Originally Posted by Beekissed
If folks will bother to look at the trends in posts, each and every year at the beginning of laying season and during the molt, all the sudden chickens become "egg eaters". Please take note of this trend and the seasons and realize that egg shells are a little dicey when chickens come in and out of lay and this happens each and every year, exactly the same.
Of course the eggs you are collecting have hard shells....that's why they aren't the eggs being eaten. Unless you are there for every egg that is dropped and know without a doubt that the egg that was eaten was perfectly fine in shell strength and integrity, you can't say it wasn't compromised in some way.
Friends with whole flocks that eat eggs aside~sounds like a huge mismanagement problem when the whole flock are eating eggs...never heard of such a thing egg eating at this time of year is a perfectly normal event, it's natural for them to keep the nests clean in this manner and to eat things that are good when right in front of their own beaks.
No, feeding eggs to your flock will not teach them to eat eggs. Not even feeding them fresh, whole shells will cause them to turn cannibal. No, you don't need to "break" them of eating eggs...wait a couple of weeks and the egg eater will suddenly just disappear into the flock, about the same time reproductive organs are lined out and working like they should and shells stop breaking in the nest when another chicken climbs in on top of them.
If you insist on keeping old hens who consistently have reproductive issues as they age, then your chances of seeing frequent egg eating in your flock will increase, but this still doesn't mean you have an egg eater, it means you should cull your flock for all those not laying well each year. Is she laying fart eggs all the time? Cull. Are her eggs always thin while all the other chickens are laying firm shelled eggs? Cull. Is she always coming in and out of lay because she lays sporadically, so her eggs are abnormal, thin walled, etc.? Cull.
Takes care of a lot of so called egg eating issues. Two weeks wait.... and a yearly cull.
I started to respond to your post, and then realized I hadn't read it carefully.
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Thanks! These chickens are only 22 weeks old, just coming into lay a couple weeks ago (no molt currently), so I don't have a "what happens the same time every year" observation yet (I guess I don't "get around" much yet on BYC to notice the pattern in posts).
I am home today and tomorrow (holiday), so I AM going to try to catch every egg drop if I can. Because you are absolutely right - most of the eggs are strong, but I found the pale one in the group photo below hidden in the back of a nest last night. I just checked it - sure enough, thin shelled.
It may be a first or second egg from one of them. So I want to know who is laying it (and see if I can confirm whether it is temporary vs. her being unwell). I already have four strong eggs from today, and observed who laid them. That leaves three more in this coop with seven girls - one is on the nest now, I keep checking on whether she's done yet.
I'm going to leave the "compulsive" nest checking pullet in her crate for the time being, if for no other reason than to keep her from bugging the others (she was starting to hover, seemed to make the ones on the nest nervous), and also increase my chances of catching the origin of the thin shells.
As they are just coming into lay (earlier than I expected), I didn't realize the eggs were going missing because I didn't know how many had started laying. At a minimum, if I contain her a day or so (I have a holiday tomorrow and can be around), I can get a sense of how many eggs I'm SUPPOSED to be getting, and what they all look like... I AM going to try to be there for when every egg drops today and tomorrow, so I can perhaps find who may be laying a weak shelled one.
- Ant Farm