Missing Eggs :-(

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by jkcaelwing, Sep 16, 2016.

  1. jkcaelwing

    jkcaelwing New Egg

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    Sep 16, 2016
    So we are fairly new to the chicken world, we started with 5 Rhode Island Red chicks at New Years and here we are 9 months later with 5 gorgeous girls who for the past 2 months were very faithful in laying an egg a day. The past two weeks however we have not been getting that. We are lucky to get 1 a day and that is if we catch the egg right after the hen walks away.

    At first I didn't know what to think so we started narrowing the field of possibilities - I purchased some fake ceramic eggs that look just like the ones our girls lay thinking maybe they were eating them but then those went missing... so I thought well maybe a neighbor was stealing so we padlocked our coup and run and put more fake eggs in and again they went missing... so it wasn't a neighbor and it wasn't a chicken - but what would be eating 4-5 eggs a day? and what would be taking the ceramic eggs? they are no where to be found around the coup...

    We haven't had a snake or rat problem in the neighborhood thanks to the stray cats that hunt and leave them dead on our doorstep every few months (hence the girls being locked away) - Our coup and run are completely locked down top to bottom with no means for anything larger than a small mouse to pass through, the girls only lay during the day (or that has been their habit thus far) and they are very inquisitive on anything that passes through their run or coup they regularly attack my feet when I go in to check their water... I regularly find them eating lizards and such in fact to curb our iguana population I catch the little iguanas and other lizards we have around and drop them in the run for the girls to have a snack.

    I never find any signs inside the coup of a predator or a pest, I did find a two eggs last week that looked like they had been hen pecked (which was why we bought the fake eggs) and I found one solitary egg a few feet outside of the coup which means something carried it out but there were no tracks (soil is pretty sandy so there should have been some signs)


    Thoughts?

    They aren't molting, we feed them a well balanced diet of organic layer mix as well as other goodies such as fresh moringa leaves and flowers (they are addicted to it if they seem me near the tree they start squawking like crazy till I stick a branch in the coup) they also get other fresh fruits and veggies as we have them left from our meals - they have plenty of fresh water I check it and clean it multiple times a week...

    I am at a loss for what to do at this point...

    Any help or direction would be appreciated!
     
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Two potential possibilities: are you finding yolk or shell fragments in the nesting boxes? If so it could indicate one of your birds is dining on the eggs. They will consume the whole thing, shell and all but leave evidence behind.
    Second is length of day....not sure where you live but hens need 14 hours light per day to lay consistently. This is felt sooner in northern parts as the days in those latitudes are shorter sooner. Production drops off as the amount of daylight lessons as we head into fall. Last year there were days in December and January where my 25 birds gave me zero eggs. When the longer days came, up went the production.
    Those are my initial thoughts.
     
  3. jkcaelwing

    jkcaelwing New Egg

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    Sep 16, 2016
    No signs of eggs being eating in the nesting box - that was our first thought hence the ceramic eggs but then with the ceramic eggs going missing we realized it had something other than the girls eating the eggs (unless they are eating ceramics)

    It's possible the hours of sunlight could effect them however we live in the tropics and pretty much have the same amount of sun year round only varies by a few minutes - and unfortunately that wouldn't explain the ceramic eggs going missing :-(

    I saw a post about filling eggs with something the hens wouldn't like to eat such as mustard or dishsoap - I may try that next
     
  4. Eggsoteric

    Eggsoteric Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My guess would be snake.
     
  5. Little Fuzzy

    Little Fuzzy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Had the exact same problem. My run door is open during the day because my girls free range and I think my ground squirrels were going in and stealing eggs. At first I thought I had an egg eater, very frustrating. I now collect more often but of course I am home most of the day and hear their egg song. I would try a game camera.
     
  6. jkcaelwing

    jkcaelwing New Egg

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    Sep 16, 2016
    Game camera is in my shopping cart! thanks for the idea!
     

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