BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying › Advice needed for egg eaters
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Advice needed for egg eaters

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hi all

I need some advice for my father in law's flock.

Background:
He has a mixed flock of about 15 including a rooster. He got these chickens from various neighbors and strangers. He did not practice biosecurity with each addition; each new hen was just added to the flock when he got it. (I warned him but he's very old school) From looking at them the best I could it seemed like all were healthy, no discharges, no sneezing, etc. (I didn't handle them because I wasn't about to bring anything home to my flock.)
A handful were finishing up molting so no eggs from them. The other hens were all laying fine until about a month ago. One of the RIR's starting eating her eggs so my FIL separated her within a day of it happening. Now he has a a couple more doing it.
My strong strong suspicion is that it's from lack of certain nutrients. As mentioned, he's very old school and would feed them A LOT of stale bread from the bread store every day along with various kitchen scraps. He gives them laying mash as well. However only recently has he been using the mash correctly with adding water to it. The mill he got it from neglected to tell him how to properly use it and I discovered the issue about 2 wks ago.
Please don't think my father in law doesn't love his flock because he adores them. He knows now that he can't feed them like they did when he was a child haha.

How can we help stop his egg eaters WITHOUT culling?
post #2 of 4

I'm still new and learning, but I had this problem with my flock of 7 RIR.  I read and read and it seemed dire and hopeless, particularly because I couldn't easily identify which ones were eating eggs and it appeared I might have to cull them all.  I managed to nearly stop this behavior.  From what I've read, this is rare.  Here's what I did:

 

1. Start collecting as often as possible, I have a son who works afternoons - so I would collect first thing at feeding time, before I went to work, again when I arrived home, and again when I closed the coop at night.  My son would collect between like noon and 2 pm. 

2. Add calcium to feed - avoid egg shells - I used oyster shell from the feed store as directed on the package.  You will notice the egg shells get harder. You are likely right about lack of nutrients.  I am amazed at their ability to know this.  If they start eating each other's feathers - get some black oil sunflower seed (high in protein) and they will stop.  Don't you wish you could say, gee I think I need more calcium?

3. Make sure to change hay often in egg boxes. Not sure of this, but it seems this makes it more difficult to break the eggs. They definitely like a clean nest to lay in.

4. If you find a broken egg, remove it as quickly as possible - clean up the mess and change out hay.  Yes, I actually yelled at the chickens when this happened - I doubt that had any impact but it made me feel better.  I would apologize later :).

 

I was losing most of my eggs when this behavior started and I was really diligent about what I did above and it virtually stopped.  I've relaxed a bit on the egg collection - maybe 2 or 3 times a day now.  Every once in a while, one will get eaten and I can't explain why - maybe 2 to 3 per month.  I can live with that. 

post #3 of 4
Especially in light of molting going on, I would guess they are lacking in protein.
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thank you both.
I plan to take him on a field trip to Tractor Supply this wk. Even with the laying mash he has that's supposed to have calcium I'll make sure to get him oyster shell too. (I want him to get all flock feed since it's higher protein and better for the roo.)
Replacing the hay is a great idea, thank you. I'll tell him about increasing his egg collecting too. He's retired so it shouldn't be a problem.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying
BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying › Advice needed for egg eaters