Egg collecting...I need some help!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by WyoChickenMamma, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. WyoChickenMamma

    WyoChickenMamma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last week (the first week my flock was here) I was averaging 4-6 eggs a day. Then Wednesday came and I collected 11. I was over the moon. I have only 14 that are mature enough to lay so I figured Thursday would be a low day. I collected a four or five. Friday, I thought today would be a big day again, that was the day I found two hens eating eggs. The one I caught them in the middle was a very small, paper thin shelled egg. I bought them oyster shell and they went crazy, all of them dug right in to that pan of shell. I have also started grinding up their own shells and adding that back into the pan of oyster shell. They day I caught them eating the eggs, I think I collected 5 or 6. Since then it has been only 4-5 each day. Here are my concerns:

    1. Since finding the eaters, I have been diligent about collecting the eggs multiple times a day, yesterday I think I went out there about 6 times. Could I be going too much and causing them to some kind of disturbance?

    2. I believe that they were not being fed anywhere near good quality food, actually what the man gave me with them looked like a huge bin full of scratch that was mostly corn. From reading on here I decided to that they were getting way to much corn for summer. I started them on Purina Layena Plus pellets, with the oyster shell always out for them. They also free range from about 6am till they put themselves to bed at about 9pm. Could the change in food slow production? I do not believe they had this much free range time at their previous home, I doubt they ever had oyster shell.

    3. It has been very hot and dry here since I brought them home, however they day the gave me 11 eggs, was well up into the 90's.

    4. Is there something else I am missing or not doing for them? They have several water founts out too, that I have been putting new water in everyday.

    I do know that of the 18 chickens, 4 were hatched in the beginning of March, the man was not sure exactly when. I have collected one very small egg, that I believe was from one of them and then the small soft shell the hens were eating. Of the other 14 mature hens, I have no idea of their ages. The may we bought them from had inherited some about 3 years ago and of that group he had no idea how old they were or which ones he has culled out and which ones he has added back. He said he was adding into his flock of 39 about 10 new ones each year and culling about 10. So it is possible that a few of the hens I have could be quite up there in age and just not laying as much as some of the others. I do have one silver laced Wyandotte, she was the only one in the flock...she could be from the original bunch. Seems odd he would only have one of her. Most of my flock are RIR, a few BO's, one barred rock and several that are solid white that I am not sure of the breed.

    Perhaps I am just becoming obsessed and putting way to much thought into this? I want them to be happy healthy hens that produce nice eggs.

    Any suggestions would be great. I am so new to all of this and would be lost without this website. [​IMG]
     
  2. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Maybe you could cover the front of your nestboxes, if its darker they may not be able to see the eggs to eat them. Some more protein may help them as well- you could feed them some gamebird feed or some meat scraps. The only way to really ensure they aren't going to get those eggs is to build yourself some roll away nest boxes. I've never had an egg eating issue, so I don't really know what else to suggest. Good luck!
     
  3. nsanywhere

    nsanywhere Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:That many times may disturb them, but it will also drive you crazy :) 2x a day should be enough. If at all possible, figure out who the eaters are and separate them for ~week, taking their eggs away if they lay. It's tough to break the habit of egg eating, but worth trying.

    2. I believe that they were not being fed anywhere near good quality food, actually what the man gave me with them looked like a huge bin full of scratch that was mostly corn. From reading on here I decided to that they were getting way to much corn for summer. I started them on Purina Layena Plus pellets, with the oyster shell always out for them. They also free range from about 6am till they put themselves to bed at about 9pm. Could the change in food slow production? I do not believe they had this much free range time at their previous home, I doubt they ever had oyster shell.

    Yes, sounds like a quality food issue. Mine get just a few handfuls of cracked corn in the spring/summer months, often scattered where I want them to "work" like the mulch pile. Layer pellets and oyster shells are great, along with the free ranging. It just may take a month or so to get their systems settled down.

    3. It has been very hot and dry here since I brought them home, however they day the gave me 11 eggs, was well up into the 90's.

    Heat shouldn't be a factor as long as they have water, food, and shelter.

    4. Is there something else I am missing or not doing for them? They have several water founts out too, that I have been putting new water in everyday.

    Nope. Sounds like you have everything covered. Just give them more time to settle in. The breeds you listed are all good layers, but egg production will drop off as they age.

    Perhaps I am just becoming obsessed and putting way to much thought into this? I want them to be happy healthy hens that produce nice eggs.

    nothing wrong with obsessing about our animals :) Sounds like you are doing just fine and they will all settle down over the next few months.​
     
  4. WyoChickenMamma

    WyoChickenMamma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the quick responses. I am forcing myself to wait until about noon to go out there. There is a small window on the side of coop where the laying boxes are, I think I will cover that. My coop faces East and gets all the morning sun. Perhaps they need it to be darker.
     
  5. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    I got two pieces of advice with my egg eaters: Slaughter them or built a fancy nestbox like they use in the batteries where the egg roll away out of sight where the hen can't get to it. I didn't like either idea, so I got rid of them. If someone has a nice foolproof idea please let's hear it!
     
  6. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    could they be laying outside while they free-range?
     
  7. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

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    Heat can be a factor in egg production. When it becomes very hot I fortify their water with Poultry Drench. It contains electrolytes that can help them with heat stress.

    It does sound like you are doing everything possible and often you will experience slowdowns in egg prodution that just happen. As far as the egg eating problem you can get rid of the egg eaters, which is often difficult to determine the actual culprit, or you can set up a roll out nest. Here is a design that I came up with that works quite well and is reasonably easy to build. https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=287684
     
  8. WyoChickenMamma

    WyoChickenMamma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't want to have to cull any of them if I can avoid it. So I am going to show my husband the rolling ramp that Opa featured. It might be what we end up doing...put my husband to work again for the hens he wanted nothing to do with...heheheh.

    I did cover the window and when I went down to do that three of the nesting boxes had hens. I didn't bother them, hung the towel, pinned it in place and walked away. Hoping for some eggs today! [​IMG]

    Thanks again for all the suggestions.
     
  9. KDailey

    KDailey Crazy Cochin Lady

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    I read an article in a magazine I got from TSC that was about egg eaters. They said that chickens despize mustard. Take a few eggs and poke a hole in the ends so you can blow out the insides and then fill them with mustard. After doing this a while the chickens should learn that "hey, these aren't as good as I originally thought they were."

    Now I've never tried it but apparantly it works. I would definately seperate the ones that are eating the eggs though so they don't teach it to the other chickens.
     
  10. WyoChickenMamma

    WyoChickenMamma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The mustard in the egg thing will be my last attempt to try to stop it. This morning I let them out of their coop at 5:30, went to the gym and came home at 8. I went to let them out to free range and thought I would check to see if there any eggs...even though I have never collected any before 8am. I peeked in there and there was yolk soaked bedding in one of the boxes. It is now 11 and I have yet to collect any eggs. I will wait for a while and go check again. Just now when I went down there was one hen in the laying box and another hanging out on the perch. I am wondering how long they have been eating eggs. The man I bought them from never mentioned this and said he was collecting close to or just over 2 dozen eggs each day from his flock of 39. I have 18 of those 39. I am trying to be patient with them, I know they have been through a lot with moving, I changed their food too and it has been hot. It is just frustrating to see the yolky bedding. The day I did catch one of them in there with yolk on her beak it happened to be one of the 6 RIR's...now sure which one it was now.
     

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