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chicken eating eggs!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kimice, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. kimice

    kimice Out Of The Brooder

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    I have had my hens for 4 days now. I have gotten 5 eggs from them in that time period. All 5 eggs were perfectly fine. The shells were a little thin but not too bad. Today when I went to take my girls thier morning treat,collect any eggs, and freshen up their bedding. I saw one of my hens eating a thick membrane and pecking at some yolk that was in one of the nesting boxes! There was no shell that I could find. Just a whole yolk laying there in the box and the membrane that the hen was trying to eat! These hens came from not that great of conditions. I know that not enough calcium will cause the shells to be really thin, but I have been giving them low fat cottage cheese every morning. I just started giving them some crushed egg shells and food grade DE with calcium in it today. The part that worries me is that the hen was eating the membrane and yolk! Should I be worried? Are my chickens going to start eating thier eggs, or did she some how know that the egg wasn't just right and was trying to clean it up and get it out of the nest? I do NOT want to have a flock of egg eaters on my hands. Any takes on this would be helpful. Thanks for reading!
     
  2. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    Sounds like someone laid an egg w/out a shell and it was delicious. It happens from time to time and isn't anything to be overly concerned about. Sometimes the plumbing just doesn't work right. So long as they are leaving the real eggs alone, I wouldn't be concerned.
     
  3. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My cousisns chickens always ate the rubber eggs (eggs with no membranes) but they never turned into egg eaters who would break an egg open to eat it. She had one chicken whose egg was almost always shell-less so the hens shared an egg almost every day. She had 10 hens and had a bowl of oyster shell available at all times. I guess there was just something wrong with that one birds egg making organs that never developed a hard shell.

    I would watch the situation. Hopefully this is just a one time thing and she was just cleaning up the mess. I wouldn't worry about it too much at this point.

    Good luck with the new chickens. [​IMG]
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I've read on here about some very experienced chicken keepers who routinely throw their "bad" (like very poopy) eggs on the ground to break them for the hens to eat, and who say they have never had a problem with egg eaters. Mine will eat a broken egg but not bother the whole ones. Since you've collected good eggs, hopefully you are not headed for trouble.

    However -- I noticed you've been feeding cottage cheese. Something that doesn't seem to be widely known here is that birds are lactose intolerant. Read here:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=17054&p=1

    Fortunately, oyster shell is a lot cheaper than cottage cheese! And lots of people just feed them layer and their shells, and don't buy oyster shell, and do fine. If you have Tums around, you could put one in their water once a day for a few days, for a calcium boost, too. I wouldn't do this a lot, though; I really don't know how much is too much, but I have read you can safely do it for a few days.
     
  5. WhySayWhat

    WhySayWhat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I give my girls a little bird feeder dish (that I got on sale for under 50 cents) full of Oyster shell to eat when they feel like it. The first pound I bought was gone in about 3 days, but after that, they have slowed down on their consumption of it considerably. OS here in Eastern WA is $0.57 a pound (at the store I go to anyway), but you can also find it in pre-packaged bags (sealed) for $10 for a 5-pound bag as well...I buy in bulk form to save some money! It's in a barrel and they offer small paper bags to put it in.

    Several weeks ago, one of my hens had an "egg back-up" and when she went to get on the roost that evening (after having laid a perfectly normal egg that morning), she laid 2 "oops" eggs that did not have any shell. I was watching her get settled in for the night and she was acting a bit odd, 30 minutes or so later when I walked past the TV again (I have a security camera in the coop), she had disappeared from the coop! She had opted to sleep on the steps that led up to the coop rather than inside. I had to open the people door to the coop to put her away for the night and when I opened the door, I caught her snagging the membrane off one of the shell-less eggs! I grabbed the yolk/white part quickly and then noticed a second egg on the floor (already missing the membrane). I don't know what it is about the membrane that is so tasty...but she left the "innards" alone completely on both "oops" eggs.

    If you are worried they are going after the "good" eggs though...add fake eggs, they make Ceramic, Wood, Plastic, even Marble ones! I weighted down my Easter egg type ones (they are white) with a few small rocks from the run. I have also used a rock that was kind of "egg-shaped" before as well. Mine don't even try to eat the eggs in the nest boxes, but they sure do throw a fit if they don't have a plastic egg to cuddle with while they lay every morning!
     
  6. kimice

    kimice Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:Thanks for the link to this thread! I had no idea. REally I just gave them a bit of cottage cheese because they seemed to enjoy it so much. I am definately going to switch to some non fat plain yogurt as a treat instead [​IMG]
     

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