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Dealing with an egg eater

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I have an egg eater and I've singled her out. I've done everything I can think of in the last few days to discourage the egg eating, but she doesn't seem to be phased. She's even eaten two eggs filled with dish soap and one with miustard! I'm afraid she may be encouraging the others to join her. Today I watched her crack an egg and come and go from the coop, eating at her pleasure. I also saw a few of the other girls take a few swallows. Is she going to ruin my whole flock??? How long until we have to cull her? I don't see a way around it, as sad as it makes us. My daughter is devastated, but I've tried to explain that this is farm life.
post #2 of 7

It's a tough habit to break especially if birds are penned up, and she may very well get the other birds started on egg eating.  I would suggest at least removing her from the flock before that happens.

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post #3 of 7
As suggested by Sourland, you should probably remove her to an area where she can't pass on her egg eating habit. Have you tried fake eggs? I was able to cure a budding egg eater with wooden eggs (I had a small flock with only one bird laying at that time, so it was easy to keep her away from the real eggs for awhile). After about four days with the wooden eggs as her only option, she lost interest in the eggs and didn't eat any others. She wasn't as invested in the behavior as it sounds like yours is, though, as I caught it early on. Another option might be roll away nest boxes, especially if others have already started to learn to eat eggs.
post #4 of 7

Are you sure the eggs didn't break before she ate the egg? I've never had an egg eater and I feed my birds raw egg. The only time I've seen them eat an egg I didn't give them was when one got broken in the nest. I had older birds that laid eggs with fragile shells. Also, I wonder if she needs more protein in her diet.

If you can afford to do it you might give her cooked egg and extra protein and see if there is a change

Good luck.

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post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Attila the Hen View Post

Are you sure the eggs didn't break before she ate the egg? I've never had an egg eater and I feed my birds raw egg. The only time I've seen them eat an egg I didn't give them was when one got broken in the nest. I had older birds that laid eggs with fragile shells. Also, I wonder if she needs more protein in her diet.
If you can afford to do it you might give her cooked egg and extra protein and see if there is a change
Good luck.
I'm sure. I have found holes the size of beaks in the eggs. Plus, I stood outside of the coop yesterday and watched her move an egg around, then proceed to peck at it until she broke it open. I'd really love to keep her alive because she is a good layer, but is it better to let one bird go than lose your whole flock because they all eat the eggs?
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by hatchies View Post


I'm sure. I have found holes the size of beaks in the eggs. Plus, I stood outside of the coop yesterday and watched her move an egg around, then proceed to peck at it until she broke it open. I'd really love to keep her alive because she is a good layer, but is it better to let one bird go than lose your whole flock because they all eat the eggs?


Does she eat her own eggs? I wonder if she is trying to eliminate competition.

I would separate her just to see what happens.

10 assorted chickens, 3 Midget White turkeys, 4 cats, 2 dogs and fish. Does it matter that Attila the Hen's avatar is a rooster?
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10 assorted chickens, 3 Midget White turkeys, 4 cats, 2 dogs and fish. Does it matter that Attila the Hen's avatar is a rooster?
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post #7 of 7
She is not trying to eliminate competition. Once she lays the egg she can’t tell hers from any other. A broody hen will try to hatch duck, turkey, or pheasant eggs, any other hen’s eggs, wood or ceramic eggs, golf balls, or if nothing is available, she’ll just use her imagination.

T’s not unusual for any chicken to eat any egg that is opened. That does not make them an egg eater. An egg eater is one that deliberately opens egg to eat them, then often other hens will join her in eating. Yes, she might teach the others to open eggs. You should not let her go on. I’ve had one egg eater in all the years I’ve had chickens, but I have often had them clean up broken eggs, even the shells.

A normal way for a hen to become an egg eater is for an egg to break. She somehow makes the connection that she can open one on her own instead of waiting for one to break. These broken eggs could be one laid from the roosts or somehow broken. Often they have thin or no shell. It’s not that unusual for a pullet just starting to lay to lay an egg from the roost. It happens every year with mine. The flock may clean it up if it breaks but only once in all the years have I had a true egg eater.

I ate my egg eater. Another option is a rollaway nest box if she will use it. The egg goes to a chamber where she can’t get to it. But all the hens have to use the rollaway nest boxes. As a bare minimum I’d isolate her from the flock now before she teaches the others bad habits.

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"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

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When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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