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Six Tips On Breaking Your Egg Eater

Although many people may say egg eating is impossible to break, and to just cull the hen, in many cases this is not true.
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  1. StarLover21
    ~Six tips on breaking your egg eater!~


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    Egg eating is a nasty habit sometimes found in young pullets, and even older hens. Although many people may say egg eating is impossible to break, and to just cull the hen, in many cases this is not true. Egg eating often starts when an egg is accidentally broken in the nest box, and the hen pecks at it. Finding that this weird yellow substance is tasty, they will quickly devour it, and when they lay their next egg- look for more. Other hens that catch the original one doing this habit may even join in- and you’ll end up with a whole flock of egg eaters. That’s why it’s very important to break this as soon as possible. Below are six helpful tips to breaking your egg eater:

    #1. This is the most common used method among backyard chickeners. Take a thumbtack or a small nail, and poke a small hole in each end of the egg. Then blow on one end, until the egg is empty. Fill up the egg with mustard, or dish-soap. Then place it in the nesting box. Chickens hate the taste of mustard, and once they peck into that, they may not be trying it again. It may take a couple tries using this method, just in case it doesn’t work the first time.
    #2. Place golf balls, or some sort of false egg, in the nesting box. When using this method, make sure you gather the eggs just after they’re laid, so that you can further discourage egg eating. After a while, your hens will get tired of pecking at plastic and getting a sore beak, and hopefully the habit will fade.
    #3. Give your chickens more protein. Yes, it may be as simple as that. Eggs are high in protein, and some chickens, when they are not getting enough, will go as far as eating eggs! Some things to give high in protein are fishmeal, and cat food. You can also try giving them some game-bird feed; it’s higher in protein than regular chicken food. Also boiled, or scrambled eggs. No, they won’t associate it with raw egg!
    #4. Hang ‘curtains’ around the nesting box to make it dark. The egg eaters won’t be able to peck at the eggs if they can’t see them!
    #5. Take all straw or nesting material out of the nesting box. This way, the hen will peck at the egg and it will roll away from her. Although it’s a rather odd idea, it’s had success with many chickens! It’s not easy for a hen to break through an eggshell.
    #6. Pinless peepers. These are a sort of ‘blinder’ that prevents chickens from pecking at each other. It makes it so that they cannot see in front of themselves, only off to the sides. However this can also be used to break egg eaters. It works in a similar way as darkening the nesting box- the hens won’t be able to peck straight at the egg. Leave these on awhile and the habit will probably be broken.
    I’ve tried everything! I can’t get my hen to stop eating eggs, and I don’t want her going in the stewpot!

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    Unfortunately some egg eaters are just impossible to break. There is a solution to this, though, other than the stewpot. You can get a special kind of roll out nest box. This way the eggs will roll out of the hens reach as soon as she lays them. These nest boxes are the kind that battery hen farms use (don’t worry, they are completely humane), and are extremely effective in stopping your egg eater.
    I have an egg eater. How can I tell who the culprit is?
    First of all you can inspect each hen. Do any of them have egg on their face? Wetness? If you find no evidence, of course, you can always watch the nest boxes to find the culprit. However, there are many easier ways to do this. One way is to blow out the egg, fill it with dish-soap and food coloring. This way you can break and find your egg eater at the same time. Just look for the hen with coloring on her face! Other methods are- placing an egg on the ground and seeing who goes for it, game cameras, and isolating each hen.


    Prevention
    Of course the easiest way to stop eggs from being eaten is to prevent egg eating in the first place. There are several ways to ensure this.
    1. Make sure they have plenty of oyster shell and other protein. This will help them have strong healthy shells which will prevent eggs from being accidentally broken.
    2. Check the amount of nesting material. Make sure they have plenty- also to prevent eggs from being broken.
    3. Remove the eggs as soon as they have been laid.
    4. Don’t let your hens go hungry!
    5. Don’t let your hens get bored either. This makes them more likely to peck at the eggs. Give them food bits, and treats to scratch around for. Try making ‘apples on a stick’, or hang cabbages for them to peck at (instead of the eggs!).

    I hope this is helpful and that you have great success breaking (or preventing) egg eaters!

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Comments

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  1. punk00
    I finally tried the curtains on from of their boxes and it worked! Have you noticed how chickens peck a lot when they are laying? Or at least some do. I emptied their boxes of excess bedding and timothy hay, and I think that helped too. They seem fine with pretty bare boxes. They want a dark place!
  2. summerb123
    I thank I should have read this a little sooner I culled her :(
  3. Sienatiger
    I tried the mustard and dish soap and its still not working. Great page though! Thx for the tips
  4. wineryrooster
    thank you so much for the tips i was very disappointed in my girls. I was always hesitate to put things like cloth in the coop .I always thought they would peck at them and get string and not be able to digest it but i see a lot of people doing it. They also keep scratching the nice straw out of the nest box . I guess i'll have to investigate that one also. Maybe they are just board.
  5. rubbleanddebris
    My chickens gleefully ate the entire mustard filled egg. ;(
  6. Diannastarr
    o and just wanted to this to my last post about the egg eating , i had just ordered 15 more pullets this past month so the first thing I did before they even arrived, was buy a lot more golf balls....lol..lol.. got a good deal on e bay for some used in good condition golf balls i picked up 29 balls for $10.00 plus free shipping..! : )
  7. Diannastarr
    My hens were young & found an egg that was the early soft shell kind, so it broke & they ate it , i found that broken soft shelled egg in the nest box, we found one or 2 of our NHR was trying to eat eggs when we found peck marks but no broken eggs just tiny dents in 2 or 3 eggs so after that i put in 4 golf balls in each nest to confuse them, but by then all our eggs were sooo hard shelled, I worried what chicks could not even brake out of them : ) ...lol....lol.. plus always Removing the eggs as soon as they were laid. & at that same time when all of this started ,I fed them more protein with hard boiled eggs each morning all chopped up and then let them all out to start free ranging & that was the end of any egg eating & never have had any more problems since , so i would go with golf balls & at that same time feed more protein with more oyster shells for harder egg shells, so that should do the trick ,no sense in killing off perfectly health hens for that problem , and like i always say = my goodness if you cant out smart a chicken then what the heck are you doing...?? ....lol.... ...lol.... ; )
  8. cluckcluckgirl
    Wonderful job! If I ever run into this problem, I now have the knowledge!
  9. Alexandra33
    Wow, this is invaluable information! My hens sometimes find it appealing to have a snack from the nesting box, and the evidence never fails to show on their faces.....
  10. Akrnaf2
    We in Israel have another methods, we put in the nest box some dummy egg, or even a ping pong balls, and we try to collect the egg as soon as we can, in this situation the egg eater pecks and pecks and peck some more but nothing happens! After a few infertile days like this she usually stop from pecking!=mission accomplished! Good luck!

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