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    • CommentAuthorjmb83
    • CommentTimeJun 28th, 2010 3:22pm (Jun 28th 2010)
     
    Hi everyone,

    I'm looking for some help, we have 6 chickens, all were laying fine until recently. I would come home from work and there would be no eggs, then soem days there would be one or two. We thought something or someone was getting into the nest boxes and taking them. we ruled out the someone option but thought maybe the chickens were eating their eggs. We put in a fake egg last night and this morning it is gone - not a trace of it anywhere!
    What could be taking the eggs and leaving no signs?
    We did/might still have rats but put down some poison and caught two. but still can't work out where the eggs are going?
    We did think that they might not be laying but we have been getting the odd egg and have even seen egss before they disappear.

    Can anyone help??
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeJun 28th, 2010 6:06pm (Jun 28th 2010)
     
    I reckon squirrels were pinching eggs from our hutch...have you got squirrels around? They're pretty clever beasties!
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeJun 28th, 2010 6:09pm (Jun 28th 2010)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    You need a camera set up!!

    Without knowing whereabouts you are, it's a bit hard - for instance I'm sure raccoons are more than capable of pilfering eggs, but if you are in the UK then I'm not sure what could be responsible...

    I's most strange that your fake egg went missing - that would probably rule out humans, unless someone thought that would be funny to take too!

    Are there no bits of egg shell left, sticky yolk messes or anything? When a hen eats an egg they tend to make a complete mess!

    The only thing I can think of is borrowing a camcorder and putting the longest tape you can find in it, and trying to catch the culprit that way.

    Whatever it is, at least it hasn't harmed your hens!
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeJun 28th, 2010 6:14pm (Jun 28th 2010)
     
    You haven't caught your neighbours having mega fryups, have you...?:)
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeJun 28th, 2010 8:17pm (Jun 28th 2010)
     
    Rats wil carry eggs away as will stoats or weasles. Magpies love eggs as well and are mega cheeky and very bold when it comes to things they like.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeJun 28th, 2010 10:33pm (Jun 28th 2010)
     
    I have pet rats and can assure you they can't carry an egg! (well, not a shop sold size anyway - never tried a bantam size with them!) They would eat it in situ but like a hen there would be a mess left behind, or make a hole it it to carry it which would also make a mess. And they definatly can't eat/carry a fake one! They would have to roll it away - would that be possible from your chicken run?

    My first thought was a neighbour hopping the fence and taking what's there. They wouldn't have time to realise an egg was fake if they were robbing!

    Welcome jmb83 by the way - I hope you can solve the mystery. Don't forget to let us know how it goes!
    • CommentAuthorjmb83
    • CommentTimeJun 29th, 2010 10:33am (Jun 29th 2010)
     
    Thanks for all your comments, we still haven't caught the culprit!
    Last night we set rat traps/cages again, they were set off but nothing was in them and the bate was still there so whatever it was got a fright.
    I think we can safely rule out anyone taking the eggs, we are quite rural and would hear a car plus my partner was at home all day yesterday.
    I have seen a red squirrel on a couple of occasions but not recently, my partner thinks it was most likely a stout, so he has set up a camp in the garden today and will try and catch the little blight.
    I will keep you posted if we solve the msytery
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeJun 29th, 2010 9:40pm (Jun 29th 2010)
     
    I was just reading up on stoats - I have seen one run over in the road but never alive! The internet says they are quite fearsome, but they have their litters in April/May so be careful that you don't orphan a family if you trap it. They usually eat rabbits - the article didn't mention eggs at all!! But if they've discovered a tasty source of protein I'm not surprised it keeps coming back!

    Do the hens have a nest box to lay in? Is it closed up at night? Just wondering how whatever it is actually gets to the eggs.
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeJul 1st, 2010 2:03pm (Jul 1st 2010)
     
    I can remember my Grandad showing me a rat hole that had several hens eggs in it. He said they store them for eating at a later date. I have no idea how they got them there. Wild rats have to be much more cunning than the tame ones. I have seen Dan's ferrets take an egg up a tube to their den, they sort of roll it along between their front and back legs they can move real fast doing it as well.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeJul 1st, 2010 10:10pm (Jul 1st 2010)
     
    Yes, I've seen my rats roll eggs too which was why I was wondering if they were laid somewhere that's usually inaccessible or if that was a possibility. Rats are great at storing food - mine find new hiding places in their cage all the time! I fill their food bowl up and they stash it all!
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeJul 29th, 2010 2:50pm (Jul 29th 2010)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    jmb83 - did you ever find out the mysterious culprit?
  1.  
    a little late but put poison in the eggs then visit the church in 2 weeks :) :) :p