Chicken Eats Eggs, but only from particular flock mate

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Bells AZ, Nov 30, 2015.

  1. Bells AZ

    Bells AZ Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 18, 2015
    We have 8 chickens of assorted breeds. Our Rhode Island Red ("Red") always follows our Barred Rock ("Rocky") up to the coop at laying time and eats the egg. Only Red does this, and she only eats Rocky's eggs, none of the others. Rocky sometimes lays from the roost into the waste tray, and sometimes in the nest box. All other chickens behave normally.

    Short of making Red (and/or Rocky) next Sunday's dinner, does anyone know enough chicken psychology to offer a solution? Ever heard a story like this?

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2015
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I believe that Rocky's eggs are a bit on the thin shelled side. You might try adding oyster shell on the side to see if Rocky's shells might thicken up. Chickens are opportunistic, and will eat an egg with a thin shell, as well as the "rubber" eggs. Perhaps Red is the only one who has noticed. You might also increase their protein. Give meat scraps, or... as oxymoronic as it sounds, give them eggs! Red may be eating eggs to satisfy her need for protein.
     
  3. Bells AZ

    Bells AZ Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks. They get oyster shells, scratch, and tons of protein - all scraps go to the chicks (the dogs are jealous). I don't think it's dietary issue. Rocky's eggs seem to be like all the others. This smells like a vendetta to me.
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    So, you could cull the egg eater, or the one who's eggs are being targeted. I agree with you that having the nest fouled by egg yolk on a regular basis is a total nuisance.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Hmmm......curious....and kind of funny(both weird and haha).

    What is 'tons of protein'?
    Is scratch their primary feed?
    How old are these birds?
    How long have they been laying?
    How long has this Red eating Rocky's egg been going on?

    I'd be locking Red up in a wire crate....prior to maybe getting rid of her.....does she lay too?
    Sounds like a habit that may have started by accident(thin/softshell) and continues for superior nutrition.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2015
  6. Bells AZ

    Bells AZ Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for your interest. This is really a challenge if we want to keep the whole flock.

    Tons of protein = lots of scraps including meat and eggs (not recognizable as such) about every other day

    No, of course scratch is not their primary feed. Layer feed crumbles is primary feed supplemented with scratch, oyster shells, scraps, and vegetables/fruit, and mealworms. Occasionally crickets too.

    These birds are about 7 - 8 months old. Been laying 2 months.

    I think this has been going on since Rocky started laying about 2 months ago.

    Not sure if Red is laying - eggs from all the chickens look very similar (except the Easter Egger). We believe Red is laying, but not positive.

    I really don't think nutrition is the problem unless Red is not getting her share of the food (this doesn't seem to be the case, from what we can observe) or has a systemic nutritional problem .
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2015
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Whenever I see such a wide ranging 'menu' I wonder if the nutritional content is balanced and evenly distributed...it's really hard to tell.
    You might want to go simple for a few weeks to make sure protein levels are above the 16% that the layer probably has.

    I keep feeding pretty simple so my simple mind can keep tabs on it.
    Using a 20% protein crumble that I roughly monitor daily, then scratch and other foods in quantities to balance with the crumble eaten to keep the protein about 18%.
    It's harder for me to explain than it is to implement....someone had to walk me thru the math to balance crumble with scratch to get about 18%.
    2 scoops of crumble and a half a scoop of 9% scratch works out to about 18% protein...
    .....if they eat up less crumble they get less scratch, if they get other food scraps they don't get scratch.
    When I switched to a crumble with animal protein, they ate less of it.

    It hard to pinpoint a specific birds problem...when all the other birds are fed the same but behaving/producing differently a systemic nutrition uptake problem could be the answer.

    Not sure all that babbling will help you in anyway.
    I haven't ever had a serial egg eater, but I think the first thing I would do is isolate her and feed her up for awhile then let her loose again and see what happens.
     
  8. Bells AZ

    Bells AZ Out Of The Brooder

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    I provide a wide range of food and believe that they will eat what they need. That's what animals in the wild do. Maybe I'm naive.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Well, these are not animals in the wild, they are domesticated animals....
    .....and animals in the wild probably eat eggs if they can find them/need the nutrition they provide.

    I've read sooo many stories about lack of balanced flock nutrition leading to lack of production and/or behavioral problems,
    that I'm convinced that we need to have some control over what they eat.

    Everyone's situation, goals, and management technique is different, that's just my take on it.
    I have chickens to make me food, I give them what they need to make me eggs, if they don't make me eggs(within reason) they make me meat.
     
  10. Bells AZ

    Bells AZ Out Of The Brooder

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    I think we're going to let Red free-range outside the coop when we think Rocky is about to lay. Red doesn't eat anyone else's eggs. A picky gourmet, I guess. Or a vendetta.
     

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