Magpies & Crows stealing eggs

oberhasli1May 21, 2008

My guineas roost in my barn at night and free range during the day. The females return to the barn to lay their eggs behind my stack of hay. Every egg that is gets laid disappears. I am sure it is the magpies and/or crows that fly in and out of my barn. I had a problem last year, but my guineas were able to lay enough eggs in an area I set up to discourage the poachers. But, this year they are even bolder and the eggs are gone as soon as they are laid. I know it is not my dogs, because the eggs disappear in the morning before my dogs are even out or the main doors opened. I even thought it could be a rat, but I have never seen one and I am sure my dogs would smell it around. I have tried to set up private places for the guineas, but they are pretty shy about nesting in a "box" type of enclosure because I think they feel trapped. My barn is open during the day to keep the air moving and fresh.

Any thoughts on how to discourage the big poachers (without shooting involved)?

Bonnie

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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Corvids are pretty darned clever...but you might try leaving a radio on & tuned to a talk radio station in your barn. Maybe the sound of human voices will help keep them out.

If you really want to find out who or what is stealing the eggs (I assume there is no 'broken egg' evidence left behind?), set up a camera or video recorder aimed at the nesting area.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 1:05AM
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robin_maine

Can you leave the dogs in the barn to scare the birds?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 7:14AM
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aleksandras(7 NC)

You can take the eggs as soon as they are laid and return them when she is ready to incubate. Also, you can build a shelter around the nest.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 3:39PM
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oberhasli1

I have tried building a shelter around the nest, but the magipies just walk right in. The magpies will be nesting soon and won't be around quite as much. I will try to gather an egg or two here and there until I have about 20 and then see if she will sit on them. Last year, I had one female that decided to sit on them and then the other two females joined in.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 7:19PM
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shebear(z8 NCentralTex)

You're sure it's not a snake or possum?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 11:10PM
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oberhasli1

I'm pretty sure its neither of those. We don't have possums here at all, and we have very few snakes. I have only seen a small garter snake years ago. We are at a pretty high altitude here, which discourages a lot of snakes.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 1:04AM
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