Egg snatchers of any kind are a nuisance to any chicken keeper. The girls devote all their energy towards consistently bestowing upon you, one beautiful and perfectly shaped egg only to have it go to an unsuspecting thief.
When our girls free range, which is just about every single day, we leave the coop open for them to go in and out at their leisure. When you find eggs being eaten every day at random times during the day you start thinking predators. You try to beat the "thief" to the eggs by checking every hour on the hour to make sure you get those eggs as soon as they hit the hay. Much to our dismay we would get there when the egg had already been consumed. Usually we were left with an egg soaked box. Day after day of only bringing in one or two eggs got to be frustrating. We were determined to catch the "thief" red handed, and I do mean RED!
We started to suspect it was an inside job. It was the only possible solution. The eggs were being eaten as soon as they were laid. We were checking the boxes every 1/2 hour to an hour and would sometimes have success in gathering eggs and other times we would get there too late.
We finally got our big break and took the egg snatcher by surprise!
That Rhode Island Red! She's a naughty one! Look at her...no shame.
Here is our buff and another Rhodey cramming into one box (the egg snatcher is one box over). They have 10 boxes for Pete's sake! I think that the buff is on guard. She protects all the eggs that are laid by the other hens. So, maybe the other hens go in her box and lay their egg. They can be at peace knowing she's got things covered and their little egg will be protected from the egg snatcher. It sounds a little strange, but that buff is in that box every day with a whole clutch of eggs under her and she defends them ferociously. We have dealt with broody hens many times and she is not brooding. She's protecting.
Thank you little buff!!