Umm...Where Are My Eggs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by AUChickenGal, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. AUChickenGal

    AUChickenGal Songster

    377
    507
    221
    Apr 15, 2016
    AL
    D442BEC5-0D32-4613-8938-AB583FA83623.jpeg

    This isn’t quite your typical “when will my pullets start laying?” thread. I have a small mixed flock, consisting of 1 mature EE hen (18 months old), 4 pullets of about 27 weeks of age (EE, RIR, Delaware, and Salmon Faverolles), a 20 week old Wheaten Ameraucana pullet, and a 23 week old Splash Ameraucana cockerel. I’ve been consistently getting 2-3 eggs per day for the last month, from the RIR and the EEs. I’m not surprised that the Faverolles is taking a bit longer to mature, but the Delaware has looked more than ready to lay for over 6 weeks! You can see her comb and wattle development in the photo above.

    I was beginning to wonder if maybe I had an egg eater on my hands. But it seems unlikely that this would only affect a specific bird’s eggs, and I’ve seen no evidence of broken shell or yolk remnants in the nests. The birds have been confined to the coop for the past week due to fencing issues in the run, so there’s no possibility that she’s hiding a nest somewhere.

    I just replaced the bedding in my nest boxes over the weekend. When I checked the coop after work today, I noticed that the center box (which is never used) was missing all its bedding. On closer inspection, it is also missing the two ceramic eggs I keep in each box! The eggs haven’t been moved to any of the other nests, and I sifted through all the bedding in the coop - they are GONE.

    My coop isn’t snake proof, so I suppose there’s a very small possibility that a snake could have eaten the two fake eggs. But why would it ignore the other two nests? I live alone, but I do have neighbors - same question, though, as to why someone might only take the (fake) eggs out of one nest and leave the other two boxes undisturbed.

    What the...? I’m stumped.
     
  2. BigBlueHen53

    BigBlueHen53 Crowing

    2,692
    7,602
    477
    Mar 5, 2019
    SE Missouri, USA
    Sounds like snake(s) to me. Someone may correct me, but I suspect if it has swallowed a couple of ceramic eggs, your problems may be over.
     
  3. BigBlueHen53

    BigBlueHen53 Crowing

    2,692
    7,602
    477
    Mar 5, 2019
    SE Missouri, USA
    That might also explain the bedding being missing, incidentally... the snake thrashing around, trying to get rid of them.
     
  4. AUChickenGal

    AUChickenGal Songster

    377
    507
    221
    Apr 15, 2016
    AL
    Huh. I didn’t know snakes would do that. Good to know. I haven’t seen an actual snake in the coop since my house sitter encountered one way back in early June, but I know that absolutely doesn’t mean there haven’t been any visitors.
     
    Ladies-Eight and aart like this.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    68,192
    64,736
    1,477
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Nest empty of bedding makes me think newly laying pullet,
    they can really tear up a nest!
    Have you checked her pelvic points?

    Are those buckets behind the birds your nests?

    The missing fake eggs tho.....throws a wrench into the mystery. :idunno
     
  6. AUChickenGal

    AUChickenGal Songster

    377
    507
    221
    Apr 15, 2016
    AL
    Yes, I use repurposed horse supplement and cat little buckets for nest boxes. They were initially going to be temporary until I had time to build/find better ones, but the chickens seem to really like them, so if it ain’t broke...One of these days I’ll get around to elevating them a bit more so the bedding from the coop floor doesn’t get tossed into them so much.

    It’s the missing fake eggs that are confusing me, too. I haven’t checked pelvic points, but the Delaware does have a vent that appears to indicate that she should be laying. I never get more than one brown egg a day, though, so unless she and the RIR are coordinating a timeshare laying system, she’s definitely not laying. :confused:
     
    Ladies-Eight, EggWalrus and Sequel like this.
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    68,192
    64,736
    1,477
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    That could very well be the case.
     
    Ladies-Eight and AUChickenGal like this.
  8. EggWalrus

    EggWalrus Free Ranging

    1,849
    4,403
    527
    Aug 14, 2017
    Southeast Alabama
    I had to cut snakes open (after killing them) to get my ceramic eggs back! Damn things aren't cheap as real eggs. I've also found ceramic eggs laying in the yard after they had disappeared for a week, till the snake pooped them out. Since getting bit by a rat snake while reaching for eggs, I've been killing the hell out of every one I seen. Even if they do eat rodents.
     
    Ladies-Eight and sourland like this.
  9. AUChickenGal

    AUChickenGal Songster

    377
    507
    221
    Apr 15, 2016
    AL
    Wow, @EggWalrus! That’s dedication to getting your ceramic eggs back!
     
    EggWalrus and Ladies-Eight like this.
  10. Ted_Harrell

    Ted_Harrell Songster

    897
    3,624
    236
    Sep 23, 2019
    Pembroke North Carolina
    He would have a bad day trying to poop those out, but serves him/her right. Sorry to all you snake lovers out there but, another one bites the dust...
     
    EggWalrus and Ladies-Eight like this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: