Virginia Lowe

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by virginia lowe, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. virginia lowe

    virginia lowe New Egg

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    Sep 29, 2013
    I live in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, and have had chooks in the back yard for at least 25 years. At the moment we have four delightful intrusive tame isabrowns (i think they're called) that had reached the end of their laying life in a free range egg farm. We are redesigning their run, so they are now free ranging in the back yard. Usually all four are around the back door begging to come in, but they also wait in the morning by the bedroom window (where the cats get in). As soon as one of us speaks they are there - on the outside chair the cats use, and with a head through the window - fortunately they can't get in. They've tried the cat door too. if we leave the back door open for a minute they are in like a shot, straight for the cat food!
    Anyway the problem is that something is stealing their eggs. There are no smashed shells or raw egg, they just vanish out of the nest in the hen house. Can rats actually carry them away? i thought Templeton in Charlotte's Web was poetic licence! Does anyone know?
    The other pests we have is the possums - mainly brush tailed (the big ones) but occasionally the little ring tails too). Has anyone Australian heard of them stealing eggs? I'm sure the cats don't - and they couldn't carry them away, anyway. My Sydney brother suggests blue tongue lizards, but though i saw them across the city when i was a child, have never seen one here in the 40 years we've lived in Ormond. Doubt if there is a snake, either. Country daughter says she had seen crows take a whole egg, but i can't see them coming right into the hen house to collect them.
    So it's a puzzle. Had anyone got any ideas?
    Oh yes, they almost certainly have a nest somewhere in the yard, that we haven't located, but these are eggs we have seen in the nest and forgotten to collect that day and gone back for the next, and they have vanished. it has happened in the past too. As we are vegetarians, we really miss the eggs - will have to go back to buying them again if we can't solve it.
    Thanks, Virginia
     
  2. Teri Metcalf

    Teri Metcalf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Greetings from College Station, Texas. We live barely out in the country on an acre of land, and we get opossums and raccoons. And I think that both can steal an carry away eggs. I know that raccoons can, and I believe that opossums can as well. I am also vegetarian, and make a daily habit of going to the henhouse (and looking around other places as well) to gather eggs.

    I laughed when I read about your chickens. You almost described ours. Ours are also free-range, and spend a lot of time looking in our windows to see what we're doing. Given the chance they would march right into the house and eat the cat food. Good luck on solving your mystery of the disappearing eggs.
     
  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    [​IMG] snakes can consume several eggs at once too.
     
  4. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC![​IMG] Happy you joined!
     
  5. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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  6. virginia lowe

    virginia lowe New Egg

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    Sep 29, 2013
    O'possums are related to possums, in that both are marsupials, but i don't know that they're really alike otherwise. I guess they could both take eggs though. Ours use their 'hands' very effectively - though i haven't seen one carry anything away with their paws, Only to their mouth. Thanks for the feedback any way - oh yes, i think we can be relatively certain it is not raccoons. let you know if/when we solve it! Virginia
     
  7. virginia lowe

    virginia lowe New Egg

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    Sep 29, 2013
    I didn't know about 'several'! But nevertheless i'd be very surprised if a snake was managing to live in this very built-up suburban area. i know they are still around on the banks of the river and various streams, but there's no rough ground, or even open parks, within about a kilometre (say half a mile) of here. Thanks for the feedback though!
     
  8. virginia lowe

    virginia lowe New Egg

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    Sep 29, 2013
    Thanks Egalite - but i think possums are different. i've never heard of one attacking a fullly grown hen, though i suppose they could conceivably take chickens. Maybe it is them that are stealing the eggs though - there are certainly enough of them around. I'll try shutting the coop up at night, soon, and see if the eggs still disappear then. As i don't think there is any way of possums getting in during the night, if they disappear, it will have to be rats (they can get in anywhere).
     
  9. Teri Metcalf

    Teri Metcalf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One clarification. When I said opossums, I meant possums as well. I think in our country we use the terms interchangeably. I don't know if they are the same as what you get in Australia. But ours for sure will eat eggs and young chickens.
     
  10. liz9910

    liz9910 Overrun With Chickens

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    Welcome to BYC! Maybe you can install a motion activated camera in the nest box area to try and catch the culprit in the act.
     

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