How do I tell the difference between a hen that is laying and eating the eggs vs a hen that is just not laying? Would a hen eat just her own eggs and not anyone elses?
The whole story:
I have five hens. All were laying until about three weeks ago. My best layer, a 2 year old sex link started laying soft shell eggs (becoming egg bound which I treated), then a few thin shelled eggs, then I stopped getting eggs from her at all. She layed a soft shelled egg in the run and the others ate it. I also stopped getting eggs from my two bantam pullets that had just started laying. I still get eggs from an easter egger and a bantam cochin. My husband caught the easter egger pecking at an egg in the egg box, but we don't know if she was trying to eat it, or if she was moving it because she likes to sit on eggs. I have not found broken egg shells in the nesting box or anything.
What I've tried:
- putting out fake eggs and soap eggs. No one seems to mess with those. The soap eggs, the first one was smashed, but it's possible a chicken just stepped on it. But no one has messed with the others I've tried.
- removing the bedding from the nesting box and a waiting a day or two to see if there was egg residue on the wood. Nope.
- removing the easter egger for a day. The two banties went into the nesting box for a while then came out. No egg, so if somebody is eating eggs it isn't (just) the easter egger.
- I haven't seen the sex link in the nesting box at all unless she's in there before I let them out in the morning.
- I checked their vents to see if they are still laying and honestly, chicken butts look like chicken butts. The non laying chickens still squat for me. I'm also not sure how long it takes for a vent of a formerly laying chicken to stop looking like its laying.
Any other ideas I can try? I'd just wait it out except I want to integrate some new chicks in a week or two and if somebody's eating eggs, I don't want them learning bad habits.
Edited by rcstanley - 4/15/16 at 2:06pm