Disappearing Eggs

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sward0318, Sep 20, 2016.

  1. sward0318

    sward0318 New Egg

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    Sep 20, 2016
    I had 2 ceramic eggs in my laying box they disappeared then I was not getting as many eggs as normal. I have 5 production reds (Golden Comets) is what they appear to be and 4 black sex links all hens no roosters. Then 1 of my reds did not go in the coop one night she has not returned for 2 weeks never had a predator problem they are all about 6 months old and free range out at 7am in the coop at 8pm I have 3 acres with alot of hiding places for a hidden nest which we have sesrched for. After reading post I feel my red might have went broody with the ceramics missing and other eggs disappearing. Starting a couple of days ago we found a few eggs in weird places one in a bare area no seclusion at all another on top of the wire in there run not normal laying spots they use the nesting box to lay. This morning i let them out checked the box 2 eggs were there i left them there I was in a hurry my wife went out about 9 no eggs normally 4 by that time. No more eggs the rest of the day but all chickens accounted for except the red that has been gone for 2 weeks. They seem 2 young to go broody. But why would ceramic eggs disappear and others also. If the red went broody would she come back and steal more eggs for her clutch? We do have a few rat snakes around here. Any suggestions? We are new to chickens this is our first flock and love them.
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!

    Snakes will steal fake eggs, it can kill them or they will regurgitate them...you may find them yet.

    Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for 3-4 days (or longer) can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop 24/7 for a few days to a week, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.
     
  3. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think a snake probably got your fake eggs. And it could be that the snake "scared" your hens and they all took to laying outside the nest boxes.
    Like noted, you need to pen them up in your run for a week or two to retrain them to use the nest boxes.

    But given the large area they have to range, you can expect this (deciding to nest where ever they like) to happen often.
    My experience and the experience of my co-worker (who has 12 hens that free-range), is that once one hen finds a free range nest place, many of the others will start using her nest spot. Lucky for me, mine are only in a 75x40 backyard. The 2 times my 2 hens decided to find a nest of their own, I found it within 2 days. All three were laying in the spot both times.

    Good chance your missing hen is brooding somewhere, lots of places to hide on 3 acres. She will only come off the nest for about 10 minutes a day and you might not see her.
     
  4. sward0318

    sward0318 New Egg

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    Sep 20, 2016
    Yall are correct my wife went out there this morning 6 eggs in the box another one had been broken no signs of it no shell no yolk just some sticky on the other eggs and about a 5 foot snake half of it in the box. She said she thought it was a rat snake but it was shaking its tail which made some noise never heard of that. It was not a rattlesnake she stuck a stick at it which it curled up on and she removed it. So I have a whole new problem now. How do I keep snakes out but still let the chickens can come and go?
     
  5. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not much you can do to keep snakes out. Snake can get into a 1/2" hole in the fence.
    If she didn't kill it, it will be back.
    Snakes (non-venomous) are the only critter capable of killing a chicken I recommend people relocate. Put it in a pillow case, tie it up and take him out to the woods. Dont handle venomous ones, its not worth the risk.

    BTW, many snakes vibrate their tails like rattle snakes, but the "buzzing" comes from the tip hitting the ground, leaves, etc.. Its a bluff. Venomous snakes dont eat eggs, most likely its a rat snake, king snake or a corn snake. These might bite you and it might hurt but no venom.
    Venomous snakes are also not good climbers, so odds are if you see a venomous snake around the coop, it would be on the ground, waiting for rats & mice.
    Rat, king & corn snakes on the other hand are amazing climbers.
     
  6. sward0318

    sward0318 New Egg

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    You mentioned it could kill a chicken now she has a hoe a shovel and a garden rake at the coop. Thank yall for the replies and advice.
     
  7. Strickrhonda

    Strickrhonda Just Hatched

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    I had the same problem with my duck nest this year. Eggs kept disappearing. ducks kept moving their nests. Finally caught the egg stealing thief..( snake) he lives in another county now
     
  8. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Snakes can but usually don't kill full grown chickens. They don't usually kill what they can't swallow. But they will eat peeps and eggs.
     

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