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Hens eating eggs

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I have about 25 hens with 4 laying boxes.   Every evening when I check my boxes there are some left over egg shells, yellow on eggs or busted eggs.  I am not sure if the chickens are busting the eggs to eat or if I do not have enough boxes for the hens that are laying.   I do have some young hens that have not started laying.  I also have a mixture of hens: rhode island reds, black copper marans, golden comets and 2 sussex chickens.  If I get to check the eggs every couple of hours I normally get around 6 to 9 a day.  When I cannot check but once a day I only get 2.   Please give me some advice.   Thanks.

post #2 of 9

They may simply be eating eggs that get broken.  Chickens will do this in a heartbeat, but it doesn't mean they have become egg eaters who crack and eat every egg.  I'd probably add a few nest boxes.  I'd be sure there is plenty of straw or other padding in each box.   You might also darken the boxes a bit so there is less moving around in there..  You can simply tack up a small piece of cloth partway over the opening -- a half curtain, if you will.  If any are sleeping in nest boxes I would put a stop to that -- they lay during the day so you can just close them off at night. I've read old timers say you can stop egg eating; it's just a matter of figuring out what is causing it.  I try to keep some choice for them in type of nest box available -- I have one who really wants her privacy.

 

I'd find some suitable containers and add nest boxes, myself; plastic bins or 5 gallon buckets or whatever you have lying around.  Sometimes they will prefer something like an open bin on the coop floor, sometimes a smaller or larger nest, sometimes just a nice hay filled corner of the coop, a favorite of some of mine. 

Ventilation -- may be the most important aspect of coop design

BYC Troubleshooting article -- click here

Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due.

14 hatchery and mutt hens

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Ventilation -- may be the most important aspect of coop design

BYC Troubleshooting article -- click here

Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due.

14 hatchery and mutt hens

Reply
post #3 of 9

I had an egg eater for awhile. I filled an egg with Cayenne pepper and mustard and vinegar. I had to do it a few days in a row but whoever it was didn't like the flavor. If you do try this method I suggest you don't add anything that is not actually edible. Some birds like the flavor of cayenne and other things. Each bird is unique but mine definitely did not want to eat it or any other possibly nasty egg.

 

 

Here is a link to a thread on the technique:

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/272487/egg-eater-deterrent-yellow-mustard-what-else

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

I only got one egg today that was covered in yellow.  There was shells in the boxes.   I did darken the nest boxes and added more straw.  I also added a couple more nest boxes.  How do you clean out an egg and add ingredients back in?  Thanks for the replies.

post #5 of 9

It  sounds like you definitely have several egg eaters.  If it continues many more will learn from them.  Your entire 25 hens are at risk now.  I would be out there watching so I could find and separate the culprits.  Keep removing hens still it stops.  You can pen the bad girls up by themselves while you try to break them of it, but I would not let this go on any longer in the main pen.  Dog crates are great for this and you can see if the hen is eating her own eggs. You might be able to borrow some crates for a while.  Personally I would cull the offenders but you have to decide that.

post #6 of 9

 Examine the hens thoroughly each time you visit the nests/coop. Look for yellow yolk on beaks and feet or anywhere on the bird. Can you tell your hens apart?  You want to remove any hen with any yolk on her immediately and continue looking and removing until your egg production is stable and no egg eating evidence is visible. Check the younsters, too. It may very well be them!

If I had known a few chickens would make the man THAT happy....
mom & dad,teaching our rescue BRT Bess all about chickens, EE, Orps and now marans!  The man says we are switching to orps and marans, and they'reHISchickens!
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If I had known a few chickens would make the man THAT happy....
mom & dad,teaching our rescue BRT Bess all about chickens, EE, Orps and now marans!  The man says we are switching to orps and marans, and they'reHISchickens!
Reply
post #7 of 9

4 nest boxes doesn't sound like enough for 25 hens. I don't know if that has anything to do with it. We only have 5 hens and 3 nest boxes. They have one that is the fave but they do lay in all of them. Could they be to many eggs in the boxes and they are getting busted when they take turns? I agree that I would cull the ones that are eating eggs. Sorry to say but it's near impossible to break them of it and they will "teach" the others do start eating eggs.

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies.  Just want to give update.  After I darkened the nest boxes and added shavings I have not had a broken egg.  I have been getting around 8 eggs a day.  Some of my chickens are not old enough to lay but will be soon.  I went out of town Saturday morning and came back today.   I had a eggs in all boxes with none broken.  I am so glad they are not breaking the eggs  and eating them.   Thanks for the advice.

post #9 of 9

Egg eaters can be fixed. If they are eating eggs they are lacking calcium. Give them another small feeder or box with pyster shells in it. Oyster shells will give them calcium. They will only eat what they need. I have done this in the past and it works. I never suggest something that I havent tried and saw work. Sometimes when we cook eggs for breakfast I will wash the rest of the clear & the thin layer of membrane sack out of the shells and break them up and throw them into our pens. Its the same thing as using oyster shells. I never have a problem with them eating eggs.

 

It really sounds like yours was moving around to much and there wasnt enough padding in their boxes. Doesnt sound to me like you have egg eaters.


Edited by P'Fowls - 1/31/12 at 9:14pm

P'Fowls Poultry

www.pfowlspoultry.com

Board Member - American Sussex Association

 

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P'Fowls Poultry

www.pfowlspoultry.com

Board Member - American Sussex Association

 

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