Eggs mysteriously disappearing

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by MissHana, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. MissHana

    MissHana New Egg

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    Mar 11, 2007
    I live in Louisiana, and I had 3 broody hens that had about 18 eggs between them. We marked them with hearts to be sure to leave them there. One hen was in a wheelbarrow filled with hay. Four nights ago, the wheelbarrow was completely empty where something threw all the hay out and ate some of the eggs. The hen moved under the wheelbarrow and sat on the eggs that had been thrown out of the wheelbarrow. I put all the hay back in the wheelbarrow, and left her alone underneath. Today, there was only one egg left under her and all the hay was thrown out again. There are no shells, and the only evidence is the other eggs have dried sticky egg stuff on them. I was thinking snake, but I don't think snakes throw hay out of a wheelbarrow nightly. Possums usually leave the eggs and the hay and go for the hens, but no hens are missing. Does anyone have any idea what could be doing this?
     
  2. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens

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    She might be doing it herself. If she's been setting a while and she thinks the eggs aren't viable, she will eat them. It's also possible that one of your other chickens is eating the eggs, sometimes a hen will chase a broody off her nest and eat the eggs. Could be a skunk too but if I had to guess, I'd say that a chicken is the culprit, and that it is probably one of her flock mates. I've seen that happen in our flock. You could try putting a game camera up if you want to know for sure.
     
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Rats will take eggs. If she's not in a secure place, she's vulnerable to all kinds of predators.
     
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  4. MissHana

    MissHana New Egg

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    Mar 11, 2007
    It turned out to be a 4 foot rat snake. I had no idea they could throw hay out of a wheelbarrow!
     
  5. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens

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    Whoo, scary! Good thing you found out.
     
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    I move broody hens and there eggs into a safe secure site, at night, with a tiny flashlight, to prevent disasters. Mary
     
  7. MissHana

    MissHana New Egg

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    Mar 11, 2007
    We tried moving the broody hens to a caged area, and they refused to sit on the eggs. Do you have any ideas on how to remedy that??
     
  8. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens

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    We've never had any luck moving a broody..once she's moved, she refuses to set on the eggs, unless they've already started hatching, and when we move her, the hatched chicks, and the unhatched eggs to a pen, usually she will set on the unhatched ones. But I guess it depends. Usually we just let the broody decide where to set, and she takes her chances. They do learn where is a safe place to set and where is not. We try to offer a variety of choices and locations for their nests, predator proof their living quarters as much as possible, and hope for the best.
     
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    I've had mixed success moving broody hens, very true. I set up a big dog crate in the coop, with bedding, food, and water, and then in the dark, as quietly as possible, move the eggs and hen into their new location. I've lost too many hens and eggs having them out there hiding, or in the coop being disturbed by the other hens. Overall, more broods have been saved then lost here by moving them. Some hens tolerate the move, and some give up on the nest. Right now I've got a failed broody. Mary
     
  10. BohoAlly

    BohoAlly Just Hatched

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    Possibly Pack Rats. I've had to deal with them for this very reason. I just tossed a cat in the coop at bedtime. No more problems.
     

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