What did this??? UPDATE - post #19!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Cowgirl71, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 5, 2010
    Missouri Ozarks
    When I went to collect eggs this evening, one of my coops had NO eggs at all!!! I've been getting 14-21 eggs/day for the last couple months. I KNOW there were a few eggs in the boxes this morning when I checked on the hens on the way up from milking. Tonight when I went to collect all of the eggs, there were NO eggs, and two half pieces of egg shell on the ground. The first thing that came to mind was that I maybe had an egg-eater hen, but the seven nests were bone dry. Also, three of the hens were wanting to roost on the top of their pen, instead of on their roosts in the coop. They've all always roosted in the coop, by choice. All of the hens seemed kinda nervous and restless.

    I'm thinking it's some kind of predator, probably a snake since the nests were dry. What is it? And if it's a predator, how do I capture it and kill it?
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2010
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    Probably rats. A snake would have left no evidence behind.
     
  3. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    I agree with the rat theory. I doubt a snake would be out and on the prowl this time of year especially in Mizzou. If I'm not mistaken your low temps are in the low 30s/high 20's and highs in the 50's. I'm not a herpetologist but I think they would be underground right now. Just my two cents...
     
  4. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Grifton NC
    With that many eggs missing, I'd suspect humans
     
  5. Namble

    Namble Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 20, 2009
    North Florida
    Maybe someone else already got them for today??
     
  6. Grand-hen-ma

    Grand-hen-ma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 25, 2010
    Hudson Florida
    I had that same thing happen with my girls. Turned out we have some new neighbor kids that made friends with the dogs. The kids have chickens of their own but they are not yet old enough to give eggs. So the kids saw my girls, came over and helped themselves to my eggs and placed them in the coop of thier girls. The kids called their mother to come look at the new eggs. The mother was very surprised then put 2 plus 2 together. She told me what happened, forbid her kids to ever do that again...and never offered to return the eggs! I would have told her to keep them. Those kids are more of a problem that any rat or snake! Good luck to you.
     
  7. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 5, 2010
    Missouri Ozarks
    Thanks for all the replies!!!

    I know it's not humans, because we're 1/2 mile away from our nearest neighbor, and the coop's right near the house, so I would of noticed anybody who came (and if I hadn't, the dogs would of let me know). None of my family members did it. The chickens are my thing, they don't have anything to do with them.

    I really don't think it's rats, because we have umpteen different barn cats, and I haven't seen a live mouse or rat for a couple years now.

    The temps for this area currently are lows in the 30s and 40s, and highs in the 50s and 60s. Are snakes possible at these temps? I would think that they could be pretty desperate for food right now because they're about to hibernate...

    "Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens" says: "A snake slithers into a nest to gorge on whole eggs, then either snoozes on the spot or else finds a tree to wrap around to break the shells, then sleeps off the meal nearby." "A rat takes the evidence with him by rolling intact eggs down his tunnel." The nests are about two feet off the ground. I would think that a rat would break all the eggs and make a mess getting them down to the ground...

    Like I said, I've never had this happen before. Could it possibly be a snake?
     
  8. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Could it possibly be a snake?

    A snake couldn't hold that many eggs unless hes about 8 ft long, in which case he'd probably be eating chickens too​
     
  9. silkieroo

    silkieroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Durham NH
    Hmm... I'me stumped! [​IMG]
     
  10. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Missouri Ozarks
    Quote:A snake couldn't hold that many eggs unless hes about 8 ft long, in which case he'd probably be eating chickens too

    They were "medium" size eggs from my seven-month-old pullets, not jumbos or anything like that... Could a snake eat 14 medium size eggs? A friend of mine had a big black snack eat two one-month-old pullets this past summer. It was then too big to get out of the pen again and so she was able to kill it.

    UPDATE: I collected eggs this morning and this evening, trying to get the eggs before whatever it was got them, and got a total of eight eggs. The nest boxes were all dry, and there were no egg shells anywhere. I've been getting a MINIMUM of 14 eggs/day for the last two months. Could they have been really stressed out from yesterday and so didn't lay as well, or did something come back midday and eat all of the eggs that were there?

    Dogs and cats would make a mess in the nest boxes, right?

    This is really weird, it's almost scary... [​IMG]
     

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