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Unread 01-27-2009, 07:31 PM   #1
redmaples
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Default do squirrels eat chicken eggs?

Something is awry in the chicken coop where I have 7 egg laying hens.
I get only one egg a day...
whereas in the coop with 2 hens i am getting 1-2 eggs a day

now i know that during the shorter, colder days there will be less eggs,
but i am suspecting an egg theif

the squirrel population has grown (big greys) since we lost our female cat
a few months ago
i know they get into the coop & scrounge up a bit of scratch feed
but i am wondering if they also steal eggs

i do go out 3-4 times every day & check the nests

i am expecting to see a squirrel sitting on the wood pile holding & slurping up an egg

i am going to set the have a heart trap out with a few eggs in it to
see what happens

i did a quick google search & found out that squirrels do eat bird eggs
they rob out of nests...but
do they eat chicken eggs?
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Unread 01-27-2009, 08:51 PM   #2
dilligaf
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Default Re: do squirrels eat chicken eggs?

i aint never heard of them stealing chicken eggs. I suppose its possible but i would look to possum or coon, perhaps a snake. To me sounds like a snake that came out of winter dormancy early and is hungry. Put a couple golf or ping pong ball or them kid easter eggs in there and see what happens. If its a snake it will put an end to it happening. For anything else a trap would work
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Unread 01-27-2009, 10:38 PM   #3
Barb
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Default Re: do squirrels eat chicken eggs?

I just asked my hubby if squirrels would eat chicken eggs and he didn't think they would. He also said that they'll eat bird eggs - little eggs, but why wouldn't they take a bigger egg? I know rats will take eggs and as Dilli said, snakes will also but they should be in hibernation. Racoons will eat eggs but they will also rip chickens apart - have seen that first hand - it's not pretty. Another other animal that will take an egg is a skunk. Also dogs will steal eggs - but they tend to bother the chickens too. Are there any kinds of tracks around? A trap might just be the answer.
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Unread 01-27-2009, 10:50 PM   #4
redmaples
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Default Re: do squirrels eat chicken eggs?

thanks dilli & barb,
as dilli suggested, i put ping pong balls in the nest box when i went out
at dusk this afternoon...maybe it will give me some kind of clue...
if the eggs are getting taken they are getting taken in the daylight as i
check the nests right before dark every day
all the hens are ok
every day that there is an egg there is just one, same size & shade in the same place

if the chickens were eating them it seems like there would be signs of shells around

it is hard to tell about the tracks as there are cat, dog & people tracks

also squirrel

i do catch rats in the traps sometimes, but don't suspect them to stealing the eggs

because it happens in the daylight.

tomorrow morning i will set the have a heart trap

now i'm wondering, barb, if my red beagle might be doing this

she has gotten awfully fat this winter!
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Unread 01-27-2009, 11:39 PM   #5
dilligaf
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Default Re: do squirrels eat chicken eggs?

the dog is quite possible. Ours love love love eggs but they also luv chickens too
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Unread 08-22-2009, 02:26 AM   #6
tckennedy
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Lightbulb Re: do squirrels eat chicken eggs?

As I was checking my hen house/nest boxes this afternoon, I surprised a squirrel which was climbing the ladder to the nest box level... The squirrel turned tail and escaped the chicken yard. I thought it was just after some of the chicken feed, but when I only found 2 eggs and one of them was cracked on the end, as though it had been dropped, I came inside to do this search.

I should also say that in addition to having a few 'regular' size chickens producing medium eggs, I also have a number of Bantams, producing very small eggs. They've been producing the most numbers of eggs, but today there were none in the nest boxes...

I'd been wondering why the numbers of chicken eggs were so sporadic - some days it was 3 eggs, or 6 eggs (yesterday), and then two eggs today, etc.

This is my resident squirrel I've named Rascal when I moved here 4 years ago. I've only had the chickens since last Spring. I don't want to kill the squirrel, and am looking for suggestions.



~TeriK
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Unread 08-22-2009, 03:31 PM   #7
Missy
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Default Re: do squirrels eat chicken eggs?

I would reinforce your coop, adding wire fabric, not the chicken wire, but the 1/4 inch hardware cloth. Use that to close off anywhere you can see that anything can get in. If you want to get tracks to see what's getting in, I have had some luck sprinking a dusting of flour around the perimiter of the coop and or run. I found out where mice were finding their way in using the flour trap...and found out we have not just one or two garden snakes, but a bunch!!!if something eats the flour, it won't harm them, but it is obvious when it's walked through. And it's cheap too. You don't need a lot. Sprinkle some on the ground and try stepping on it, when you have enough that you can see your own print, you know you have enough.

I would also concider adopting another cat to help out with the squirrel and other critter population.

if it's wet outside...though... the flour wont' work. duh, i guess.

my beagle leaves the chickens right alone, she's been pecked in the head a few times, and though she's not the sharpest tool in the shed, she got the hint.

if the girls were pecking their eggs, i imagine, somewhere, there would be a wetter spot, shells, or some sort of sign they were doing so.

I don't know what's getting your eggs, but when you figure it out, wouldl you share what works etc so we fellow keepers have another way to figure it out too? My girls can lay between 0 and 10 eggs a day. They have gone the last 2 weeks without a single egg. I could scream, lol.
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Last edited by Missy; 08-22-2009 at 03:35 PM.
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Unread 09-24-2009, 01:01 AM   #8
tckennedy
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Thumbs up Re: do squirrels eat chicken eggs?

Hey thanks, Missy!

By the way, I already have three cats. They mostly keep the resident squirrel up a tree, but they don't go near the hen house very often, and didn't see it scramble out the hen house and up the tree..The flour might do the trick, though recently, other critters have now shown up.

Other than eggs disappearing, I'd been finding more piles of small feathers here and there. It's as though something was getting hold of a chicken, defeathering it right there, and then dragging off the body - as there was no signs of blood, etc.

Two nights ago at 0-dark-thirty, there was an awful racket out at the hen house. I grabbed my pellet gun and flash light and headed out, followed closely by my brave little Maltadoodle.

Two of my broody Banty hens, Cagny and Lacy, were out in the chicken yard instead of on their nests when I first came in, and they were both acting a bit dazed and confused. When I got inside the hen house, there was a racoon climbing up into the roosting area, packed with hens. I immediately shot it with my pellet gun... twice... but the coon wasn't phased by it. It got up on one of the roosting branches next to a chicken, and froze. Guess it thought I couldn't see it up there.

I hurried back to the house and got out my revolver. I wasn't even gone a minute, but when I got back to the hen house, the racoon had jumped up onto the chicken yard fence, crossed the hen house roof, and then into the ponderosa pine tree. It was just sitting there, clinging to the tree trunk so I took a couple of shots at it.

I missed it both times! Frakk! I was a bit excitable I guess, because earlier the coon had brushed up against me before climbing back up into the roosting area. I've encountered live, snapping, gnarling racoons before, so I guess I was a bit shaken, and didn't get a proper bead on this invading coon, after my chickens. Well, I chased it off anyway - and I'm sure that the noise of the hand gun woke a few of my neighbors...

Then, last night around midnight there was another ruckous! This time I grabbed my 12 gauge as I went out the door. There were two of my hens outside of the chicken yard entirely, so I picked up each of them and took them into the hen house, helping them up on a roost because it was so dark.

As I started to go back toward the house, I glimpsed the top of a skunk's tail about 40 ft. from the coup. This time the varmit didn't get away. The shot gun is loud, too, but it doesn't thunder off the canyon walls the way my .38 does.

Listen, I'm all for catch and release if there are no lives at stake. But these critters were definitely thinning down my 'herd' of chickens, and the past couple of nights I've noticed that part of the flock has even decided to bed down in the branches of a large oak tree half way back to the house. I'm sure it's because of the night time attacks back at the hen house. That's ok for now, but in another month or so, it'll be much too cold for them to sleep outside the hen house, up in a tree. I'd have hen-cicles by morning.

Anyway, after the skunk was taken care of, I went back to check on the hen house and rabbit hutch, and in dark above my head I heard the sound of wings and an alarmed clacking of a hen flying blind and coming in for a landing. It crash landed in the neighbors' yard, so I called to it, but it decided that yet another flight in the dark wasn't gonna happen and just sat tight.

Well, ok. My yard is completly fenced, so I had to go back to the gate, walk back up along the creek bank and fetch the Banty myself. I'm beginning to feel like a shepardess at this point - finding the strays in the dark and getting them back to port.

I finally got back inside to watch the rest of my movie. At 1:30am, I was literally getting ready to head for bed myself when I heard low chicken sounds outside my office door. You gotta be kidding, right?? So again, grabbed the shot gun, opened the door, and when she saw me, my favorite Cuckoo Maran hen, Lady Bird, immediately stumbled my way. She seemed a bit wobbly, and a few feathers were decidedly out of place.

As black as it was, I dunno how she made her way to the patio outside my home office door. So I picked her up and walked back to the hen house, putting her up on an available roost. Along the way, I searched the yard and trees with my flash light, but couldn't detect any critters.

This morning I removed the skunk from the compost bin, because the hens refused to go scratch in the bin until the invader, though dead, was removed. Thank goodness for a heavy duty rake nearby, which was drafted to lift the smelly critter out of the bin, and through the back gate. I think that when I hit it with a round last night, it must've just let go of its stink bomb all over itself.

I decided to lay it out behind the hen house, next to that big ponderosa pine. My thinking is that maybe the stinky carcass will discourage another round of invaders for at least a couple of nights. We'll see...

Yes, wire mesh would certainly stop the invaders. But I don't have any on hand, and that stuff isn't in my budget for the next few weeks.

Oh! I also found a hole between the hen house and the chain link fence. Judging by the size of the entrance, a small skunk might have made a den right under the hen house!

So goes the struggle.

How are your hens doing now? Still not laying, or did you catch a critter??





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Unread 09-24-2009, 02:52 PM   #9
redmaples
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Default Re: do squirrels eat chicken eggs?

The squirrel population here has gone crazy since we lost our female cat last fall. we still have 2 males that are good hunters, but not as good as the girl was at catching squirrels. Our neighbor 2 properties down borrowed a small have a heart trap & relocated dozens of squirrels. It's not going to make a big difference though as there are still dozens over here that will eventually find their way over there!

We've had the same critters around....skunk, possum, racoons, fox, but whenever a hen has come up missing, we aren't quite sure what it was unless we set the HAH trap out to catch it the next night. Everyone's been safe lately though.


the 4 butternut trees that we have have produced abundantly to give the squirrels plenty of food. They are storing nuts everywhere, but the kids old tree house is their favorite spot. I am not getting many eggs lately either, partly because I gave 2 older hens away & partly because 2 hens have chicks they are raising.
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Unread 09-24-2009, 04:56 PM   #10
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Default Re: do squirrels eat chicken eggs?

I enjoyed reading your story TeriK, but I'm sorry to hear of your adventure in the hen house. You have a way with words! ;-) Good luck with the 4-legged Omelette Chefs.
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