Broken Eggs

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Malpower, Jun 25, 2009.

  1. Malpower

    Malpower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 12, 2009
    Kentfield, California
    Trying to figure out what's going on -- yesterday I found a broken egg in a nesting box, and today I found two broken eggs, one had a small hole in it and was intact otherwise, it was sitting in the nesting box next to another box with a hen in it -- I fished the broken egg out and 10 minutes later found the hen had moved over to the box where the broken egg had been, laid her own egg, and in the box where she'd been sitting previously was an egg belonging to another hen, probably laid a bit earlier, which was broken in half and oozing all over the nesting box. Since they leave eggs on top of each others eggs all the time, I had the feeling it might have been broken before she sat on it, but who knows. I'm a bit befuddled trying to figure out what's going on.

    The eggs are fine with pretty sturdy and thick shells -- the girls get oyster shell in their laying feed and I give them lots of other things, greens and veggies, a little cheese from time to time, and so forth. The eggs don't have thin shells, takes a good whack or two to break one.

    Could a bird or even rat be running into the small coop and be trying to eat the eggs? Even with the hens right there? Could the hens themselves be pecking into each others' eggs, do they do this? They have been more or less on the same schedule suddenly the last few days and all 4 going in to lay in the 3 boxes about the same time -- all three nesting boxes were full with one girl waiting in the wings yesterday.

    Haven't seen any snakes about in years and only a small rat in the enclosure and scurrying away a couple of times a couple of months ago -- I had the feeling rat bait had done away with them. I only see birds (blue jays mostly) and a couple of squirrels who come in and eat seed around the enclosure.

    I am not always around to monitor and grab an egg as soon as it's laid but wonder if I might need to do that -- sure hate finding them broken like this.

    Any advice or ideas or is this just something that happens, one of those mysteries?? [​IMG]
     
  2. FarmerDenise

    FarmerDenise Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 21, 2007
    Sonoma County
    I've come across this more than once. Sometimes it is hard to figure out just what is causing this. Unless you have a camera in the nest box. Which I don't.
    Here is my strategy: remove eggs as soon as possible, put in fake eggs, hard fake eggs i.e. ceramic or wooden ones.
    Whatever is breaking your eggs is expecting to find the usual egg, so by placing hard fake eggs in they will be disappointed and possibly experience pain trying to crack the egg. Plastic eggs work as a deterent sometimes, but I have found hard eggs work way better. Hard wooden eggs were also recommended by my vet as a deterrent.
    Oh and luck helps too. Good Luck!
     
  3. swedishfish

    swedishfish Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2009
    golf balls? a bit out of shape, but I bet you it'd still work
     
  4. FarmerDenise

    FarmerDenise Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 21, 2007
    Sonoma County
    BTW, I grew a gourd last year that is egg shaped. Some of them are still hard and some have dried out and are light. But they all make good fake egg substitutes of one kind or another. Surprizingly it was called "Egg Gourd". [​IMG]
     
  5. elliot

    elliot New Egg

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    Jun 23, 2009
    my chickens did that for a little bit, but they stopped. It's called cannibalism.
     
  6. Malpower

    Malpower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 12, 2009
    Kentfield, California
    Oh gosh, I hope they're not eating each other's eggs! I kind of think not since they've not done it before and laid eggs on top of each other's eggs with no problems before this, tho must say that sometimes one might get kicked out of the nesting box when another wants to lay!

    Now, as to fake eggs -- well, I DO have those in there, going back to before they started laying just a couple of short months ago. AND I see some marks on them -- they're wooden -- possibly little tooth marks? Ugh....little rodent tooth marks maybe. Do squirrels go into nesting boxes and try to eat eggs? I somehow don't see them getting themselves into a tight place like my coop is, but maybe they do. I guess rats are a lot more likely. So maybe I should get more fake eggs and even golf balls and make it a bit harder for the thief and hopefully break some teeth [​IMG] -- I WILL try to get the real eggs out of there much more quickly -- hopefully the girls will continue to lay more or less at the same time, but just last week they seemed to be spread out from 8 am to 5 pm, so it was a big surprise to see them all in the nesting boxes around Noon yesterday! They keep me hopping and there are only 4 of 'em! [​IMG]

    Thanks you all -- guess there really isn't much I can do but count on that Luck Farmer Denise mentions! [​IMG]
     
  7. annek

    annek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 12, 2009
    Just curious, I have a bunch of egg molds to make eggs that I just picked up for making ceramic eggs. My babies aren't going to lay for another month or two so I don't need them yet but will ceramic eggs work? Does it matter what color they are? Would they be better being slick or being rough like a real egg. The slick ones would be easy to clean since they would be glazed the rough ones would not.
     
  8. Malpower

    Malpower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 12, 2009
    Kentfield, California
    From what I gather, just about anything kind of egg-shaped and size will work from wooden eggs, to golf balls, to ceramic, etc. I bought my wooden eggs at the feed store and a couple are smoother than the others, some whitish and the others speckeled. I don't think the hens care at all about color or texture. I have washed off the wooden eggs, especially the ones covered in egg yolk the last couple of days, and they dried quickly in the sun before I threw them back in the nesting boxes.

    I don't know if it matters at all, but I stuck my fake eggs in the nesting boxes long before the girls started to lay, just to help them get the idea (don't know if it makes any difference in the end tho) and I've kept them there. One hen got spooked recently (workman by the coop) and went off to lay her eggs in a nearly inaccessible (for me) place -- I moved those eggs back to the nesting boxes and kept them with the fake eggs for a week or so -- closed up her access to the other place -- she went back to the nesting boxes and I finally removed her real eggs one by one (well, two of them actually got "removed" by a mystery visitor and I found remnants outside the coop). I don't know if you really need to keep the fake eggs in the nesting boxes once they start laying, but I haven't removed mine and now I'm hoping they'll discourage whatever is coming in and breaking the real eggs -- just have to get the real eggs out as quickly as I can! [​IMG]
     
  9. chickenbottom

    chickenbottom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 30, 2008
    hollister, florida
    i get a few broken eggs now and again but its from the wooden nest boxes they scratch around and they lay on the hard wood and it breaks as soon as it comes out i get em ever so often about 0 to 2 times a week from the same hen
     
  10. Malpower

    Malpower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 12, 2009
    Kentfield, California
    I kind of wondered if the ones broken could be from being laid on top of another egg -- I also had thought of the hardness of the nest box but I've packed mine so they have pine shaving bedding about a couple of inches, although the girls do scratch a bit at times too and clear out a spot and that certainly could be part of the problem.
     

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