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ALL my hens are eating eggs. ARRGH!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by SMHChickens, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. SMHChickens

    SMHChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 26, 2013
    So, it has been a very long, cold winter here in central Ohio (many, many nights below zero, and still expecting more this week). The weather has to break sometime. But meanwhile, there have been times the chickens have been stuck inside the coop for long periods of time. ("Stuck" by their own choice most days... I left the small door open, but they chose not to go out if there was any snow.) At some point, one of them decided to start eating eggs. We have 7 layers and 3 bantams, and there were at least 4 eggs yesterday (I found shells) but all were eaten. I am not kidding, I've been going out every 1/2 hour in the mornings the last few days trying to find even ONE egg that isn't broken, but I can't get one. They peck into the newest egg as soon as it's laid.

    I am so sick at heart because I've fed them all winter, and now I am not sure if I will ever be able to get eggs again from these girls. I've only had chickens for two years, so the oldest 2 hens are almost two years old and the rest are under a year. I just feel like culling them all right now and starting over again from scratch in the spring. What do you think? Right now, I feel like I could never trust these girls in the winter again, and I don't even know if they will leave the eggs alone when the weather gets better & they are out of the coop more.
     
  2. ChickenWing

    ChickenWing Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've heard of leaving blown out eggs filled with mustard in the nest. They dont like the mustard. Keep leaving them until they dont eat the eggs anymore.
     
  3. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Hi and welcome to BYC,
    sorry that you are going through this. -- Is there a possibility that you could get 'roll away' nest boxes -- so that your chickens wouldn't be able to eat the eggs?



    http://www.premier1supplies.com/detail.php?prod_id=78703&cat_id=165

    although the price is really high for that roll away -- I think if you figured the cost of starting over -- you would have to figure 6-months worth of feed---and the time delay before chicks were ready to lay eggs--- and buying store eggs. Of course if the roll away didn't do the trick - ?? you would be out the cost.

    Here's one that someone posted on BYC in 2008
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/67904/design-for-roll-away-nest-box

    Here are some more references.

    http://blog.mypetchicken.com/2013/04/16/diy-roll-away-nest-box/

    http://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Poultry-Rollaway-Insert-Chicken/dp/B00H3L0SI8

    http://ncpreppers.com/tag/roll-away-nesting-box/

    Try a google search - and an ebay search -- you may find a lot more. Seems that there are a lot of options - and that means that you aren't alone in the problem.

    good luck!
     
  4. SMHChickens

    SMHChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi! Thanks for the quick responses! I got two of the broken eggshells from this morning and re-filled them with mustard. While I watched, two girls came over and pecked at them, then walked away. I'll leave them there all day & see what happens. I'll also make sure there are 'mustard eggs' in the coop for at least a week straight, and see if we can get these girls cured of their egg mania. I had heard the mustard idea before, but saw comments where some said it didn't work, so I didn't bother trying it then. It seems to work here - at least so far. Also, thanks for the idea about roll-out nesting boxes. Unfortunately, my coop is only 4x6 feet and the nesting boxes are built in (they extend out another foot on one side, with a door over the top). Not easy to re-do them. Plus, my husband already says that our eggs are the most expensive ones he's ever eaten. I don't think we are spending more $$ on the coop any time soon.

    SMH
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I don't think that it's that they don't like mustard, birds don't have the 'spice' receptors that we have, it's that mustard isn't egg and that's what they're after.

    Part of the problem is your coop is too small for that many birds, crowding causes stress, which can cause negative behaviors.

    Also what exactly are you feeding them?
    I believe that low protein, especially animal protein, is a prime reason they start eating eggs...then it can become a habit.
     
  6. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Along with the other suggestions, I'd try increasing their protein, too. Cold weather increases their food intake. They need additional calories to make it through the winter and they've got one of the best sources of protein available to them daily via their own egg.

    I put my girls on 20% flock raiser for the winter and I keep a full feeder available to them at all times. Make sure you're offering oyster shell on the side, too, as they'll also look to their own shells should they need extra calcium in their diet.

    Best of luck!
     
  7. thechxwhisperer

    thechxwhisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had the same problem with one of my hens, so I blew out a few eggs and filled them with a lot of soap and a little bit of water. Later, the hen came into the nesting box area, poked a hole in the egg and slurped it up! About a millisecond later, she was squawking around the coop and drinking water like crazy![​IMG] She never ate another egg again![​IMG]
     
  8. SMHChickens

    SMHChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 26, 2013
    . Hi. I feed them a commercial feed (both crumble and pellet), and I mix in a little bit of oyster shell and baked, crumbled eggshells that I've saved. I think they started eating eggs out of boredom, and now do it because of the tasty reward they get for pecking into the shells. My question relates more to whether they will ever stop doing this, or whether they have now learned it so well that there's no hope of my getting eggs again.
     
  9. SMHChickens

    SMHChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    So, what kind of soap did you use? Sounds like it worked really well, but I wonder if it was bad for the chicken??
     
  10. SMHChickens

    SMHChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Well, folks... the verdict is in on mustard eggs.... my girls absolutely gobble them up. [​IMG]
     

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