chicken eatten eggs how do i stop it

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by brooks83, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. brooks83

    brooks83 New Egg

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    Mar 21, 2011
    i am new to this site my son and i have just brought some game chickens and plan on trying to raise some but we have some hens that are eatten there eggs before they start to set
     
  2. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    Oh, that's most unfortunate! I've never had to deal with an egg-eater myself, but I understand that once they get the taste for it, it's pretty impossible to stop them. I think if I had one and couldn't stop it, she'd become soup pretty quickly.

    I hope someone else here can offer you better advice! I'm just repeating & don't have any 1st hand experience of my own, thank goodness!

    Good luck to you.
     
  3. rufus

    rufus Overrun With Chickens

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    Give them oyster shell for calcium. Also lots of green weeds and grass.

    Put a lot of old light bulbs and door knobs in the nest. Chickens are not very bright, and they cannot tell the difference between that junk and eggs. After they peck enough junk, they get frustrated and give up.

    Check for eggs frequently. Send the kids out every hour of so to see if there were any eggs laid. This way the eggs get collected before they get a chance to be eaten. It also is a good way to keep the kids busy.

    Search for the roll away nest on this site. The nest is inclined just enough to cause the eggs to roll to the back and under a false back. That way they are away from the hens. If they cannot get to them they cannot eat them.

    Good luck,

    Rufus
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011
  4. packmomma

    packmomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a RIR that eats any egg she pecks and it breaks. I have oyster shell in there. I think she accidently broke one and then started trying to break them. I go out like 3 times a day if I can. She also sleeps in the nesting box too. She's a butthead. Just go and collect eggs so she doesnt have a chance.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011
  5. OlyChickenGuy

    OlyChickenGuy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is probably going to be some of the most unconventional advice on here, but I've taken it upon myself to watch my chickens, learn the ways they interact with each other, and to train them. I grew up with dogs, and spent a couple of years living with a dog trainer that taught me a fair amount about dog psychology, and also watched the Dog Whisperer a lot during that time. I spend a LOT of time with my chickens, one-on-one, and group training. What do I train them to do? Just be decent, polite animals. My roosters don't crow, my hens don't make a whole lot of noise while laying, everyone's just fine with a new chicken in the group and don't try to peck or dominate... and I used to rescue chickens, too, until the risk of homelessness became too great. Now I only have three pullets and two roosters - and one of those roosters is a bantam. We're getting ready to shove off here pretty soon.

    Anyway, one of my pullets, an Ameraucana ( Ziggy ), started eating my other pullet's ( Faust ) eggs! Faust lays these gorgeous, big, brown eggs. Her father was a Welsummer, so I think that's where she gets her egg colour and size from. Before I knew who was eating the eggs, though, I took one of Faust's eggs and set it in the coop. Ziggy was on it in an instant. As soon as Ziggy pecked it, I took my index finger and gave her a strong poke right on the head - as if another chicken were pecking her to correct her. Each time she went for the egg, I poked her. You don't want to use your fingernail or to make them jump or scream, just the tip of your finger. Simply the act of touching in that sharp "pecking" manner will get their attention, and it's how chickens tell each other "NO!", so they entirely understand the premise of what's being said! Now, your chickens might at first be confused by the action because they'll be wondering why YOU are pecking them! After all, you didn't used to peck them, so why have you begun pecking? However, chickens are smart, and they pick up on patterns quickly. Start with each time they peck the egg, and move forward so that if they so much as SHOW INTEREST in the egg, they get "pecked"! It took me just a few minutes for Ziggy to understand that being "pecked" was associated with the egg, and to avoid the egg, and only took me a few days before I could set one of Faust's eggs in the coop with no one paying it any mind at all. Still, if I leave an egg in there for the whole day, it's pretty likely that I won't find it at the end of the day... just means I need to spend a little more time reinforcing this!

    Something else convenient about chickens is that they're capable of slightly more abstract thought than dogs, so one other way I would enforce to Ziggy that Faust's eggs are NOT for eating is to "peck" her WITH the egg. This enforces that the EGG is not to be messed with. I ONLY did this a couple of times to start out with, though, as associating tools with discipline is a bad idea for ANY sort of training.

    This method of approaching the egg-eating issue will take time and vigilance as well as a will to view and treat your chickens as intelligent pets as opposed to stupid, backyard egg-making machines. It also depends on just how much time and energy you're willing to expend on your chickens. Depending on your outlook and how much you're willing to do, maybe it'll be easier just to stew the bad batch and get a new flock, or to give up on the game hens. I have also heard someone say that you can drain an egg and then put hot sauce or cayenne pepper inside, but on the converse, I've also heard that chickens are incapable of tasting hot spice. There's sometimes a "no bite" jelly you can put on a bird that you can obtain from feed stores that discourages other chickens from pecking at a specific chicken that might be over-pecked - the idea being that the chickens don't like the taste of the jelly, and you might be able to put that on or in an egg? Otherwise, I'd say the door knobs ( but NOT light bulbs - if they eat the glass, that can turn out deadly ) and "other junk" idea is also pretty good - the psychology of that is spot-on. They're inquisitive and will peck, peck, peck, but when nothing comes of it, they'll give up... but I wouldn't count on it being as long term of a solution as actively taking a part of their lives and actively setting up and enforcing boundaries.

    Anyway, that's my thoughts and my experiences. I hope it helps!
     
  6. bpbanfie

    bpbanfie New Egg

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    Another object you might consider putting in the nesting box is golf balls. We have used them successfully in the past. You need to be sure to get the "real" eggs out of there asap, or this method doesn't work...
     
  7. LocoPollo

    LocoPollo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have always had to make soup out of egg eaters.
     
  8. ScotianChick

    ScotianChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've actually been trying what Oly mentioned above. It worked for weeks but then it seems that BBs eggs were weakened again (I think she was actually born with a calcium deficiency) and they were crushed so she started eating them again. I just separated her again and broke an egg and when she goes for the egg yolk, I swat her away. Now I can set a cracked open egg right in front of her and she doesn't touch it. But she is still separated until I can see exactly what the heck is going on.
     
  9. OlyChickenGuy

    OlyChickenGuy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Out of my chickens that were laying when I had many ( used to have two standards and four bantams laying - bantams got new homes, though ), I found many of them to have different thickness in egg shells and inner membrane. Faust's eggs I can crack and peel the shell off, and the membrane is so strong it stays in tact! Ziggy's, not so much. Of the bantams, I had a similar range between the four, and it seemed to coincide with pecking order - those on top had the hardest shells and membranes, and those on bottom had the weakest shells and membranes.

    Compare to my house mate's chickens... their eggs are all VERY thin and fragile in comparison to mine. However, my house mate is a farmer and I am a pet owner. She has the chickens in a pen in the side yard, and the chickens have to actively compete for good food, roosting space, nest box use, etc. They get a larger variety of food in their diet since they get the compost and bugs and all that, so their yolks are a brighter colour and more flavourful, whereas my chickens are mostly eating commercial chicken kibble and staying indoors. However, my chickens have plentiful food and since I take an active role in their lives, there is no competition. My chickens yolks are not as bright, but the shells are much harder and the membranes in tact. My house mate's chicken's eggs have super thin shells with almost no membrane at all. I have dropped my chicken's eggs numerous times without them breaking - even onto the hard floor of the kitchen! Maybe a crack, but no slimy stuff oozing out. My house mate's eggs? Don't even try dropping them from a few inches onto a towel - they WILL break.

    Your chicken might have a calcium deficiency, which you can solve by giving them calcium supplements, but make CERTAIN that it's in a digestible form and also know that calcium poisoning is a very real risk, too, if you're giving them too much calcium supplement! She could have a weaker shell because she's lower on the pecking order, or because she's stressed, too! Maybe it's diet, or environment, or maybe she's not entirely comfortable with her coop mates. Emotional state of the chicken can prove a huge toll on the chicken's egg laying functions. It is good that you separated her, though, to observe individually!
     
  10. ScotianChick

    ScotianChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just went back to check on her, she's in my woodhouse/shed attached to the back of my house. She seemed like she was still waiting to lay an egg when she moved to grab more hay I saw for the first time, a perfectly round egg! Hers are normally very odd looking and almost flat. It had no cracks in it and seemed to look almost exactly like her sister RIR's! So I am very pleased the calcium I've been giving her seems to be working. I gave her oyster shells (which I don't think she realized were food initially), milk, and one tum crushed up! As reward, she gets to go outside and free range with her sisters!
     

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