Thursday, March 14, 2013

Egg Thief

We had an egg thief. As in...someone or something was eating our eggs and leaving broken eggshells everywhere.

Here's the thing - the chickens hadn't been sounding any alarms, the dogs hadn't sounded any alarms, and I hadn't seen evidence of any animal-related damage.

Our chickens free-range at all times. Many chicken keepers will disagree with this approach for many reasons (mainly predators), but this works for us. We live in a heavily wooded area and our chickens spend 90% of their time in the woods. We have dogs that sound the alarm at animals, and one who particularly LOVES to bark at flying birds of ANY kind (sometimes we believe them to be imaginary). 40+ acres of lakefront land means a LOT of bugs and greens and whatnot that they can have access to, and this helps to not only keep our feed cost down, but is so much better for them than anything we could feed them. And to be utterly honest - I am not perfect. I have forgotten to let some of our chickens out one morning (they were sequestered due to ... lack of chicken skills. No joke.) and we lost one due to lack of water access. 100% my fault and I will not forgive myself for that one.

But I digress.

Our egg thief kept stealing eggs daily for a few weeks. From all 3 'official' nesting spots (we have a total of 10 nesting boxes for 16 hens. That's just how many boxes we ended up with). Granted, some of our hens tend to lay clutches elsewhere from time to time and I don't mind if a thief gets those. But the problem is the thief didn't discriminate between the two types.
We used to use this hutch as an infirmary. But the hens like the tub so much (we get 5 or 6 eggs in it a day) that we had to relinquish it for daily use. Thankfully we haven't had any sick/wounded birds that might need to use the hutch.
Finally one day I caught the thief red-handed:
Guilty. Just look at her.
Zora. ZORA IS THE EGG THIEF. We have to keep her tied up during the day if we're all out, and the other day when I let her off when I got home, she made a bee-line for the hutch, grabbed an egg out of the tub, and chomped away at it. Shell and all. She is a very good dog, and when I reprimanded her and waddled my way down there she knew she had done wrong. But 10 minutes later when I was hanging up laundry, she went into our small coop, grabbed an egg out of the nesting box, and went to town on that one. Sigh. She will not be deterred and she is such a good guard dog the rest of the time (she doesn't eat chickens. Unlike our OTHER dog...) that it's not the biggest deal in the world to make sure all 10 nesting boxes are empty before we let her off the line.

Never in a million years would I have pictured myself having an issue with a dog stealing eggs and eating them whenever she could. Life is odd sometimes!


Ramona JapaneseRedneck said...

rut row....bad doggie.....

At least you caught her in the act and now know what is happening. So that gives you a way to fix the problem.

Happy weekend,

Jennifer said...

Poor Zora. She blew it! Sigh. I bet she had a really silky shiny coat, too!