Eggs are all gone and the ground is all soft around the coop

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by dman535, Nov 1, 2016.

  1. dman535

    dman535 New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    Nov 1, 2016
    Nashville, TN
    We have a 6x10 coop inside of our fenced in 50x50 garden. Things have been going great until about two days ago. I noticed the egg count was getting lower, as of this afternoon there were none. I have six hens in there - so I should have something - unless I have a visitor.
    I did notice the ground around the coop is soft, would a ground hog eat the eggs? I can't see any signs of forced entry, but it does look like there is foreign excrement on the floor and the ramp up to the hen house.
    Any thoughts or suggestions on things to try to help identify the culprit?
     
  2. dman535

    dman535 New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    Nov 1, 2016
    Nashville, TN
    [​IMG]
    There is a shot of the coop. Hardware cloth all around and concrete blocks for the base. Nesting boxes are on the side and rear, I don't think we had them on in this picture.
     
  3. Trish1974

    Trish1974 Chillin' With My Peeps

    351
    131
    136
    Mar 16, 2016
    NorthCentral IN
    I don't think a groundhog would eat an egg...but I would have never believed they climbed trees if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes! Sounds gross but you could try to look up its excrement/scat online to try to identify it.
     
  4. dman535

    dman535 New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    Nov 1, 2016
    Nashville, TN
    There are no shells and the scat looks to have some white in it which points towards a snake.
     
  5. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,206
    403
    151
    Feb 18, 2016
    Missouri
    Ground around the coop is soft? What does that mean? Something is digging? Any evidence they dug under those blocks to gain entry?

    That looks to be a pretty tight coop. If nothing can get in, and hasn't dug in, a possible culprit is a 2 legged varmint of the human kind.

    Snakes might be possible, but I'm guessing things are getting a bit too cool in Music City for a snake to be out and about this time of year.
     
  6. dman535

    dman535 New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    Nov 1, 2016
    Nashville, TN
    We hit a new record on 91 today, so it's still pretty toasty.
    The yard had always had soft spots like a gopher tunnel, but there seems to be a ton around the coop. Granted the coop is in our vegetable garden, and that may be the draw for the moles, ground hogs,gophers or whatever is making tunnels.
     
  7. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,206
    403
    151
    Feb 18, 2016
    Missouri
    I doubt a mole or gopher is going to steal your eggs, but rats might.......and rats dig and live in tunnels.

    Any evidence of rats?
     
  8. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

    586
    86
    83
    Jul 2, 2016
    Mobile, AL
    Soft ground is most likely moles and not related to the problem.

    No shells leaves me to believe its snake. Rats would leave shell fragments all over.

    Do your birds free range during the day? If so, good possibility they have a hidden nest somewhere. Once one hen does it, the others tend to follow.
    Or they are slowing down for winter. Shorter days triggers it, no temp.
    Any signs of molting? More feathers than usual in the run/coop?
     
  9. dman535

    dman535 New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    Nov 1, 2016
    Nashville, TN
    They do not free range. no signs of any changes. My wife things that they are not happy, as their coop needs a cleaning - so they are not laying right now.
     
  10. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

    586
    86
    83
    Jul 2, 2016
    Mobile, AL
    Coop needing cleaning wont make them stop laying.

    6 hens in a 6x10 run 24/7 with no free ranging is crowded, IMO. Letting them free range even for just 1-2 hours a day makes "happier" & healthier hens.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by