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Another egg eater question

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chickgarden, Mar 5, 2017.

  1. chickgarden

    chickgarden Chirping

    Apr 1, 2012
    I know there are plenty of egg eater questions, but I wasn't able to quite find what I was looking for. I think I have an egg eater but not quite sure.
    I found an egg last week that looked like it might have had been poked with a chicken toe. It was dented but not leaking and left in the nest box. The next day I found was looked like some egg yolk in the straw of a nest box, no shell at all anywhere. Then two days with nothing unusual. Today I found a egg that looked like it had some yolk on it although it was not broken at all and neither was another egg nearby. It seemed like there was some liquid left in the box too where the dirty egg was.

    I have curtains between boxes and fake eggs in them.

    I have added more shavings to the boxes to see if the cause is an egg dropping and cracking and then a chicken is eating it. I've been watching to see if any chickens are eating eggs but haven't noticed if they are. I do have a younger Welsummer who paces back and forth near the next boxes but she lays her eggs and leaves it alone, but she does seem to spend a lot of her time up in the coop.

    I guess my question is Would there be any shell left if they were being broken and eaten? I searched both days that I found what looked like yolk and couldn't find one bit of shell at all. Or could someone be laying a shelless egg? Or do sometimes they eat every last bit of shell.

    I'm concerned about this becoming a bigger issue.

    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017

  2. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Crowing

    Jan 14, 2012
    Conway SC
    No shell is usually left if the chickens are eating the eggs. My chickens will run around with the shell and fight over it till its all gone, then clean up the rest. Usually only a wet spot or some yellow on another egg. You can soften the bottom of the nest---hay or what ever and hanging pieces of cloth over 3/4ths of the next box entrance to darken the inside of it and collect the eggs several times a day----these things can help.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
  3. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Free Ranging

    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    Chickens are not such masterminds to remove ALL trace of evidence. I suspect shell less eggs that break and are consumed. I have encountered eggs that have been broken as a matter of a drop in the coop. The interior is eaten but most of the shell is still there. After a few days, the shell is consumed.
  4. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Songster

    Dec 15, 2014
    I've had a few get eaten. Usually happens if I don't collect during the day. I suspect that somebody either gets curious and pecks, breaks and eats them or they get stepped on, crack, and then consumed. There is either no shell or only the very tiniest pieces of shell left behind.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    This what I've found to be most common^^^^

    Found messy nests off and on for a week or so,
    finally caught a bird leaving the nest with the shell,
    chased her down and found the shell was very thin.

    Easily broken eggs are fair game for eating,
    none of the other eggs were damaged.

    Found that one bird was laying paper thin shells always,
    so I just kept closer watch to avoid having to clean the nests
    by grabbing those thin shelled eggs sooner.
    Ended up culling that bird once I ID'd her.
  6. chickgarden

    chickgarden Chirping

    Apr 1, 2012
    Thanks for all of your replies. I found yolk again on an egg and some wet shavings. No sign of shell or yolk on any beaks. No chickens seemed interested in the eggs that were still in the box. I bought them oyster shell to see if it is a shelless or thin shelled egg being laid and if that helps. I also put more curtain in front of the box it's happening in.

    I wonder if blocking off that box would help or if it would just move the problem to another box?
  7. junebuggena

    junebuggena Crowing

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    It could just be that a new layer is a bit overly curious. Could also be that one hen is a bit clumsy and is accidentally breaking eggs and cleaning up the broken eggs. Most often, when I have an egg eating issue, it's because of young birds in search of more protein.

  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Nope...problem is eggs, not a specific nest.
    Having oyster shell out (in a separate container always available) is a good idea but
    is not necessarily going to fix this issue as thin/soft eggs is not always because of lack of calcium.

    How old are these birds and how long have they been laying?
    What and how exactly are you feeding?

    Ditto Dat^^^
    Having newly laying pullets is when I see this most often....thin/soft shells can be common with new layers, as is the curiosity aspect.
    Plus when they start laying they start eating more, especailly at first...and oh look at this gooey nutritious deliciousness!!
  9. Sometimes young layers lay an egg but also release a yolk or a soft shelled egg at the same time.....I dont think its egg eating.....I you do suspect egg eating it is caused from inadequate diet...Up the protein and cut back on the treats.....

  10. chickgarden

    chickgarden Chirping

    Apr 1, 2012
    Thanks again for more helpful replies!!

    This group of chickens all hatched at the beginning of August so they've only been laying around a month (although the others they live with range from 2-5 years old), So I'm betting it's related to the younger hens laying the thin shells or being overly curious. Today I found 2 new egg colors in the box and I'm suspecting that since I haven't seen one of those colors lately that maybe it's one of the ones that had been getting eaten. The good news is they were both in the nest and no yolk and any other wet spots nearby.

    I'm feeding them a layer crumble.

    Yesterday afternoon I hung another piece of fabric to make this next box a little more blocked off, and that's the one that I found new eggs in today.

    I've never give oyster shell before but thought might as well leave a cup of it out for them just in case.

    chickens really - I had wondered if there was a possibility of laying just a yolk?

    Anyway, I'll just keep watching and collecting eggs as often during the day as I can :)
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017

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