Get this, kids. When I went down to the coop shortly before I left for work, I found two eggshells outside the coop AND outside the run. They hadn't been there before, so I have a diurnal egg thief. The lineup of possible suspects:
- The suspected weasel. Points for - they're small enough to get into tiny spots, can be both nocturnal and diurnal, and like eggs. Points against - there has been no attack on the birds themselves, and this includes on little birds like the Peeps. I'd think a weasel would be happy to try to rip up a bird given half a chance.
- Gray squirrels. Points for - we have a LOT of squirrels around here, they're diurnal, and they're known to be opportunistic little creepers that like eggs when they can get them. My property is partially wooded, so the squirrels are a fact of life. They're also big. I've seen more than one of them make a break for it from INSIDE the run when I've gone out there. The chickens don't even look twice at them, although the ducks seem offended by their presence. For all I know, they're marching right up the ramp to the pop door. Points against - I can't really think of any.
- Birds. Points for - some species eat eggs. Points against - I've never seen anything bigger than a sparrow accidentally enter the coop.
I'm betting it's squirrels. This weekend will feature our lining the ENTIRE run fence with poultry netting inside the chain link, and sealing off vents with hardware cloth. At least they don't go after the hens, but, dang it, I want my eggs, and I do NOT want to share with a bunch of fuzzy-tailed rats!