Are they eating their eggs?


6 Years
Sep 20, 2013
Hello, I'm new to BYC and newly back into the world of chickens! I have 10 princesses who free range in my yard (they would always get out of the smaller enclosure, so I just gave in and they are quite content with the entire yard.) They are all around 20 weeks old and 4 have been singing the egg song for 2 weeks now. I have rushed to a window or outside to check if there is an egg when I hear them singing, but I have yet to see one. I know it can take much longer for some hens to start laying but I would think at least Jasmine, my wyandotte, would have started laying by now. She has been showing signs of being ready to lay for almost a month now.

I've seen one Wellsummer try to make a nest on the ground while singing the egg song, same thing with one ameracauna, buff orpington seems to LOVE singing too.

They have food always available to them. I used to give them lay scratch but changed to lay crumbles after realizing they are eating their feathers is a sign of protein deficiency, they still occasionally eat feathers but not with as much lust in their eyes. Though they are free range, my yard is mostly just dirt as I live on the edge of a desert. I'm concerned that they were curious when the first egg was laid if it was delicious and they ate it. Is there a way to figure out if they are laying yet other than just sticking my finger up their vents? I was thinking quarantine one in my rabbit's hutch overnight (rabbit would then get a night indoors) or for a day and see if I find any traces of egg. I tried the quarantine with Ariel, the loud wellsummer who had been trying to nest on my patio table, but there were no results. I could try it with a different hen but I'm unsure if I will get better results and I am worried it would stress the hen out being away from her flock.

tl;dr hens are 20 weeks old, been singing egg song for 2 weeks. still havent found an egg. they eat everything in sight, I'm worried they've been eating their eggs too. How can I tell? help?
It does sound like your hens are either laying or getting very close to. You don't have to do any invasive examinations to check though
You can feel their pelvic bones to see which ones are laying and/or how close they are. There is some more details and and a pic here: (scroll down)

What I would do at this stage is place some golf balls or fake eggs in the nest boxes. This will show the girls where to deposit the rent and also deter any egg ideas, if that is a problem. I can't imagine pecking a golf ball would be much fun. Fingers crossed you'll get some eggs soon!

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