Something stole my plastic egg! Then put it back!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by wwin, Sep 20, 2016.

  1. wwin

    wwin Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2016
    Long Beach, Ca.
    OK so I have been pretty sure we have an egg eater in our little flock of 4 for the past two weeks. I go out an hour or two after hearing one of my white legghorn's egg songs and there is no egg. A few days ago we found one broken shell at the other end of the run far from the nesting boxes but thought it might be from one of the two pullets that are due to start laying any day now. Yesterday I put a plastic easter egg in the nesting box to help convince the new pullets to use the box (there is a lot of discourse in the coop over nesting boxes but I'll save that for another discussion) and when I looked late morning today, because one of the pullets was in the coop all upset, I noticed the green plastic egg gone- completely gone not in the coop or in the run.

    We keep the coop closed at night but the lid to the nesting boxes is unsecured. We've got a terrible rat problem right now but never see them during the day. At least one opossums has been around the house (probably feeding on the abundance of rats) also. Who would steal a plastic egg?
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2016
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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  3. wwin

    wwin Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2016
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    It just got a little stranger. My nonlaying barred rock (she quit laying a year ago even though she's only 2 yrs. old)was sitting on top of one of the white legghorn hens in the nesting box and when I went to shoo her away they both got up. Amazingly the green plastic egg, as well as the freshly laid legghorn's egg, were in the nesting box. Could a chicken walk around hoarding an egg and if so why?
     
  4. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are you entirely sure it was missing and not embedded / hidden deep in the nesting material only to be scratched out later?

    Or.......a neighborhood kid(s) might do that. Take it, have a guilt attack and put it back?
     
  5. wwin

    wwin Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2016
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    I considered it may be my middle age brain for a few minutes but no I'm completely sure the egg wasn't in the coop earlier. There isn't much straw in the nesting boxes right now since one of the chickens keep kicking it all out. This morning my husband and I looked everywhere in the coop for the plastic egg and we replaced the wood shavings on the floor while we were at it. I doubt anyone got into our backyard since the dog would go crazy.
     
  6. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Two houses back, my sister claimed she had a playful ghost in her house. Claimed it would steal stuff like one shoe or a watch or something. One day it was not there and the next day it was. Apparently it happened often enough she would warm people to expect it, so if it happened, not to be alarmed. Hopefully her ghost has not moved to your coop!

    Seriously, I doubt you have her ghost. If not buried in the bedding, somebody or something moved it. If it happens again, you could setup a trail camera to monitor things.
     
  7. wwin

    wwin Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2016
    Long Beach, Ca.
    I think the ghost theory isn't a bad one. All day today the egg has been moving around. It switched from one box to the other, then for a while wasn't in the boxes, but was back again (for a second time). I think my nesting box issue between the pullets and other girls, as well as my perpetually half-broody barred rock and my rat problem all have something to do with the missing eggs.

    Here's my working theory ... I'm thinking one of girls is taking eggs out of the coop and hiding them (the discourse between the girls about who is allowed in the coop when one of the established hens is laying an egg is like a mean girls club add to that a half-broody bully and it's chaos.) then at night the rats steal the eggs away. I can't quite figure out why they would put the green egg back but it's worth noting the egg was put back in the barred rocks favourite nest where she was sitting on top of one of the other girls laying an egg. Definitely time for some covert cameras in the coop.
     
  8. wwin

    wwin Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2016
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    I still haven't found a camera to put in the hen house and I almost convinced myself the missing egg problem is all in my head. Today however, I heard the perpetually half broody barred rock upset so I went out to see who was in the nesting box upsetting her. Sure enough, the old lady walked out in a huff and one of the white leg horns was in the favorite nesting box laying an egg. When I looked at the entrance to the hen house I found cold dirty white egg right before the exit. I didn't hear the barred rock drop the egg but I'm almost certain she's taking eggs and hiding them somewhere. I can't figure out where or how she carries them. The plastic egg no longer disapears but moves from nesting box to nesting box

    My other theory is that the rats we are seeing at night are sneaking around during the day and the barred rock in is the hen house protecting the other chickens why they lay calling an alarm as a rat steals an egg.
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    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
  9. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    I believe it is not unusual for broody hens to tuck an egg under their wing and move it to their own nest, so my bet is that your broody barred rock is trying to acquire enough eggs for a clutch to set but perhaps can't find a good place for her broody nest or you have two potentially broody hens and they are moving eggs back and forth between nests sites. You have to get a trail camera even if it's just for the entertainment value of seeing her/them do it. I bet the eggs that got eaten were accidentally dropped and smashed going down the ramp. You can't blame hens for eating eggs if they get broken. You will know if you have proper egg eaters because you get no eggs unless you collect them as they are laid and the nest boxes are all sticky and yucky each day, where they have broken them open.

    Please keep us posted with your observations on this one. I love the wiliness and quirkiness of broody hens!....It would be quite funny if one of them had you doubting your own sanity!

    Best wishes

    Barbara
     

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