Chickens eating eggs...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Caat, Dec 26, 2011.

  1. Caat

    Caat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 12, 2011
    BC,
    I need help determining why my chickens are eating their eggs. I have 10 chickens (8 hens) 1 turkey. They are in an 8X8 foot coop with a 10X10 foot run. There are 6 laying boxes, they always have access to food and water, there's light in the coop, plenty of ventillation, and they havee a heat lamp. On average it's approximately 5C/41F in the coop. I'm in British Columbia Canada. My chickens are approximately 8 months old. Originally I had an additional 6 roosters but we processed them 2.5 weeks ago. Any help would be appreciated.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    There are lot of threads about this. Often people are told to just cull the hens, that it's almost impossible to stop this. One thing that should stop it is rollaway nests, as they can't get at the eggs which rollout of reach when laid.

    I read a whole different approach to this somewhere on the Old Timers thread recently; I wish I had bookmarked the post as that is a long thread. I remember the poster said it was a matter of figuring out why they are breaking the eggs. Any chicken will eat a broken egg immediately (even I have learned this) but this does not mean they are an "egg eater" in the sense of a chicken who pecks open all eggs to eat them. They can learn to be, though. Meanwhile, the trick is to figure out why they are (presumably accidentally) breaking the eggs.

    I'm wondering about the light in the coop. They certainly don't need light at night; it stimulates them, and prevents good rest. If you are adding light just for a few hours to increase egg production, you might even consider stopping that for a while, til you get this resolved, or maybe just reducing the wattage. They really don't need it that warm in the coop, either, and it's even possible this is affecting them adversely. I've read that partly covering the nest boxes can help as they can't see the eggs as well -- something like a curtain (read fabric scrap) hanging over part of the front, if they are the kind that open only in the front. If there isn't good padding in the nest boxes, you might consider piling the hay or whatever a little thicker, of using carpet scraps or those rubbery shelf liners under the nesting material.
     
  3. JakRat

    JakRat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2009
    Dover
    Quote:Thanks!
    I have a similar situation. They just started doing it this weekend while we were away. We think it is because they ran out of water (one of them knocked both waterers over). As long as there is water in the coop we have found that they dont eat their eggs. We had a few eggs get eatten this weekend and we think too that its because the eggs werent laid in the nest... they were laid all over the place... we are going to have a family meeting tomorrow in the coop to discuss their bad behavior [​IMG]
     
  4. JakRat

    JakRat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2009
    Dover
    We do have a light in the coop (heat lamp) because of our little babies and our serama. We live right off of a field so the wind makes the area really cold. We havent had any problems with the light before, and the girls will only roost with the lamp on... crazy creatures.
     
  5. Caat

    Caat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 12, 2011
    BC,
    Well we're having a great day! 4 eggs so far today, 3 in the nest boxes, one in the run. None were broken, there's no evidence of any being eaten. The best we've ever had was 6 eggs. I don't think I've ever had all 8 hens lay an egg on the same day. They aren't quite 8 months yet (a couple weeks shy maybe). The only change I've made is added a whole lot of straw to the nest boxes adn coop in general. It seems like the hens like having a much deeper nesting materials.

    The light is only on during the day but I can turn it off. I could turn off the heatlamp but here it gets to the -35C and the rest of the time, the heatlamp helps keep the water from freezing. I suppose I could go buy a heted base for the waterer...

    I hope yesterday was just a "fluke", though I do think one of the hens is an egg pecker... I forgot to mention I also have golf balls in the nest boxes.
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Quote:Maybe red light would help you -- a heat lamp or even a red party bulb or two, if you can find one. Supposed to be less irritating to them, or they can't see it -- something. If they freak out you can always add a little white night light.

    Caat, great news!
     
  7. JakRat

    JakRat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2009
    Dover
    Quote:Maybe red light would help you -- a heat lamp or even a red party bulb or two, if you can find one. Supposed to be less irritating to them, or they can't see it -- something. If they freak out you can always add a little white night light.

    Caat, great news!

    yep its a red heat lamp. It gets pretty toasty up there...they are spoiled [​IMG] I wish I didnt have to have a light up there, but its the only way some of them will roost... our new girls arent allowed on the roost yet I guess... mean creatures.
     
  8. tmoore8595

    tmoore8595 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jefferson County, Al.
    Nest boxes need to be at least 18 inches above the floor of your coop, and lower than the roosts. The boxes also need to be fairly dark inside, maybe covered by a curtain as suggested in a previous post. If the hens can't see the eggs they are not tempted to peck them. Gathering the eggs often might also help.
     
  9. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    South Georgia
    Quote:A lot of people wouldn't agree with this. Mine are all currently choosing to lay in a nest that is maybe 2" above the floor, in a walk in coop. Now, last month they were only using one that is probably 2' off the floor. I try to put my broodies in a low nest, too. In a small coop, the advantage of the 18" is, it increases usable floor space.
     
  10. tmoore8595

    tmoore8595 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 7, 2010
    Jefferson County, Al.
    Another advantage of the 18" is, the hens can't see the eggs from the floor and are therefore, not tempted to peck them.
    The OP was trying to figure out why her hens were eating their eggs, and find a way to stop them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011

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