okay, way too many missing eggs

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by igotchickens, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. igotchickens

    igotchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 2, 2010
    Our eggs are being stolen! Trying to figure out the culprit. Its not a human. There are some spaces predators can get in, a couple places the chickens scratched the dirt dust bathing, I doubt an egg could fit under it though. And there's about a 4 inch wide gap between coop and barn wall where the fencing doesn't cover. There's also about a 3 inch gap under the gate into the run. The whole thing is covered with netting. The chickens are fine but we're losing I'd say up to 8 eggs a day. All eggs are laid in the coop and there is a 6-8 inch lip to step over to get out but there's a ramp for the chickens to get in, only on the outside, not the inside. We live in Poway, CA. Known predators in the area:

    Skunks - I don't think they can get in
    Raccoons - I don't think they can get in
    Crows - I don't think they can get in
    Snakes - we have seen a gian king snake in our yard but how many eggs can they eat?
    Rats - do they carry eggs in their mouths? And jump over the lip?
    Coyotes - no dead chickens... and they def can't get in
    Opposums - ?
    No squirrels in our neighborhood. Lived there a year and never have seen a squirrel.

    Any suggestions? Heeeelp! We have 3 fertilized x'd eggs left from 6
  2. NonnasBabies

    NonnasBabies Previously Barred Babies Premium Member

    Sep 20, 2009
    Pride, La.
    Quote:The rat snake my husband killed he caught curled up in the nest box had 10 eggs/shells we found after all the meat was cleaned off by whatever!!
  3. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    Any chance a hen has turned to egg eating? Sometimes they clean up every trace and you can't tell they committed eggicide at all just by looking.
  4. igotchickens

    igotchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 2, 2010
    I'm not ruling it out but some days we get no missing eggs so it seems weird to go from 2 eggs one day to 10 the next, then 4 then 9... it's just inconsistent, and we've never seen a chicken eat it unless we accidentally drop it. Pecking it open, no. And sometimes eggs get laid in the run (rare) and they're not pecked open. Plus, never a shell remnant to be found amongst the missing eggs or sticky/moist bedding in the coop or nesting boxes?
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    I found a rat's dwelling that had stolen and moved about 2 dozen standard sized eggs a few feet from the nest...
  6. ChooksinChoppers

    ChooksinChoppers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2011
    Ocala, Florida.
    I think if it were me I would take a 2 pronged aproach and put a couple of ceramic eggs in the nest for the snake to kill itself with, AND place one bite around for any Rats to enjoy.
  7. mulewagon

    mulewagon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 13, 2010
    I've had a snake get as many as six eggs at a time, or seven week-old chicks. A snake will rest for a while after a big meal, but of course you might have several predators! If you can't get hardware cloth over the gaps, try deer netting, to catch snakes. For rats, try poison in a metal bait station (if your chicks are too big to get in it!)
  8. dufus

    dufus Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 12, 2011
    sounds just like a chicken snake to me. search inside your coop carefully, they will eat and lay up under some straw or whatever. i had the same situation a couple of months ago, i moved back some hay on the ground and there he was. [ and departed this earth ]
  9. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Here it's always been a snake. If it's chickens, they may be eating the shell as well. But with your small holes here and there, I'm betting snake or other egg eating critter.
  10. patman75

    patman75 Chillin' With My Peeps

    If it was the chickens you would find yellow yoke on the other eggs or in the nest box material.

    Any chance the hens are laying else where? Broody hen stealing eggs for her nest?

    My gut tells me it is rat snake.

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