Darn Egg-Eaters!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Enchanted Sunrise Farms, Nov 22, 2007.

  1. Well, the new coop on wheels with 5 laying hens that i got off craigslist has turned out to be not so great a deal. The coop is way cool, but we have discovered it's filled with egg-eating chickens. We have two Jersey Giants, one Buff Orp, a Red Star (or Red Sex Link), and something else. Thanks to everyone who helped identify. But over the last couple of days we have discovered, to our dismay, that they are all terrible egg eaters - to the point that they wait while one is laying then all pounce on it. i found one hen today with her beak poking around under one who was laying.

    i did read all the posts i could find on the topic. i tacked tarps all around the nest boxes to try to darken the area, used part of a tarp as a curtain with a slit in front. i put a wooden egg in one of the nests. i filled an egg with mustard and wasabi and 2 of them pecked at it and went "yuck", but the other 3 still ate the shell.

    If i had the time and energy and i liked these chickens, i would try harder to break their habit. It was probably created by bad nutrition and boredom with their previous owners. But after all the attention given to them the past couple of days, i feel we are neglecting our original clan. It was nearly noon before i had a chance today to sit down and have my silkie time, just hanging out with my little girls. So these new little cannibals will have to go. Can't give them to anyone with existing chickens, or their nasty habits will just spread. i listed them on craigslist and will see what happens. If anyone in my area would like them, they are welcome to them. i am not up to processing and eating them, but if someone else would like them for that purpose, i am fine with that. Darn, i was looking forward to 7 eggs a day. Guess i need to be contented with the 2 from my Penny and Grace, and then the teeny ones that will eventually come from the silkies.
  2. picklespickles

    picklespickles Songster

    Oct 27, 2007
    letting them move on someplace else sounds like a good idea. some animals just don't fit in the scheme and need to go.
  3. lurky

    lurky Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    Have you seen those nesting trays where the egg rolls away? There is a ramp for it to roll out of the nest and into a tray for easy collection. Just thought i would mention it even though i'm sure you have made up your mind. Good Luck.
  4. My sister suggested using those slanted nesting boxes, which sound like a great idea. But that would mean we would have to build them or buy them, and neither my husband nor i are up to that. i snagged this coop because it was nicely built and i like the nesting boxes, thinking it would be a good alternative for my existing two girls. They don't really want to nest in our expensive chick-n-barn. So i had thought all along i might not keep these hens. But then got excited about the extra eggs. So much for that idea.

    If one of my girls started this bad habit, i would do everything possible to solve it. But i have had most since birth and i love them. i don't love these hens as i just got them. Plus, those Jersey Giants are huge and make the biggest chicken poops! i can just imagine my backyard with those girls in the summertime - Fly City!

    Thanks for the input and kind words, especially since everyone is getting ready for Thanksgiving. And hey, just an idea, those Jersey Giants are almost as big as a turkey. [​IMG]

    PS - Sorry, i know i sound less than sensitive in this post. i really do feel sorry for these chickens. They were probably cooped up with inadequate nutrition. It's a darn shame, as they deserved better. i am just so overwhelmed that i don't have the energy to change their bad habits.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2007
  5. Just an idea, try blowing out a few eggs and put fine black pepper in with a syringe, and see if that stops them. A friend of mine told me that one.
  6. nccatnip

    nccatnip Songster

    Aug 5, 2007
    Piedmont area NC
    Try placing a few golf balls in the nests- maybe they will think they are eggs and get a huge headache when they peck it. Not sure if this will work but others have posted success using this method.
  7. floridaborn

    floridaborn Hatching

    Nov 22, 2007
    I will tell you what I did. My favorite young rooster began eating eggs. I separated him for a couple of weeks thinking it was a habit I could break. Then I got desparate when he continued to eat eggs. I tried filling eggs with Tabasco sauce, hot mustard, horse radish sauce, ceyanne pepper powdered. Finally, I placed 50 cc of Syrup of Ipacap through a tine little whole I made with one of my insulin syringes. I did not attempt to drain the egg, just added the stuff to it. I thought I had killed him for the rest of the day. I mean he threw up and heaved and heaved and ran around trying to rub it off his face and then got the shakes and wheezed and threw up and then layed in the corner like he was going to die. The next day he was up and around and acting normally. Having survived hours of torture, he learned and has never eaten another egg. In fact a pullet layed one in the middle of the yard last week and he made such a ruckess about it I had to go see what was trying to eat him alive. Just an egg. I am thinking 50 cc's was just too much, probable 1/4 of it would have done the teaching. When I went to bed that first night I really thought he was going to die during the night. I reconciled my conscious about it because if it didn't work I was going to have to "kill" him anyway. This is the absolute last resort before the cull, at least in my book. The syrup of ipecap is something you keep around to induce vomiting in children, or pets. The vet had me use it once when my pom puppy at a full cup of m & m's I had measured to make cookies in the five minutes it took to go gather fresh eggs. She only weighed about 1 1/2 pounds and that much chocolate could have killed her. Use at your own risk, but you might want to try it before you butcher the culprit.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2007
  8. Wow, would never have thought of ipecac. i didn't know chickens could throw up. Glad that worked for you. You certainly can't let egg-eating continue, and it does call for strong measures.

    i decided to put the chickens up on craigslist yesterday and found a man who wants them. Aside from the egg-eating, those jersey giants and the buff orp are just too dang big. We don't have the space here.

    But either the wasabi mustard egg or that wooden one must have done some good. Today i went out to find a pristine egg in the nest box completely untouched. We have been bulking them up with yogurt, good lay mash, mealworms, cat food for extra protein, greens, and anything else i can find yummy. So maybe they are finally full for the first time.

    The man who is taking them has three acres and they will get to free range. With that kind of excitement, their egg-eating may be a thing of the past. i'm thinking the previous owners probably did not let them out of that coop very often. i think where they are going is a better life than i can give them. Plus, i still have a mighty cool spare pen for my girls.

    i really appreciate all the suggestions. i will keep them all in mind if this problem ever crops up again - but i hope it doesn't. [​IMG]
  9. lyndatu

    lyndatu Songster

    Nov 13, 2007
    Uh oh, looks like your chickens have a case of cannibalism! [​IMG]

    This usually starts when a hen lays an egg, the shell accidentally breaks and some of the liquid comes out. The chickens then say, "huh? what's this stuff?" They come and taste it, and they'll love it (guess we're not the only ones enjoying eggs).

    This may be caused by lack of nutrition from their feed (so they'll just find something else to get from), or just curious.

    Yes, try to scare them from the eggs by putting some undesirable substance in it, or you can cull them.

    Good luck!

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