do i have an egg eater?

Amastacia

Songster
6 Years
May 9, 2013
342
9
111
SW Michigan
i have 14 hens and a rooster, mixed breed flock, all between 1 and a half and 2 and a half. i am getting an average of 6 eggs a day. on occasion when i go out to collect them there is will one box with all of the eggs covered in what i am pretty sure is yoke and on very rare occasion i will find a little bit of broken shell too. does this sound like an egg eater to you?

on a side note, i'm pretty sure my three BOs are all molting, which i'm sure isn't helping, but that still leave 11 hens that should be laying.

thoughts?
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
95,235
126,319
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
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Was the shell you found thin?

If an egg breaks for whatever reason, it's fair game for them to eat IMO.

The days are getting shorter and that can trigger molting and cessation of laying especially in older hens.

Make sure they have ample protein and oyster shell available at all times.
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
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South Georgia
It's not likely. Any chicken will eat an egg tht gets broken, and some will get broken by accident, especially if you have one laying eggs with thin or soft shells.

Around here, if the production seems too low, there is usually a rat snake lurking. Young skunks or weasels can get in through very small holes, and even rats will eat eggs, just for examples. Could they be feeling some stres, perhaps from new noises or new objects, or dogs walking through at night, something like that?

You may be getting their normal number of eggs, with the molt going on. But here is a good thread to ferret out possible production problems:

https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/423023/why-arent-my-chickens-laying-here-are-your-answers/0_20
 

Cowgirl71

Songster
9 Years
Feb 5, 2010
3,176
78
221
Missouri Ozarks
That doesn't sound to me like an egg eater. That sounds like an egg gets broken now and then, wether it be from a clumsy heavy hen, a calcium deficiency causing the shells to be weak, the boxes being to small/cramped, not enough nest boxes, or not enough nest bedding, or just because it happens now and then, eggs are fragile. When an egg breaks in the nest it will coat the other eggs in yolk and goo, and then the hens will often eat all of the bits of shell. If you had an egg eater you'd likely be seeing some eggs with small peck holes in them.

This is the time of year when hens are molting, so 6 eggs/day from a flock of 14 older birds is not unusual. Mine are being very subtle this year, I'm only noticing that they're molting because their feathers were looking very dry, faded, and frayed, but now beautiful fresh feathers are coming in alongside older ones, giving them a mottled appearance. Usually they loose feathers faster than they regrow them and so look quite pathetic for a couple weeks but this year for some reason they seem to be molting differently. You could try checking to see how many hens are laying by measuring the distance between the pointy pin bones, which are located on either side and just below the vent. If 2-3 fingers fit inbetween them then she's laying, if 1 finger or less then she's not laying. If the bird is not laying now she's likely molting and will start laying again in a month or so.

BTW, I love your signature!!! :)
 
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Amastacia

Songster
6 Years
May 9, 2013
342
9
111
SW Michigan
Was the shell you found thin?

If an egg breaks for whatever reason, it's fair game for them to eat IMO.

The days are getting shorter and that can trigger molting and cessation of laying especially in older hens.

Make sure they have ample protein and oyster shell available at all times.
the shells i've found haven't been particularly thin, but i do have a really tough time keeping any real amount of bedding in the boxes, so they could be breaking there. and i agree that if it breaks, they can have it. i just don't want them to be breaking them in order to get them.

they could be stressed by that hawk that keep swooping my back yard... or the stupid blue jay that keeps mimicking the hawk. i will keep an eye on them.

thanks for the info.
 

Cowgirl71

Songster
9 Years
Feb 5, 2010
3,176
78
221
Missouri Ozarks
i do have a really tough time keeping any real amount of bedding in the boxes, so they could be breaking there


This is likely the case. You can try making the sills higher, at least 6 inches, 7 inches is better. If you're getting broken eggs routinely I would seriously consider doing this because otherwise there's an increased risk that one of the hens will become an egg eater which is practically impossible to cure them of.
 

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