Eggs gone missing- need some ideas

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by LeezyBeezy, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. LeezyBeezy

    LeezyBeezy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2010
    Lancaster PA
    My two EE pullets have been for a a month or so. They each lay about 5 eggs a week. Or they were... Lately I have no eggs in the nest, depsite the fact that as soon as I let them out of the coop (no, they don't use the nest boxes [​IMG] ) they run straight for their favorite spot. Bossy seems to like to lay first thing in the morning. So, today I went out 15 minutes after she got on the nest and she was still busy. Went out a half hour later, empty nest... NO EGG. Now, I can understand at the beginning, maybe she was just practicing, but I think she probably layed an egg today. But I haven't had an egg from her for at least a week or 10 days. Pook lays later in the day, and we seem to get her eggs, but not as many as I should.

    I have a big barn, no sign of rats that I can see- no holes or tunnels or anything. No droppings. I would think if I had rats that they would have gotten into other things, like the goat sweet feed, which is currently just in it's bag, off the ground, in a wheelbarrow. Nothing seems to be stealing feed from the chicken feeder either, like the darned chipmunks in the summer. No black snakes here in Maine, and it's too cold anyway. It seems strange that whatever the egg-stealer is, it would wait for the egg and grab it as soon as it was layed? I have seen a squirrel up in the rafters, but usually it is at the other end of the barn, I am assuming it is stealing feed from the feeder in the coop.

    The nesting spot is in an aisle way between the barn wall and the wood pile. Conceivably, something could be in the wood pile or coming underneath it to grab the egg, but what?? Maybe I can wedge a trap under there. I don't want the hens to get a foot caught by accident. I also have a small humane trap- that might be safer to just see what I get. Butit's small (I have flying suqiirels in the house, one of which got INTO the kitchen a few weeks ago). It would hold a rat or maybe a squirrel.

    Any ideas of what identifying signs I should look for would be appreciated. Meanwhile, off to set the trap.
     
  2. midget_farms

    midget_farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    usually eggs that disappear are rats. They roll them away & save them for parties - probably under the wood pile. It could also be a 'possum but I suspect they would take the entire hen.

    Is it possible she isn't laying due to the short days of winter? Many hens will stop laying all together in the winter if no additional light is provided. She may well still sit on the nest each day out of habit.
     
  3. PepsNick

    PepsNick Back to Business

    May 9, 2010
    Egglanta, GA
    If I were you I'd keep an eye on that hen while she's in the box...I'd think that she herself would eat it. Mine do all the time. How high are your nest boxes?
     
  4. Jeeper1540

    Jeeper1540 Chillin' With My Peeps

    If they were eating them every day, you would eventually see yolk left in the nest box. are you sure they aint tricking you and laying eggs somewhere else? [​IMG]

    Have you seen any snakes that could be stealing the eggs?
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2010
  5. LeezyBeezy

    LeezyBeezy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2010
    Lancaster PA
    Nope, no shells anywhere. I have searched the entire barn, all their fave spots. They hardly even come out these days, with it being o cold. Maine doesn't have snakes large enough to take an egg. We don't have any poisonous snakes either. I'm also thinking with the cold, snakes would be hibernating. My bad girls!! I think something is taking them.
     
  6. LeezyBeezy

    LeezyBeezy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2010
    Lancaster PA
    Quote:They are currently laying them on the floor, in hay nest, next to the wood pile inside the barn. It's nice and cosy and dark. We are thinking about hanging anest box in this spot.
     
  7. DianeS

    DianeS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 28, 2010
    Oregon
    What about trying some fake eggs? A few wooden ones (or even golf balls) ought to tell you whether they are being rolled away by rats, or if your chickens just aren't laying right now. A rat is likely to roll away a fake egg, too, so if it goes missing you'll have your answer.
     
  8. Sjisty

    Sjisty Scribe of Brahmalot

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    May 18, 2009
    Brooksville
    Do you have a dog? We had a dog that was eating them. He learned when a hen came out of the coop, it was time for him to go in. I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't catch him in the act a couple of times.
     
  9. LeezyBeezy

    LeezyBeezy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2010
    Lancaster PA
    The dog is rarely out by herself, although I would agree she might tak them if she found them. If there are rats, would there be a stash somewhere? I cange the flashlight out and look under the wood pile.
     
  10. eggboy

    eggboy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 23, 2010
    CA
    Maybe your chickens aren't laying at all. do they have enough hours of daylight?
     

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