missing eggs...


10 Years
Jun 18, 2009
Deep in the heart of Texas
My hens have been laying about six eggs a day for a few weeks now. My pullets just started laying and it's all going well. I lost seven mature hens to the heat and then three pullets to outdoor predators (I'm thinking bobcat), so I decided to keep them in the 300 sq ft pen all day and only let them free range when I can in the evenings. They've been penned up for two weeks now. I was collecting eggs daily and it was all good.

Then, last weekend, I was mowing and picking up sticks and noticed a path going underneath the chain link fence that encloses the chicken pen. I live in a very warm climate, so I don't have an enclosed coop. The nesting boxes and roosts are under a covered end of the pen. It has worked well for years. The path going under the chain link was just under the nesting boxes. I put some cinder blocks over the path and no other path has appeared since.

I was collecting up to six eggs a day from the pullets that recently started laying. A few of the mature hens were laying also. On Monday, I went out to collect eggs in the evening, and there was only one egg in the nesting boxes. I went out again on Wednesday and there were ZERO eggs - there should have been two days worth of eggs. I went out again today, no eggs. Obviously, something is taking my eggs. Grrrrr.

I think it's a rat snake. A big one. I posted my dilemma on facebook and some friends suggested I put golf balls in the nesting boxes. The snake will eat the golf ball and will either get stuck in the pen (no likely since it's chain link) or the ball will cause it to die.

Anyone have experience with this? My other option is to stake out the pen in a chair with a sharp shovel and a good book. Like I have an entire day to sit and read...
I put golf balls in the nests on Monday. I've been checking daily and nothing has changed. No eggs, three golf balls in the nests.

Yesterday, i went out to check on them and one golf ball was missing. In the same nest there were two eggs. I looked all over for the golf ball just in case one of the chickens somehow managed to get it out of the nest (not likely) and it was no where in the pen.

I don't know what happened, but I'm definitely missing a golf ball and have the first two eggs in a week and a half.
Have yet to have any lovely chickens but have been helping an organic egg producer. LOVE IT and can not wait to get my own flock.
This kind man (who thinks I'm crazy to help him AND pay for eggs) uses golf balls, with great success. He killed 4 snakes in 4 days with golf balls. You may have more than one snake and they will go through the wire unstead of under it if needed. Will chickens stop laying if stressed by a preditor? I'll have to ask him.
Mr. Penny has over 100 layers so four snakes took only a small portion of his eggs, comparatively.(I'm a phonic speller) He ALWAYS picks up his eggs before lunch when almost everyone has layed so the snake has only a small selection to choose from or the golf ball. Could you get a neighbor to collect eggs for you around noon for about a week? (I would so do it if you were in NC) give the snake only golf balls. He puts extra golf balls around the coop to get "The scent" as he says. (do snakes smell? Not sure) As the golf balls leave he just picks up one off the floor and replaces it. He hasn't seen any golf balls leave for a couple of weeks now.

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