking opposum.  I, too, was not getting all my eggs last spring. I started seeing shells in the straw nests. I thought maybe I had a hen that was breaking eggs and eating them. Then, I noticed that when I cleaned up the dirty straw and had everything 'just so,' that it would be messed up the next morning. One morning I had a dead hen laying on the ground. It had obviously been killed - not sick.  I have a long handled gardening claw I use to fluff up the straw in my little chicken tractor, and I was using it to replenish the straw after the bad night. When I took that tool and started fluffing the straw in the nest box area, I hit something hard deep in the straw. Guess what!? I had an opposum actually living down in the straw under the nest!!! It was wonderful for him for a little while. Warmth, food, etc. But, all good things had to come to an end. Lead poisoning was his final issue.

 

Especially right now, when the opposums are trying to get ready for winter, I would think they might be enjoying your farm fresh eggs. They are crafty, and they will kill chicken.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

I hope not opossum mean ugly creatures. I cleaned out the entire loft. Found two spots that may have been nests. Pulled everything out and swept it. Hope it doesn't come back in and make the mess I just cleaned up again. Still no luck catching anything. Set the trap inside with a whole egg and tomato and a corn cob hanging just beyond or above the trip lever. Don't see how anything could reach in and get it out the holes of the cage are too small. Although I know it has had to go inside to get stuff before and didn't trip the trap. I was able to collect 5 eggs today without it getting to them however I was in the shed almost all day cleaning so I'm sure it stayed away. I'm thinking it had a nest before and I did scare it away but it's still coming back to try and snatch a snack. thank goodness all the girls(hens) are still fine and with the egg production obviously less stressed. No sign the critter got into the actual coop just the shed the coop is in, it's in the corner of a large shed. I sure hope I catch something tonight. At least I know he likes the things I have in the trap. If it's living outside of the coop and coming around to snatch eggs and I can't trap him I don't know what more I can do. There is no straw under the nests. I have a couple of boxes is all and you can see the wood when the shavings are brushed to the side so there can't be anything hiding in there. I have a dog he loves eggs but is a good farm dog and has never taken an egg whole, only eaten what I've given him. If he were to do it he would leave a mess, he doesn't eat shells, no pigs so it's something wild. The eggs are just gone no mess no yolk no shells nothing just gone.

post #8 of 8

 Rat Snake is a BIG possibility. I used to get 8 eggs a day or 8 eggs after 5+ days. I work on the road.​ I put a golf ball in there to catch it. I found a golf ball and regurgitated egg shells beside the nest boxes. You may try little lights (about egg size) in your nest box, or ceramic eggs. Or put a hen and several eggs in a cage with 1x2 wire. If It's a snake it can get in but not out after eating the egg. If your like me you have multiple problems/predators at the house. Something else could have took the tomato. Later I got 3 snakes all over 4&1/2 feet within 2 wks. My pic is the smallest one going after a 4 month old RIR hen. the next day a 6+ footer.

Howdy to all. Dark Cornish LF,  Cornish bantams, a few guineas and whatever else the coons didn't eat. Plus my quarter horses and Zebu. Have a DELIGHTFUL day.

       Every day above ground is a good day. Some people didn't get that privilege this morning.

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Howdy to all. Dark Cornish LF,  Cornish bantams, a few guineas and whatever else the coons didn't eat. Plus my quarter horses and Zebu. Have a DELIGHTFUL day.

       Every day above ground is a good day. Some people didn't get that privilege this morning.

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