Curing egg eating

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by extraordinaryfowl, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. extraordinaryfowl

    extraordinaryfowl Chillin' With My Peeps

    477
    3
    101
    Sep 6, 2011
    Lancaster, PA
    I was recently asked to start a post about how I cured one of my flocks of egg eating, so here is what happened:

    It started when I moved them to a bigger pen without a coop. They nest boxes were buckets mounted on a wood stand about two feet high - They were extremely easy to access, and so the chickens did access them - but mostly for breaking and eating eggs. I'm exactly sure how they learned to eat them in the first place, but it got so bad that I knew when a hen was laying (when she wasn't in the nest box) because all the other chickens would gather around her like sharks and devour the egg as soon as it appeared.

    So I did several things, without killing one -

    First thing I gathered plastic eater eggs and golf balls and put them in the nest boxes and on the ground. They would peck the ones open on the ground to find nothing, or if it was a golf ball they of course couldn't peck it open.

    Also, whenever I caught them eating one they regretted it, but that only led to them not eating eggs when I was around, and since I'm not around all the time, it didn't stop it.

    Those are the two things I remember doing, and it wasn't so bad - But what stopped it is when I made a coop that attaches to the run. The coop door is about 3 feet high, and the nest boxes are another foot and a half up inside the coop. After they had the coop, any egg eating that was still going on stopped completely. I don't know if it was that there were more nest boxes (4 for 8 hens instead of 2), If it was that they were darker, or harder to get too, but I suspect it is a combination of those things and mostly like the saying, "out of sight out of mind". Anyway, they don't touch the eggs now, even if they are laying in the run. Not even the occasional soft egg if it doesn't break when laid.

    I also have a pen of 4 that occasionally break an egg and eat it, but usually it is by accident (they step on it). Very rarely when they run out of food do they eat eggs.

    So anyway, I hope that all helps someone. I'm sure we would all be interested to hear anyone elses experience in curing egg eating, besides whacking their heads off.
     
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    Could it be that your previous setup was conducive to more egg breakage and the consequent eating thereof and now your new setup has more space in the nests, better access to the nests or more nests period, so that eggs just don't get damaged anymore?

    Chickens just don't turn into egg eaters, if this were so, there would never be any eggs....ALL chickens will eat eggs if the opportunity~broken or leaking eggs~arises. No more egg breakage, no more egg eating....sounds like whatever you did resulted in less egg breakage and didn't necessarily cure any "egg-eating" tendencies.
     
  3. extraordinaryfowl

    extraordinaryfowl Chillin' With My Peeps

    477
    3
    101
    Sep 6, 2011
    Lancaster, PA
    Exactly. I agree, they do not "just turn into egg eaters", it was because of the past setup that they started egg-eating. I had another pen that would go into the coop, into the boxes and break and eat the eggs, when I moved them to a similar coop (no harder or less likely for the eggs to get broken) they stopped eating them. I believe a new environment has a lot to do with it. Then, when I moved those same hens back to the original coop a while later they did not resume egg-eating.

    But I still don't agree that egg-eating cannot be "cured". As you said, and I agree entirely, if an egg is broken or leaking that will lead to the birds eating the egg, but before the birds were intentionally no matter where they were finding and breaking them, and now they are not even if they are laying in plain sight.

    Thanks for your view though, I appreciate it. All the best! MW
     

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