cracked eggs! help!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ksct, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. ksct

    ksct Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2009
    upstate, NY
    so... we have at least one egg cracking hen.....
    our ladies lay their eggs from about 8-10am all the way til about 5pm..... (we're at work)
    and on average there's about 1 egg a day that is cracked. My son has even seen a hen peck it and crack it open.
    I have no idea which one is doing it because while they are in their boxes we can't see their leg band colors.
    any idea on how to stop this? can this be stopped?
    it kind of sucks!

    AND... 11 hens and we're only getting 2 eggs a day.... any idea why? time of year? something wrong?

    Thanks!
     
  2. ksct

    ksct Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2009
    upstate, NY
    can anyone help or make any helpful suggestions?
     
  3. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    Are your birds young? Do the cracked eggs have thin shells? The reduced amount of eggs may have to do with the decreasing daylight hours. Are they molting?
     
  4. Ohhhdear

    Ohhhdear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 15, 2010
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    There's lots of reasons chickens aren't laying. Most of these causes and cures have been extensively covered on the Forum in various places.
    Have they been laying before and are now stopping, or have they ever been regular layers? How old are your hens? Are they moulting? Has there been any dramatic change to their feed or diet or being cooped?
    Have you checked them for infestations of mites or other bugs and worms?
    Are they hiding their eggs somewhere and making nests?
    Is something getting at the eggs and eating them/stealing them? Maybe a person coming in and taking the eggs (yes, it happens!). Setting out a motion detecting game camera could pinpoint if this is the cause.
    Could be they're just slowing down because of less amount of daylight. Adding a light source on a timer in their coop might help.

    If none of the above are the cause, maybe an addition of ground cayenne pepper aupplemented in their feed might help stimulate the hens to begin laying again. A lot of people here claim it works very well, and it can't hurt.

    If you're not supplementing with oyster shell calcium, this will help a lot with thin or cracking shells. However, a lot of people here on the Forum have said that once a chicken has gotten into the habit of breaking and eating eggs it's almost impossible to break the habit. If you put that motion detecting camera in the nest boxes you might be able to "catch the culprit".
    Some of my girls have gone through periods of thin shells, no shells, ultra-thin shells (and ultra-thick shells) for no apparent good reason. I have oyster shell available by their feed all the time and mix cayenne pepper in their feed. Maybe it's because they're 6 months old and strange things still happen with their egg laying mechanisms. I have 12 production ISA Browns from TSC and usually get 10-12 eggs per day.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2010
  5. ksct

    ksct Chillin' With My Peeps

    459
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    Apr 23, 2009
    upstate, NY
    I don't know for sure if they're molting... they were losing their feathers for awhile but at the time we had a rooster. he's been gone a couple months now and their feathers are coming back in quite well.....

    they are all 70 weeks (today actually) - we don't always have oyster shell.... they eat the sand that's in their run etc BUT i will be getting some. i've just forgotten.
    THey have had some 'rubber' shells here and there but not many. i'll say a half a dozen since they started laying.

    WHAT DOES CAYENNE PEPPER DO?

    -they've been pretty regular layers except for the past couple months. on average we were getting at a minimun of 5 eggs a day all the way up to 10. (last sunday we only got 1)
    -I don't see any bugs on them anywhere... (they're looking good now that their feathers are coming back in) i will do a thorough check on them when i'm home when it's daylight.
    -they are not laying or hiding eggs anywhere else. they only lay in the nest boxes.
    (they are enclosed in a run)
    -no one is getting in the coop.... people don't enter our property... we had a problem with that a few years ago.... it's taken care of now.
    -the cracking of the shell...... it is actually a hen (i suppose it could be more than one but i think it's just one) actually pecking the egg until it's broken. (which fyi leaves the nest box nasty)
    -nothing has changed about their coop or surroundings (minus the removal of the roo but that's been awhile and they weren't laying much even when he was there)

    Some friends of ours have barred rocks.... granted they are a bit younger than ours (also starting laying at an earlier age) but I believe they're getting @ least 10 eggs a day....
    is it just becuase we have BO's?
    I like to give them treats but haven't much since i work all day and i'm back to school at night.... I can't imagine that has anything to do with it because i know people that don't give their birds anything extra and they get plenty of eggs.

    Is there any way to stop a hen from breaking eggs?
     
  6. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    I understand that some birds will "test" an egg by pecking with their beak. If the shell is thin and breaks, then they will eat the egg. If it's a hard shell that doesn't give way easily, they may leave it alone. Mine will eat a shell-less egg, but do not eat others.
    Eating sand in the run may work as grit, but grit is not a substitute for oyster shell. The oyster shell will allow them to supplement their calcium if they need it. You can also wash, bake and crush their own shells and feed them back to them. Since you may have an egg breaking issue, you want to make she the shell is crushed well so to be unrecognizable as an egg shell.
    Some say that feeding BOSS for treats helped to break egg eating chickens. It may have something to do with a need for Omega 6 which is found in eggs but also in BOSS (I believe that's how it goes.)
     
  7. Ohhhdear

    Ohhhdear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    West Michigan
    There was quite a bit of information posted on the BYCF in the last 2 weeks about cayenne pepper. Not sure if it was here in Chicken Behaviours or in Feeding, sorry.
    What I understood is that cayenne pepper contains capsaisin which helps produce heat internally and stimulates their whole systems. People who eat red pepper or cayenne pepper feel that burning, but chickens don't. They get the benefit of the capsaisin though. It's a supplement, you don't need to add much, and it's very inexpensive. A big container is just a few dollars at the wholesale clubs like Sam's.

    "
    Quote:Hot pepper like Cayenne is high in vitamins C and A. It helps to protect the intestines from damage due to bacteria and protozoa and has some bactericidal and protozoan suppression qualities. It acts as a tonic.

    According to herbal remedies, the active ingredient is capsaicin. When taken internally capsaicin can warm the body, raise metabolism, improve weak digestion and increase circulation.

    I mix 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper per cup of feed. Any of the hot peppers will do. But not the black peppercorns they're a different type of plant. In the summer, we toss them garden refuse of peppers - jalapeno, hot banana, anaheim, cayenne that are damaged.

    "

    Also there are many people who use cayenne to worm their chickens. I've not needed to try that but there's lots of people who swear by it rather than using other wormers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2010

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