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Chickens eating their eggs?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I have two hens and two pullets.  I got the hens when they were pullets and the pullets when they were chicks.  They live in a 4m long run I built myself in the backyard.  I plan on building a larger one.  They freerange for 6 hours a day.  ANYWAY.

I noticed the hens weren't laying.  I got frustrated because I feed them very well.  I get organic food from the co-op and they get those scraps as well as organic pellets and laying mash.  Since organic freerange eggs in Aus are $7 for 10, I thought I'd be saving heaps!

A friend of mine suggested putting some fake eggs in their laying box so that they'd get the idea.  I put real eggs in there instead.  Well... after a day the eggs were thrown to the other side of the pen.  After two days the eggs...were gone.  No trace.  No bit of shell.  No bit of yolk.  No hidden eggs under chicken butts.  Nothing.

I think my chickens are eating their eggs and I don't know WHO is doing it, if not all of them.  I don't know how to fix this.  Separate them?  Give them more food?  (they're already sometimes buried under piles of celery leaves)  Give them more laying boxes?  Eat them?  Get rid of them?  Buy new ones?  Poke them with sticks?  Threaten them?  Shake my fist at them?  Pull faces at them?

Help.  he


Edited by elizabethbinary - 3/22/10 at 6:09pm
post #2 of 14

It is possible, and it is also possible that a dog or fox might be the egg eating culprits, but I doupt anyone is eating them, or els there would be a yolk/shell laying around, so I thing u might have an egg theif somwhere.....jumpy any way, good luck!

post #3 of 14

I am relatively new to this but, I haven't had a problem like this.  I give my chickens my extra eggs all of the time.  I have 16 hens, one pullet and one rooster.  I give them the excess eggs raw but, they never break or eat them before I give them to them.  I have heard egg eating can be a problem with roosters but, you don't have any from what I can tell.  I haven't had that problem with my roo.  It is possible that you do have a predator stealing them but, I doubt it is a fox.  I had a fox problem and it didn't go for eggs-  it went for my chickens.  I lost 9 in a day but, had lots of eggs.  How secure is your coop?  Are you getting any eggs?  Many of my chickens haven't layed for quite some time due to short hours of sunlight.  Also I have been trying to get my chickens to lay in their nest boxes for months to no avail.  They push out my fake or real but, planted eggs all of the time and then they lay where they want.  Have you checked other places for eggs?

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

There is no way a stranger is getting in their coop or run.  The darn thing is electrified!  My dogs are terrified of the chickens because of it.  sad

So where are the eggs going?

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

I have checked the whole pen for eggs.  Like I said in an earlier post, there is no way something is getting in the pen.  It's secured with electricity and heavy duty wire.  They're not laying in the yard when freerange.  I see no signs of ANY eggs.  I don't hear signs of eggs being laid either.  sad  (I do live in a pretty soundproof house though)

There's no foxes in my area.  At worst it would be a possum.  But again, electrified.

Oh and I should point out the electrification surrounds the pen but isn't directly on the pen, so the chickens aren't being zapped into submission, haha.

Edit:  Oh and there's definitely enough sunlight!  I live in Queensland, Australia!


Edited by elizabethbinary - 3/22/10 at 6:39pm
post #6 of 14

If your chickens are eating their eggs, you could try getting them sooner. If you want to give them eggs to eat, or if they are already in the habit of it, I have heard that hard boiling the eggs you give them will help.  Maybe they prefer them cooked and will stop eating them raw after they get them cooked.

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

Well I've never given them eggs to eat.  I keep meaning to but with no laying (or so I thought) I didn't want to give them ideas.

And I've tried getting them at all times.  My husband tries before he leaves work (5am).  I try when I wake up (8am).  I try when I let them out (anywhere from noon to 2pm).  And I search the yard before I put them away (anywhere from 5pm-8pm if I forgot).

I've woken up early at 6am and still found no eggs.  And I've gone out at 10am before to let them out.  And I've gone out at 4pm before without having let them out a whole day.

sad  Bad chookies.

post #8 of 14

I know chickens will eat their own eggs at times, including shell. I only had the problem once when one of the girls decided to lay in a 'secret spot' It was deep winter and I thought they just slowed down. Well one day I found a nest with several eggs, two of them broken and mostly eaten. If that hidden nest would have been in the deep bedding I may have not found it for a while.
Anyway....we got back on track with laying in the nestboxes after I removed all the eggs and blocked off access to the spot she started laying in. I placed wooden eggs (2 per nestbox) in the nestboxes and I have them in there all the time. Also - you may want to confine the girls for a few days to the coop or coop and run and check several times a day for eggs. Remove them ASAP so they don't trample them and then eat the cracked eggs or break them because they know it is food.... Also, make sure that the nestboxes are not in a brightly lit area, from all I have read and experienced they seem to like the darker, more private nestboxes. My girls are 100% reliable in the nestboxes. Silly girls have 5 boxes for 5 girls but only use 3 of them. Good luck!!!! Oh, and I do sometimes feed extra eggs back - scrambled or hard boiled though.

1 Golden Laced Wyandotte, 2 EEs, 1 Partridge Rock, 1 Australorp, 1 Speckled Sussex and soon to hatch Blue Marans and Olive Egger plus the resident Malamute and 4 house cats
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1 Golden Laced Wyandotte, 2 EEs, 1 Partridge Rock, 1 Australorp, 1 Speckled Sussex and soon to hatch Blue Marans and Olive Egger plus the resident Malamute and 4 house cats
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post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thank you for all the help!  Sadly, last night when my husband went to the pen, a chicken was dead with it's neck broken.  One of the pullets.  I'm now concerned one of the chickens in general is violent.  I've separated all of them and given them all some eggs to 'care for'.  Whichever ends up with no eggs is going up to the farm.  Literally, not figuratively.  There's a farm that's much better suited for this chicken with my husband's mother.

I'll be buying more hens in the near future I think, once I sort out who the angry one is, but I'm pretty sure I know who.

post #10 of 14

So sorry that you lost one of your girls!!!! I wonder if it was really another chicken though that killed her....I don't know enough about them I guess. I started with mine last spring. I remember that someone recently posted that they had a chicken with a broken neck in the coop, some OP's mentioned that they have had instances where a chicken jumped/flew off the roost and hit the wall, breaking it's neck.... Any chance it could have been an accident? I have noticed a couple of times that one of my big Wyandottes jumps off the highest roost in a , let's say 'less than graceful manner' and have worried that she might break a leg or her neck the way she does it. I since have mde a 'landing platform', just put bale of straw there and she mostly jumps on that now....

1 Golden Laced Wyandotte, 2 EEs, 1 Partridge Rock, 1 Australorp, 1 Speckled Sussex and soon to hatch Blue Marans and Olive Egger plus the resident Malamute and 4 house cats
Reply
1 Golden Laced Wyandotte, 2 EEs, 1 Partridge Rock, 1 Australorp, 1 Speckled Sussex and soon to hatch Blue Marans and Olive Egger plus the resident Malamute and 4 house cats
Reply
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