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Old 05/16/10, 10:00 PM
LFRJ's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Washington
Posts: 2,839
Discovered the egg theives - RAVENS!

I'd not have believed it, but I watched it going on all day. They've been hanging around for weeks, as they typically do, but these big black birds have definitely gotten assertive. Today, i watched them repeatedly raid our outside nest box. I did not observe them doing so, but I believe they may be actually going into the coop to make off with eggs. Lots of them! One of our ducks was sitting on 12 or 15 a day or so ago. I knew I had to go sort thru and reduce the clutch. Went to take a peek today, and none were there!

This may explain also what happened to our little broody gal who was caught eating an embryo from a broken egg. I was thinking it was another case of egg eating hens, and it may still be. She lost two chicks a week or more ago also. Never saw hide nor feather. Now I'm wondering now if these rascal ravens are getting aggressive to the point of pestulance.

Anyone else ever have this happen? Can they become predators like hawks also? We found the plundered remains of my best hen and her chicks two weeks ago. Looked like a raptor, but we've never had trouble with hawks. Now, I'm afraid we're in some Hitchcock episode or a bad chapter of E.A. Poe. Suggestions?
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Old 05/17/10, 12:59 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Colorado
Posts: 159
Yep. The large Ravens will take off with your little chicks and the eggs. Most people I know end up running the black plastic netting over the pens to keep them away. One person lost about 18 eggs in a day and they were duck eggs. The Ravens were even entering the duck house to get the eggs so don't be surprised to see that. I hope you can resolve the problem quickly.
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Old 05/17/10, 02:41 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Eastern WA
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I had one large Raven taking 11-12 eggs a day - as far as I know he (or she) was carrying them off in his beak. (3+ oz duck eggs) Black plastic bird netting over the top of my pens seems to have solved this and I'm back in eggs. I don't know why he wouldn't take small chicks or ducklings. My ducklings only go out under supervision or in a fenced/covered pen until they are too big to interest raptors, so I don't know about that aspect.
~ Carol
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Old 05/17/10, 11:58 AM
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Furry Without A Clue
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: NW Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,236
Yes, ravens will steal eggs. They will also hunt/kill chicks and, according to a book I read, are fully capable of killing a full size chicken. As others suggested, try to keep them out with some kind of overhead netting. Believe it or not, ravens are considered song birds and, I think, are protected federally. They aren't raptors.
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Old 05/17/10, 12:06 PM
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Location: Eastern WA
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I should have been clear, I know Ravens aren't raptors, we have a lot of hawks around too and I was more concerned about them with the ducklings. I didn't know Ravens could be quite such a problem!
~ Carol
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Old 05/17/10, 01:30 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Washington
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Thank you all. This may have solved the mystery of what happened to Ozwilla. She was my best broody (blue wyndotte). Seemed like everyone was having trouble with eggs getting broken underneath them. I suspected soft shells. I suspected an internal attack from the egg eaters. Now, I'm suspecting ravens.

I moved Ozwilla to safer quarters, and then brought her chicks to raise. She was out with them one morning scratching away. Next hour, we found her dead, and no chicks to speak of. Unlike some other casualties however, she appeared to have been carefully plucked. Also, it was mid morning, fully light. We suspected hawk, but we've never had trouble with them. I wonder if she died trying to defend and the scavengers just returned to finish the banquet, or if a team of the big black birds took her down along with the chicks.

All my remaining broodies are in lock down now. My duck is sitting on nothing, but she remains vigilent. As for the Ravens, well - stealing eggs is one thing. Taking out my best broody (if that's what happened) is a full on act of war!

I'll think of something!

Last edited by LFRJ; 05/17/10 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 05/17/10, 02:11 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Eastern WA
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In my Raven situation, the Raven was just taking eggs and flying off with them, little to no breakage or sign of anything, just no eggs and a big black bird hanging out.
~ Carol
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Old 05/17/10, 05:57 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ohio
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Crows and ravens are not considered to be migratory or song birds. Many states do have hunting seasons for crows and blakbirds.

From the Washington hunting regulations, crows in the act of depredation may be taken at any time.
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Old 05/18/10, 07:01 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Reno, NV
Posts: 197
Ravens here have killed two of my Bantams - my beloved D'Uccle and my beloved Rosecomb hen who had 4 chicks with her. The ravens took one chick - I found the others hiding (one with injuries). The ravens stripped the bodies, even up the neck. Ravens are no longer welcome here - the egg stealing I could deal with(duck, chicken and goose eggs) - but killing my chickens when they do not need to, I cannot.
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Old 05/19/10, 07:49 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: northcentral MN
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Crows were stealing eggs 2 summers ago. They stole at least 75 goose and duck eggs. They even got so bold they would walk into the low dark shelters I put up for my muscovies. I had to put rubber pond liner over the openings to stop them.

Once they start they teach each other and won't stop until you take some kind of action.

I moved my birds but if I ever have that problem again I will shoot the crows and leave them some place where they are visible to the others. Ravens and crows are very smart and will learn that it's too dangerous to eat the eggs.
"Do you believe in the devil? You know, a supreme evil being dedicated to the temptation, corruption, and destruction of man?" Hobbs
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Last edited by fishhead; 05/19/10 at 07:51 AM.
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Old 05/21/10, 06:36 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Keene-Green-Bratt Triangle
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Sometime ago I read about a farmer who solved the apparently pretty unsolvable problem of crows eating his freshly planted corn seeds. He cut lengths of hoses 3-4' long and scattered them around the field. They looked like snakes and the crows stayed away. He had to move them daily b/c the crows would figure out they were fake if he didn't, but as long as he did that it worked. Might be worth a try. I think ravens are considered the smartest of all birds so good luck!
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Old 05/21/10, 06:52 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Wisconsin
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Ravens/Crows are both opportunist predators/scavengers omnivores.
Basically anything they can eat they will take, dead, alive, in development or in growth, be it plant or animal kindom.

Here Crows are very important because we dont have a strong vulture population, crows have taken the roll in getting rid of carcasses that otherwise would lay in rot.

When we gut a large animal like a goat its crows that clean up the gut pile.

So they have their roll to play like everything else. It just sucks when they find easy pickings in the coop!

We have cats that live in the coop. They eat there and sleep there and that keeps crows at bay.
We place food for the cats when the chickens are out in the afternoon running in the chicken yard.
The coop floor is thick hay and the cats love snuggling down in a few corners when they go in for the night. Our coop is closed up at night, coons.
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Old 05/21/10, 07:41 PM
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Location: Central Virginia
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Yep, crows fly into our barn to steal our duck eggs. I never would have believed it if I hadn't seen it happen one morning.
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