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What could be taking eggs from under broody hens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by tffstpp, May 9, 2007.

  1. tffstpp

    tffstpp Out Of The Brooder

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    May 1, 2007
    williamsport pa
    I have two hens that have been laying on fertile eggs for a little over 2 weeks now. In the past week, something has been sneaking in and taking eggs right out from underneath the girls. The only evidence left was two eggshells intact with about a two inch hole with everything sucked out.

    I put cinder blocks over all the holes around the bottom of the coop, closed off the run, and shut the front door at night. That worked for the night, but I had to leave the door open during the day so the other girls can come inside and lay their eggs. Another egg was missing when I checked later this afternoon. I moved the broody hens and the eggs to boxes in a higher row and shut the door again tonight. The girls were laying in the first row of boxes that is level with the floor.

    Anyways, any ideas on what is doing this? I was thinking maybe a rat because whatever it is hasn't done any damage to the hens.

    Any help would be appreciated!
     
  2. Critter Crazy

    Critter Crazy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 19, 2007
    Binghamton, NY
    Quote:sounds like the hens could be eating the eggs.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2007
  3. tffstpp

    tffstpp Out Of The Brooder

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    May 1, 2007
    williamsport pa
    The hen laying on the eggs or other hens? Hmmm.... I never would have thought they would be ballsy enough to take them out from underneath another hen. Or to eat partially developed ones as well.
     
  4. JudyMcKinn

    JudyMcKinn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 24, 2007
    SW MO
    I would say it is a snake. I have known of a case where a large blacksnake was getting eggs right from under a determined sitter. Some/most hens would scatter, squaking, I would think, if a snake got inthe nest with them, but since the snake wasn't hurting the hen, and just sliding under her to get an egg, she sit tight. Hard to block snakes, as they can slide thru some pretty small holes.
     
  5. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    I too think a snake is the culprit. They can move in almost undetected by the hen. Is there a way to move the broodies to your house or garage? Just untill they are safe? Then of course, if there is a snake, they will get the babies as well. Hope you can catch the culprit SOON!
     
  6. 2mnypets

    2mnypets Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2007
    Galesburg, IL.
    My question is if it could be a snake, why is tffstpp finding 2 inch holes in some of the eggshells? I would have thought that the snakes would just comsume the whole egg. I'm wondering if it's not the other hens eating the insides of the eggs. Not saying it couldn't be a snake or anything else for that matter, but it just seems logical to me that you wouldn't see any evidence of a snake being there unless it was shedding, you found it in there or it's dead. I may be wrong though and if so then I've learned something new today.
     
  7. hencackle

    hencackle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2007
    Telford, TN
    Sounds very likely that rats are involved. Set a trap inside a wire dog crate or some other enclosure to prevent your chickens from getting to it.

    I've had a hen steal an egg from a broody before and the eggshell was crushed and most of it consumed, but they always leave a little bit of evidence. The snake that stole eggs from a wild bird's nest a few years back had telltale bulges from eggs swallowed whole.

    I'm glad that your broody hen is unharmed.
    Stephanie
     
  8. JudyMcKinn

    JudyMcKinn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 24, 2007
    SW MO
    You are right that a snake usually swallows eggs whole, but I am not sure what a hungry small snake would do, if he is too little to swallow the egg whole?? A rat is possible, I suppose, but I would think the hen would be less likely to sit there and let a rat eat an egg under her? And as someone said, hens usually eat most of the shell, and couldn't get inside the shell to eat the inside without breaking the shell. I hope you can find what it is, as I am curious now. Hope you have found a way to move them inside till they hatch.
     
  9. tffstpp

    tffstpp Out Of The Brooder

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    May 1, 2007
    williamsport pa
    Thank you for all the replies. Moving the hens up another row worked for one of the two girls. She has hatched 4 chicks over the weekend. However, my other hen was too stuborn to move her nest. She kept going back to the lowest row and laying in her origional box. She is down to two eggs and no babies.

    I'm thinking of taking the one with two eggs left and putting her in a box in the garage and sticking the eggs from the other hen who already has some chicks underneath her.

    I'm moving the mother hen and chicks to a seperate pen so they'll be safe too.

    Thanks again!
     

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