Farm Farm

The Great Egg Mystery

Now I have about 25 adult hens, but I’m not quite sure that all of them are laying yet. All summer long I have typically been getting a little over a dozen eggs a day. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Since the average chicken lays around 5 eggs a week, this is a little low for the number of chickens, which is what leads me to believe a few of the younger ones aren’t quite laying yet.

Gathering eggs was always fun for me, because I just never knew where I was going to find them. Sometimes they would lay them in the logical spot, the nesting boxes.

But most of the time every day was like Easter morning and I’d have to find them. Here’s 3 I found one day under the hay rack in the goat house.

And here’s one under the goat’s water bucket.

And here’s one in the hay rack of the goat house. They love to lay in the hay rack. Some days I’ll find as many as 6 in there.

But something is happening to my eggs. They are disappearing. Literally. Vanishing.

At first I thought I had some egg eaters. Chickens eating their own eggs is not an uncommon problem, but luckily it is one I’ve never had to deal with over the years. I little over a week ago I did find some of the ladies gathered around something, and when I went to investigate they were eating the remnants of an egg. Sometimes when chickens get a taste of those delicious eggs they start to eat them all the time. Then you’ve got a real problem. Egg eating is a hard habit to break, and you often have to cull the chickens with this habit from your flock to eliminate the problem.

However, I’ve come to decide that this is not the problem. The eggs are simply gone. Or were never there in the first place. I never find a single shred of evidence that an egg has been eaten. No runny white or yolk. No pieces of eggshell. Nothing. There would be some evidence of eaten eggs; raw egg in the straw beds, eggshells laying around. Something.

So my egg count is down considerably. Some days I’ll get maybe 5, and others I’ll get as many as 9 or maybe 10.

This reduction in eggs seems to coincide with the arrival of King Strut. I haven’t decided yet if this is just coincidence or has something to do with the drop.

In case they are feeling a lack of privacy, I read that curtains on the nesting boxes can help. It’s also a preventative measure against egg eating. An out of sight = out of mind theory. So, using some of the fabric left from making the little nesting box valance I stapled up some rough curtains.

And they’re laying in there. I don’t know if it’s helping, but it sure looks pretty!

The reduction may also have to do with the shorter days. Egg production is directly tied to the amount of sunlight a chicken gets every day. To extend your laying productivity in the winter months you can supplement with artificial light in your coops, and I often do. But this was so sudden that I’m not sure that is the answer to the problem either. In the meantime, I’ve got everybody out looking for the eggs. The chickens can’t find them.

Melina says they’re not in the old brooder coop. Why she’s in the old brooder coop I’m not quite sure.

And Princess Kate, Grace and Kiki are doing the lazy-man’s look for the missing eggs. This is closely related to the way my children look carefully for something; scan while slowly turning neck. If the item being looked for is not in direct sightline it is therefore not there.

And Melina was being such a good egg hunter that she got this plastic tomato cage stuck on her head.

Just another day here on the farm.


  1. […] The Great Egg Mystery occurred. Where were all my eggs going? It was as if they were vanishing into thin air. Some days I […]

  2. […] before I figured out that King Strut may be at the root of The Great Egg Mystery, in desperation to get my egg production back up I purchased 4 Red Star pullets from my local […]

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