We get 12 to 16 eggs from our 16 chickens every day. They have been very good and consistent egg layers, so I was very suspicious when we collected only 9 eggs the last 2 days.
A good friend of ours brought us a HUGE pile of straw bales (for free!!!) which Digger shoved off the trailer with his excavator. The result of this expedited removal left quite a mess…
I suspected that the chickens found some great hiding places in the straw to deposit their eggs instead of using the nesting boxes. This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve had to go egg hunting. This is a down fall of letting the chickens free range; sometimes they decide not to go back to the coop, and around here there are PLENTY of hiding places. I figured a quick search through the pile would produce several missing eggs, on my way to search in the straw I heard a weird chicken disturbance in the barn. I took a little detour to check it out and this is what I found:
I pried her out of her ridiculous predicament and realized it was Ginger (of course).
Here she is looking dazed but not hurt. Ginger is by far the most curious, and I always thought the smartest (but maybe not) of all my chickens. When I set her down, she ruffled her feathers, glared at me like it was my fault (or maybe she was just mad cause I stopped to take a picture before rescuing her), then went about her business. I was so glad I went in the barn….I don’t know how long she would have survived squished in there upside down…
I then proceeded to the straw pile to start my egg hunt.
As you can see we performed a thorough search, but came up with nothing. There were several holes we couldn’t see into though, and I wasn’t terribly anxious to move the whole dang pile for some missing eggs!
It was time to head back to the house and start school, but I decided to stop by the chicken coop to collect any recent eggs. When I opened the door our dog “Oddie” was in the coop! I yelled and she quickly dove for the chicken door. I had no idea that darn mutt could fit through the chicken door. I now know where all those eggs went!
Here’s the little egg sucker, still licking her chops and looking shameful.
The only way to solve the problem was to make the door smaller so she couldn’t fit through. We have called her “Houdini Dog” since she was a pup, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that she found her way into the coop. She has been known to climb 8′ no climb fence to get out of a pen, and she has managed to get out of every collar we’ve ever put on her (that’s what happens when your neck is bigger than your head).
So the lessons for the day are: Never underestimate the clumsiness of a curious chicken, and always measure your dog before you build a chicken door!