Behavior Issues - Feather Picking and Egg Breaking

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by THunter, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. THunter

    THunter Songster

    I've got a mixed flock of brown and white egg layers. About 90% of the brown eggs will be cracked on the large end almost like they were dropped. Thinking that might be the issue, I added even more straw to the nests and actually watched one hen lay a brown egg this afternoon. As soon as she left the nest I picked the egg up, and yep, cracked on the large end. Had an "impact crater" on it just like it had been dropped. No issues at all with the white eggs. The white egg layers make up 60% of the flock.

    I also have a very large Buff Orpington hen who is constantly picking feathers out of the others and eating them. What the heck is up with that, some kind of vitamin deficiency???

    Any suggestions on how to solve these? I've been raising chickens off and on for 35 years and have never seen such.

  2. Maggie C

    Maggie C Chirping

    Jan 26, 2012
    Largo, FL
    If your BO is actually eating the feathers, it could be protein deficiency. I have no clue about the cracked eggs.. Are the cracked eggs a new phenomenon? Again, could be dietary.
  3. THunter

    THunter Songster

    Thanks. Yep, recent development with both. They get a 16% protein diet everyday and finished their moult over a month ago.
  4. whiteshepherdlady

    whiteshepherdlady In the Brooder

    Jul 18, 2011
    I also have issues where one batch of younger laying hens all either crack & eat their eggs or don't lay at all !! They get the feed store food for egg layers ... my older hens don't crack and eat their eggs ... ?
    Next issue is some of my older hens look just horrible ... like mites are eating their fethers away off them or something !! HELP !! What can I do to fix this issue ?

  5. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Songster

    Oct 31, 2008
    Look for mites after dark using a flashlight around their vent area. Teeny tiny red things that move.
    My personal take on it is that all breeds may not have the same dietary requirements and even within those breed parameters, there are variances. Maybe the brown egg layers need more oyster shell and the orps need a slightly higher protein level. I know our hens molt differently and all are on the same feed. We sometimes handfeed with BOSS to help them over the worst of the molt.
    In the huge world of large flocks, the weaker ones get culled. In our small flocks, we baby them because we can.

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