Missing Eggs

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 88sub4x4, Sep 11, 2016.

  1. 88sub4x4

    88sub4x4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 4 18mo old Rir hens. They have an 8x8 coop and 12x12 run. I get anywhere from 1-4 eggs a day averaging 18 week. I do not free range them due to predators. The coop and run are as predator proof as I can make it and have never lost one. I've had racoons and cats attempt entry but fail.
    I went away for 11 days last month and asked a neighbor kid to collect the eggs and keep an eye on things. Long story short he forgot to come by. When I arrived home there were only 4 eggs in the nesting box. I have automatic water and feed and both were working and full. I checked on the birds the next few days but left the eggs. Each night they were disappearing. As there were no broken shells or yolk mess I figured I had an egg thief. I set up cameras at both entrances to my backyard can saw nothing on them, but the eggs that are in the box at night are gone the next day. Is it possible the chickens are eating the eggs overnight without making a mess? Or is there a predator that would take eggs yet not harm the girls? I'm at a loss here. Thinking maybe someone saw the cameras and is hopping my fence instead?
    I'm in NY if that helps predator wise.
     
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    If it was a one time deal and you saw nothing on your cams, I'd think maybe a snake. But night after night? I bet you have one of your chickens doing it. Can be tough to break an egg eater. Bad part is others can learn it. Here's an article that addresses it. https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/six-tips-on-breaking-your-egg-eater Good luck to you!
     
  3. theuglychick

    theuglychick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Could it be a snake?
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I doubt a chicken can eat an egg and not leave some wet mess behind.
    I'd say you have a predator, probably rodent maybe snake.
    Can you point the cam at the nests?
    Padlock nest access, if you think it's a human.
     
  5. theuglychick

    theuglychick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been reading that one large rat snake or king snake can eat multiple eggs in one sitting. Some people report them eating 5-6 eggs at a time. Id definitely point the cam at the nest.
     
  6. 88sub4x4

    88sub4x4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'll see if I can move the camera. It's not the highest quality since it's a wireless unit but I'll see if I can catch something. The coop is too far from the house to hook up the hardwired HD cameras. I added a hidden latch on the access door and the eggs still went missing. I'm convinced it's not human. Other then tiny garden snakes I don't think there are any other snakes around here. I came up with a roll away nest box I can build into my coop. I think that'll be my best bet.
     
  7. SueT

    SueT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Look carefully for hidden nest(s) as well. It's also possible that your chickens just didn't lay many eggs. They could have been upset that you were gone. My 2 hens (1 1/2 yrs.) have recently slowed way way down on egg laying. I suspected all of the above, including that my 2 pullets were eating the eggs. But I tested my theories by leaving test eggs overnight, all day, etc. and none were touched.
     
  8. 88sub4x4

    88sub4x4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I deliberately didn't bring all the eggs in a few nights and by morning they were gone. I raked through the shavings in the coop looking for hidden eggs and even looked through the wood chips in their run. Nothing.
     
  9. theuglychick

    theuglychick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm anxiously awaiting results from the cam!!!!
     
  10. SueT

    SueT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh wow. Please let us know what you find on the cam!
     

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