Help with a broody - her eggs got eaten !

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Dun an Oir Hens, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. Dun an Oir Hens

    Dun an Oir Hens Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 28, 2011
    Rockland, Massachusetts
    I'm new to chickens so learning as we go - unfortunately my broody is paying the price.

    She is a large cochin and a determined mother - in March she went broody - purchased a dozen fertile eggs (we can't have roosters in our town) and after day 25 it was obvious she was unsuccessful. Luckily for us our school hatched chicks and we were able to bring home 3 - she adopted them that evening and was an awesome mother !

    Here we are again - 2 weeks on golf balls (bright pink and yellow) and any egg she can get her bottom on. So I search craigslist for fertile eggs - no luck. I went to purchase 3 chicks (chicken math) and in telling the farmer our sad story he takes pity on our broody and gives me 2 turkey eggs - he didn't have any chicken eggs.

    I put the 2 turkey eggs under her that night and left her 1 golf ball as well. The next night I put the chickens to bed and decide to check on our broody - 1 turkey egg gone ! I wait for her next morning - she gets off her nest and eats, drinks and poops. Immediately hops back on her nest. I check on her at 1.00pm - the other turkey egg is gone - no shell, no wet spot under her - nothing!

    I call a friend and he suggests squirrels or egg eating and tells me to blow out 2 eggs, fill with mustand and put them into the nest boxes.
    Next morning I see our favorite hen checking out these new eggs and as soon as I turn my back - one is eaten. I go to fill their water bucket and when I come back some hen has taken the other mustard egg out of the nest box and rolled it down the ramp so all the chickens are feeding on shell and spilled mustard. It didn't deter them any - they seemed to enjoy it.

    I HOPE that they are just opportunistic eaters so I won't have to remove them ALL. I do hope to confirm that the girl I saw pecking was the actual thief and I saw another hen in the hen house with her so I will have to remove at least 3 from my flock (I have my suspicions of another girl).

    My question
    How on earth will I confirm that my 3 suspects are egg thieves. I purchased 2 huge dog crates (Big enough for a great dane) and thought to put the 3 girls in jail. These cages are big enough for them to move around in and have their own water/food but not much fun like in their usual run so I can't keep them confined for a long time. Will just keeping them seperated confirm the egg eating.
    I have 24 hens but 1/2 of the flock are bantams. They are mixed ages - 12 from last year and 12 from March of this year.

    Second question
    I am going to use the other dog crate for my broody so she can't be bothered or her golf balls eaten. These lock up and are self contained.
    Is there anyone close to Rockland, Massachusetts with fertile eggs I can purchase?
     
  2. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    Aug 20, 2010
    Colmesneil,TX
    Why don't you lock up all but one at a time. Then if the egg is eaten, you'll know who did it. Just use store eggs and leave one hen out a few days, then rotate to the next one.
     
  3. Dun an Oir Hens

    Dun an Oir Hens Out Of The Brooder

    33
    0
    22
    Apr 28, 2011
    Rockland, Massachusetts
    hmmmmm - I want this to work so bad but my hen house is not large enough for them to be confined without going out to the run-------

    But then I looked again at your suggestion and it is genius.....I can lock one up at a time in the dog crate - that is ample big for a week or so confinement.....and I should only need a day or two to see if they lay and then eat the egg......if I work down the line from the most likely suspect to the least it should not be too disruptive.

    Today I cleaned out all the nest boxes and I am going to make "curtains" - I looked up egg eaters before posting this thread (is this a thead if I post something? - never been on a forum before) and darkening the nest boxes was a suggestion for another poster.

    I moved our broody to her own dog crate - it is outside the hen house but within the secure run. She did not like being moved at all !!!! She is a gentle broody ( a pity - I think that is why her eggs got eaten right while she was sitting on them) but this time she really fought going into the crate. I handed her in the egg I found under her and her golf ball - she moved the egg under her and stuck her nose up at the golf ball. She really needs eggs!

    Thanks for taking the time to reply and help me and my broody. This forum is awesome.
     
  4. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    7,950
    269
    321
    Aug 20, 2010
    Colmesneil,TX
    Yes, if you post a new subject, thats a thread. Glad you have a way to figure it out! I never had an egg eater and hope I never do. Let us know if the curtains work. It made me giggle, I have to admit - "Eat an egg, and its CURTAINS for you!"
     

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