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Ground Squirrels are stealing our eggs! Help! [View All]

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OnionPatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-16-08 09:22 AM
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Ground Squirrels are stealing our eggs! Help!
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We've lost chickens to coyotes, bobcats and even a bear who ripped the door off the coop. And we've been able to remedy the situation each time. But this one has me stumped. At first I thought the chickens were hiding their eggs. Then, when this was proven not to be the case, I thought they were eating their own eggs. Then I caught the little rodents in the nest box, breaking and eating the eggs! On some days I don't get a single egg and I have 6 hens!

My chickens houses are wooden coops inside a totally enclosed, 12x12 heavy-duty, chain-link cage. (Bear-proof.) Each day I open it up and let them roam free on a fenced-in half-acre pasture. They return to the coop to lay their eggs. If I make the pen/coops squirrel-proof, the chickens won't be able to get in to lay their eggs. If I lock the chickens into the pen always, they won't be able to free-range and that's the whole reason I have chickens. Without access to free-range, their eggs are no better than what I can get at the grocery store, so what's the point?

I tried rat traps and caught one squirrel (I closed off one nest box from the chickens but left enough space for the squirrels to get in.) But now they're too smart and won't get near the traps. We removed a wood pile that was close to the coop, filled in and used smoke bombs in all the squirrel holes we can find but still, they persist. My husband even shot a couple of them, but apparently, not enough and he doesn't have the time to sit out back shooting squirrels all day. I tried mixing hot pepper into a few eggs and putting them back in the shells but they ate those like they were candy. We're starting to get desperate enough to try poison, but are concerned about the neighbor's dog perhaps finding and eating a poisoned squirrel.

Is this it? Did I win over the bobcats and bears only to be defeated by a dray of ground squirrels? :banghead:
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