Australorp ate the Eggs! Grrrrrrr...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by LilRedRoo, Nov 27, 2013.

  1. LilRedRoo

    LilRedRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We had an Australorp go broody, so 21 days ago we slipped 14 eggs under her. For the first week the kids would report how many times she got off to get food and water et cetera, but then no one noticed her ever getting off. And I don't think she's move a muscle since. About day 7-ish, we were missing an egg. And then we checked a few days later, and a few days later...one egg a day would go away with very little trace, but the occasional left-over bits, and her beak, were the evidence that she was eating them. At first I figured maybe she was just eating the duds, but as of last night there were only two eggs left, and I candled the last seven, and all were viable little chickies at that time. I did not check this morning to see if we had 2 chicks or not.

    Anyone ever have this happen before?

    Here are the facts for consideration. We did not remove her from the flock. 2 other hens would climb in with her and lay eggs under her, which Melinda would grab each night. It's been very cold for our area, so she'd be reluctant to expose the eggs too long, but the food and water is 5 feet from her.

    We had a barrded rock go broody several weeks before this and we followed suite on how we handled it...I only wish I put more eggs under her because she proudly raised three chicks without issue.

    Thoughts? Do I cull her if she doen't start laying in a few weeks (would she be a repeat offender)? Our hens (with a couple exceptions) are not regarded as pets, so their job choices are generally as follows: lay eggs, rasie chicks, or feed the kids. This is my first experience with an egg-eater, so any experience and advice is welcomed and appreciated.
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    If she returns to lay, and does not ever eat an other egg after this broody session, I'd allow her to stay in the flock as a layer. I'd never allow her to brood again. If she ever eats an other egg, and if she were in my flock, I'd invite her to dinner.
     
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  3. LilRedRoo

    LilRedRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks; we'll keep an eye on her. Not too long ago Melinda would have called her our all-star hen, but after all this she's about ready for some chicken tetrazini.
     
  4. davemonkey

    davemonkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    +1 with lazy gardener, except I'd be inclined to put her at the table right away. That's only because we had a hen that was in the same boat (prove yourself, or feed me) and just before she got around to laying again, she died. So, not only did she cause me grief to begin with, but she never "mended her ways" AND I didn't get to eat her. Total loss, except for the opposums that ate her in the woods.
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    This is what I'd do. If she's been a good layer in the past, that's not something to just toss. Depending on age, she may take the winter off and not start laying again until spring, you just have to decide if that's acceptable to you or not. If she shows signs of broodiness again, immediately stick her in a cage to break her. If she's persistently broody next year, invite her to dinner.

    I like that you have clear goals for your flock.
     
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  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Grab... as in.... to sit on?...or maybe grab to eat??
    Maybe she was being territorial and the other hens made her feel threatened?

    Maybe let her go broody again, but segregate her from the other hens so you can get an better picture of her behavior without the other hens interfering.
    Unless you don't want to/can't provide segregation facilities.....then maybe 'She should be SOUP!

    Just some thoughts...as I have no broody experience, just the copious amounts I've read about.

    Good Luck!
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I think Melinda is a person...........
     
  8. davemonkey

    davemonkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hee. [​IMG] Yes, Melinda is his wife. She collected the eggs that the other hens were laying in that same nest box as the broody.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Oh, blush. Sometimes it's hard to tell who is whom with all the named chickens...or I don't read carefully enough.
     
  10. LilRedRoo

    LilRedRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    LOL!!! Yes, I see where there would be confusion. This was our lesson learned the hard way regarding why the broodies should be sperated. Our first experience with a barred rock was evidently not the norm. That hen just has it in here to be a good brooder, and I look forward to her going broody in the future. The Australorp...not so much. However, she has come out of broodiness and layed yesterday, so for now she'll stay.

    For the future game plan, we are going to use the incubate-n-adopt method. Melidna bought 8 ceramic eggs, so the next time a hen goes broody she'll be seperated from the flock into our quarantine coop in the back yard (we use it for new chicks and broiler chicks) and we'll put the ceramic eggs under her, then incubate enough to hopefully end up with a dozen viable chicks. Then the night before hatch we'll give the ol' swap-a-roo and let the hen raise the chicks in the backyard until they are ready for the main coop.
     

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