What is eating my eggs?


In the Brooder
8 Years
Sep 20, 2011
Okay, I realize my hens may just have stopped laying--but. I have 3 hens that live in a chicken ark (like this: http://catawbacoops.com/) but also free range my apprx 1/3 acre fenced yard much of the day. I usually get 1-3 eggs a day with an occasional (once every two weeks?) skipped day. This week, I think I have gotten 1 egg, maybe 2. Numerous days of NO eggs.

We have had worse times than this in winter when 2/3 were were molting, but nobody is in molt right now. The chickens look fine although one is limping slightly--she does this on and off and has no other apparent injury so we are figuring it is sort of just a thing of hers (she is 3). They act just fine. Seem totally normal. Eating fine. I have stood and watched them eat. Poops look normal.

I kept them confined for a couple of days, thinking they might be sneaking off to lay elsewhere. Nothing. I cleaned the coop very well today, looking for clues. Here is my one clue: sunflower seed hulls, UPSTAIRS (look at the coop--it has an upstairs, which is where the nestboxes are). So we clearly have a rodent getting in. Not a surprise; squirrels can certainly get in, as can wood rats, which we know we have and occasionally see. But...how would a wood rat get an egg down a ramp, or EAT an egg, without leaving a trace??? Could it?

Other thought was a snake, but snakes don't eat sunflower seeds! Maybe a rat is getting up there and freaking them out enough so that they don't want to lay?
Not sure where you are....but it seems that snakes are getting very active right about now. My dh killed a 'rat snake/aka chicken snake' today that was about 3 1/2 feet long.

Snakes are attracted to rodents. Could the mouse that ate the sunflower seeds be attracting the snake to the coop---and----the snake eats the eggs? Snakes are one predator that doesn't leave a trace.

Your idea about the rodent stressing the chickens is also a very real possibility.
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