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Egg-napping Marans

I have two black marans setting eggs.

Each hen was in a separate box, sitting on her own clutch of eggs. There are other boxes for the other hens to lay eggs in, too.

I haven’t been finding eggs in the other nests lately, and I suspect there’s a snake in the henhouse somewhere (again).

Suddenly, both hens are on the same nest. Nothing but feathers are left in the box the usurper once occupied.

two maran hens in the same nest
Who’s setting the eggs today?

No eggs in the vacated nest.

I checked underneath both hens.

No eggs under the usurper, who sat in front.

4 eggs under the hen toward the back. That was yesterday evening.

This morning, both hens are still on the same nest.

I checked underneath again.

4 eggs under the usurper.

None under the hen in the back.

What is going on here?

Is one hen kidnapping the other hen’s eggs? Does she give them back the next day?

I’ll have to keep checking. This is social activity I didn’t know about and am still learning, apparently.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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