Originally Posted by Jungleexplorer
This is a real mystery. I have several breeds of chickens in different pens. All the same age (2 yrs old) and fed the same food. All my other breeds are laying great and have been since March, but I have not gotten a single egg out of my four JG hens in almost two months, even though they seem healthy and happy. Anyone have a suggestion as to why? I am stumped.
If they're moulting, they won't lay eggs as they need to put in all their energy into reproducing their new feathers. So, hopefully, that's the reason, otherwise ...............
You might have egg eaters on your hands. Hopefully not, though. Sometimes, if they accidentally break an egg and peck them out of curiosity, they can get a taste for them. It usually happens with the bigger breeds, not the Bantams, so I've noticed. Probably because of their weight and they just get a little clumsy.
AN EASY TEST FOR THE EGG EATING HABIT: Leave an egg on the ground near your hens, walk a short distance away and watch your hens' reaction to it. I was having a problem with no eggs appearing just recently also, and I soon discovered the culprit but I waited till all the hens had seen the egg before I removed the egg. If you have quite a few hens, you can boil the egg first which will make it more difficult for the culprit to break it open. Often, the other hens will go over to see what she is up to but don't assume that they are also egg eaters. Watch their reaction after they see what she is doing. Some will just show disinterest and go about their business. But, if the egg eater is particularly eggcited, this may prompt the others to find out why. So, you have to be quick to scoop up the evidence.
Other than this recent one, I've had two really bad cases in the past 4 yrs with my Standard breeds and spent ages filling up hollow eggs with hot mustard mixed with moistened flour first. Then, I tried chilli but with no success. Though some people, I've heard have had success with this. I've even left dummy eggs in the nest. They left beak marks on them!! I gave them several weeks to get out of it but, finally, I had to give up. So, very sadly, they ended up in the pot. I've watched a Sussex hen excitedly hover over another hen who was about to lay an egg! A very disheartening sight. If you can find the culprit early, you can stop it from spreading to the others. Though, funnily enough, my Ace Hen, Monet, is still going strong as she never picked up a taste for them. Sometimes, bits of shell will be left behind but, they instinctively eat that as well as it, of course, helps with their calcium intake. One day, I heard rythmic 'thump, thump, thump,' coming from the inside of one of my wooden coops. When I looked inside, there were two lovely Dark Barred Plymouth Rocks making a mess of a couple of eggs! Argh! The tears were more for what I had to do to the hens if I couldn't get them out of it. Nuff said! At the moment, I live in the suburbs, so it wasn't as if I could separate them and let them lead their lives in peace elsewhere as I'm restricted to the number of chickens that I can have.
Another possible solution I've heard about: I learnt more recently that one can nip the tip of their beak off making it difficult for them to break the egg but I think if they did it hard enough, it may not make any difference anyhow in my opinion. You just have to be so careful about making their beak bleed. The nerve is so close to the end. Some feel that it's cruel to do so. I think they're probably right. It would have to be cut or filed so that they could still eat with no problems. It would probably be like nipping the end of a finger if they made it bleed and very sore to eat with for quite a while. Also, they need their beaks to protect themselves.
As Ol Grey Mare suggested, a roll away nest may resolve the problem. There are many "how to" videos on YouTube which you can use to build one or get ideas from. I've been thinking of converting my Standard Hens' nests into one myself to prevent any further problems of this nature.
Btw, I cook up all my used egg shells in the microwave for about one minute and let them cool. This disguises the smell of the original eggshell. Then, I crush them up finely and feed them to my chooks. Excellent calcium for their eggs and bones. I, also, use it in my garden. If you ground it up finely enough, you can use it for the family as well: cereal, cakes, etc. You never have to buy any calcium for the family! :-)
Edited by ChickyChooky - 5/24/16 at 6:42pm