I'm Losing Eggs - Help Out a Newbie!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Melliebelle, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. Melliebelle

    Melliebelle New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    Sep 11, 2007
    Hi, all! I'm fairly new to this whole raising chickens in the backyard thing, so I hope you can help me. We have a pair of RIRs, and the hen has finally started laying. She had 5 eggs in her nest the other night. I went and checked tonight, and now we're down to three!

    I'm sure it's a snake or something like that stealing the eggs - is there a way to prevent this? Her nest is a two-sided (top and side) wooden structure that my husband attached to the house. Inside this, we put one of those big plastic barrels full of straw for her to nest in, and we have a piece of plywood kinda leaned against the opening like a tent flap to keep off the cool air. Also, they're in my fenced-in backyard.

    I don't have an incubator, or I would bring them in the house and hatch them myself. Is there a way to do this without having a "real" incubator?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions - I would love to have some baby chicks to add to our little flock!
     
  2. Stormhorse23

    Stormhorse23 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 22, 2007
    Indiana
    Its too cold to let eggs sit outside where I am, could you hen be a egg eater? im not too knowledgeable on this subject, maybe someone will know something about this. sorry, im not sure.
     
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    24,442
    49
    371
    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    RIR's do not often go broody, especially hatchery hens. Just because they lay eggs doesn't mean they will hatch them. leaving eggs in the place where she lays them just encourages her to lay her eggs in that place. It doesn't mean she is going back and laying them there to brood.

    One of your chickens is probably eating them I would say. Yes, they will eat the eggs. Once you get an egg eater it is hard to break.

    Collect your eggs daily.

    If you want to hatch them get an incubator. Some hens never go broody in their life.
     
  4. Melliebelle

    Melliebelle New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    Sep 11, 2007
    So...since these eggs have been outside for a week or so, I should just toss them out, right? And how do I know if one of them is eating the eggs - wouldn't I find shells or something?

    I'm sorry to ask such silly questions - like I said, I'm new to all this. We "inherited" these chickens when our neighbor moved away and left the poor girl in a pen in his backyard.

    And btw - I'm in Georgia. It's been in the 60 in the daytime here, but the nights are dropping to the 50's. Is that too cold?
     
  5. claud

    claud Chillin' With My Peeps

    843
    0
    149
    Dec 12, 2007
    PA
    Opossums love eggs and skunks too. Could be lots of things. Don't let the eggs in the nest(overnight especially). Wait until you know your hen is broody - I have two 9 yr old RIR hens who have never had an interest in raising children.
     
  6. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    24,442
    49
    371
    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    They will eat the shells too. It provides a good source of calcium for her.

    If they are a week old you can take them and boil them, chopped them and feed them back with some cooked white rice. It is a good treat.

    You can look at their beaks for signs of dried yolk but they do wipe their beaks when they get sticky yuck on them so that may not always work to tell.

    As long as they are in a place out of drafts that temp is fine at night.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by