Something Eating/Stealing My Eggs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by machoman, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. machoman

    machoman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 3 leghorns. a wyandotte, and a barred rock. All are new layers. I get two white eggs from the leghorns without fail everyday. Same deal with the wyandotte. Barred rock is every other day, sometimes everyday. For the past two days I've have no white eggs. Yesterday morning a leghorn was laying the egg laying spot, so I let her be...45 minutes later she was gone and no egg! When a chicken eats an egg, will it leave shells behind? Or could this just be a seasonal slow-down? I did introduce a game pullet to flock Friday, the two eggs stopped coming Monday. The pullet does not go into the coop, I've yet to determine where she hides.

    I have one nest for my 5 girls, is that enough?
     
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    A second nesting box may be a good idea. I believe the ratio of boxes to birds is 1:4. When a chicken eats eggs there is almost no trace left behind as they eat the whole egg shells and all. You may find some yolky shavings, but that would likely be it. Figure out who's eating eggs quickly. It is a terribly destructive habit that can be easily picked up by the rest of the flock.

    My neighbor had to cull half her flock last year for egg eating. She had 8 birds in the prime of their life and would get about 2 eggs a week. Once she culled the culprits she went up to 4 eggs a day. Big difference.

    Good luck.
     
  3. machoman

    machoman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you very much! I have an idea of who it may be. She's our dominant hen.
     
  4. Chocobo

    Chocobo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Might want to be on the lookout for snakes. They love eggs and can hide in the darndest places.
     
  5. blackbelt

    blackbelt Out Of The Brooder

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    As already mentioned cull the egg eaters. You may want to add oyster shells to your chickens diet, they may be lacking calcium.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    There are many different reasons you could be getting fewer eggs. This time of year many chickens molt and quit laying. That way the protein and other nutrients that were going into egg procuction can now go to feather production. This is my number one suspicion in your case, but I don't know your particular situation that well.

    Often, when production drops, one or more are hiding them from you, laying in a nest somewhere. This is real common.

    It is possible something is eating or taking your eggs. With my egg eater, she would only eat one egg a day and often there was evidence left behind. Sometimes part of the shell and often a wet spot in the bedding. She was not shy about eating in front of me either. It turned out she would open an egg and a couple of the others would help her eat it. Once I got rid of her, the others quit. They had not yet learned to open an egg themselves.

    A snake will usually eat a few and not return for a few days while it digests what it ate. The eggs totally disappear, but sometimes the snake will hang around. Not always, but sometimes.

    Usually if it is rats, they leave egg shell behind. But sometimes the hens will clean up empty egg shells, so that is not a positive sign one way or another.

    Possums, skunks, or raccoons will probably eat the egg right there, but they may carry it off a short ways. Usually you can find an egg shell somewhere around. A favorite place for raccoons to take it might be on top of the coop.

    When all eggs start disappearing wthout a trace, I suspect the family dog. Some dogs learn that when they hear the egg sone, a treat is ready in the coop.

    Then you cannot really rule out a human if the eggs disappear withut a trace.

    If you can, I suggest you lock them in the coop for a whole day to see if you start getting eggs. This may mean they are hiding a nest or you may have locked out a predator. At least you will have a clue. You can also put a marked egg in the coop and see if it disappears. Again, maybe a clue.

    But if you see a lot of feathers laying around, suspect a molt.

    Maybe not a lot of help I realize, but it really could be many different things. Good luck!
     
  7. machoman

    machoman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Ridgerunner,

    I made the second nest today and put an egg in it and someone thought it also looked like a nice place to lay an egg, so they've taken to the new nest.

    I'm thinking about trying to keep the leghorns in and everyone else out and see what happens. I've got three and for a while now have only been getting two eggs a day from them, already suspicious as they just started laying three months ago. A snake wouldn't surprise me, we have tons of black snakes out here. My birds are also free range during the day and I've looked for another nest, but have yet to find one. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist. No feathers to notice yet. Who knows? Ahhh, the wonderful world of chickens. What's interesting is it's only the leghorns that have disappearing eggs. I do have oyster shells in their food, but can add more. The only reason I have these birds is for eggs and if they can't produce or are eating their eggs, I've no use for them and I don't like throwing money away.
     
  8. Poultrybonkers

    Poultrybonkers Overrun With Chickens

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    One of mine are eating eggs to but their leaving the shell behind. Once I find out who their will be a price to pay.
     
  9. Hopeful Peacock

    Hopeful Peacock Out Of The Brooder

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    Are your leghorns going into molt? It's that time of year.
     
  10. RevLouM

    RevLouM New Egg

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    Our year-and-a-half old Buffies are going into molt, but production took a bit of a "nosedive" some weeks ago. We were at 6 eggs, (one per hen), for a few months but it decreased to three or less a while back. Our white bird, (Whitey, what ELSE would you call her!), has been VERY steady, only missing a day when she lays either a double or an oversized egg. This year's flock is just going in to lay mode, (don't you LOVE those first small eggs?), but I think we have a predation issue, again.

    Last year I got three ermine, but they looked too small to "carry" an egg, and I don't believe that the hens, (the one broody Buffy can be a bit...well...you know...), would just let it sit there and eat them. Besides, I find NO evidence of egg in the henhouse. In Maine. it's already way too cold for snakes, and anything larger would alert me or, more likely take a hen than an egg...(Fishers, foxes and such.).
     

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