Are you suspecting a predator is stealing your chickens’ eggs during the night? Dogs, snakes, birds, and rats are all capable of stealing eggs.
How do rats carry chicken eggs? Rats don’t often carry eggs away. They will usually break and eat the contents of an egg where they find it. They can drag eggs a fair distance when they want to though.
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Do Rats Steal Chicken Eggs?
Yes, rats are one of the predators known to steal and eat chicken eggs. They’re also capable of hurting or even killing chickens.
Two very good reasons to make sure your coop is rat-proof. If you’ve started suspecting that a predator is taking or eating eggs, and/or harming your chickens you have to do something about it.
When eggs are disappearing, it’s more complicated than finding eggs broken with the contents missing.
You have to try and rule out the possibility that your hens just aren’t laying. I suggest looking into how many eggs your girls are laying first, then start evaluating if predators are getting to them.
Related content - Do rats attack chickens?
How Do Rats Carry Chicken Eggs?
If you think eggs are going missing, and you’re pretty sure rats or mice are to blame, the real question is how are the rats carrying the eggs away?
It’s a valid question because it’s not easy for them to carry eggs. Obviously, they are four-legged creatures. Despite what you may have seen on TV, rats can’t pick up an egg in two of their little claws and run away with it.
They can transport eggs from one area to another though. They can roll them, or break a hole in the shell and drag it with their teeth.
I’ve never witnessed it in person. If I had, I’d shoo the rat away and save the egg of course. But I’ve seen rats moving eggs around like this in captivity.
This video demonstrates how much rats like eating eggs. As you’ll see, they’re able to handle it with ease and roll it around.
It’s a hard-boiled egg, so it’s not as easy to break as a fresh one. They’re still able to break in and eat it though, eggs are not safe with rats in the area!
How Do I Get Rid of Rats in My Chicken Coop?
If you’re sure it’s rats that are responsible for missing eggs, you need to take the necessary steps to stop them.
It’s not as hard as you might think. While rats are crafty little rodents, you can fortify your coop by doing the following things:
Elevate their nesting boxes - Rats are good at climbing, but by elevating your chook’s nesting boxes you can put them and their fresh eggs out of reach.
Install wire mesh - Chicken wire is fine for keeping chickens in, but it’s not strong enough to keep rats out. You’ll need to use a tighter, stronger galvanized wire mesh and dig it into the ground a few inches.
Check for entry holes - Rats and other rodents have unique bone structures (no collar bones) that allow them to squeeze through holes that are smaller than they appear to be. Block any holes allowing access to your coop, no matter how small.
Store feed overnight - The main reason rats enter coops is because they smell a food source, not because they want eggs. They will eat chicken feed if they can get to it, so start hiding/removing feed overnight.
Clean up - I’m sure you’re already on top of the cleaning inside your chicken’s coop, but it doesn’t hurt to double down on the cleaning. Pay special attention to any spilled feed or other things rats would munch on.
Finding out you have rats around your yard is never a welcome discovery. Finding out they’re entering your coop and possibly stealing eggs is a step too far!
If you suspect this is happening, it’s time to declare war on the rats. There are plenty of ways you can rat-proof your coop and rid your yard of rodents without using rat poisons and other harmful chemicals though.
I always advise people to try all the humane and safe methods of removing rats first. If you have backyard chickens it’s important you’re cautious about what chemicals and products you use in your yard.