Egg eater problem

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mamabigbird, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. mamabigbird

    mamabigbird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi. I looked up other posts about egg eaters but didn't see a situation quite like mine.
    I have 3 young EE pullets that started laying about a month ago. Two lay blue eggs and one lays an olive egg.
    I haven't figured out who lays what.
    Every morning for at least 2 weeks now there has been a crushed, empty blue egg.
    So I know it isn't random egg breakage because it is always a blue one.
    My BIL found one of the older black star hens eating the egg this morning
    but we don't know if she did it or just found it broken and took advantage of the free meal.
    I have 19 hens of various ages, so I don't know who is doing this.
    We plan on renovating the coop this spring and putting in a roll away nest box but need some way to stop this behavior now.
    I could blow out a blue egg and fill it with something yucky, but have heard varying ideas on what to use.
    Any advice is very welcome.
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Increase the nesting material in your nest box (in case the hen is 'dropping' and damaging the egg) and hang a curtain partially across the front of the nest box to darken the interior. This may help until you get the roll away nest boxes constructed. Good luck. Egg eating, once started, is a difficult habit to break.
     
  3. mamabigbird

    mamabigbird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 11, 2010
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    There is lots of fluffy bedding and it is always a blue egg that gets eaten, never the brown ones, so it isn't accidental breakage.
    Why would a curtain discourage egg eating? I've seen that suggested in other posts.
     
  4. StarLover21

    StarLover21 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's odd it's always a brown egg. Maybe one time one of your chickens broke a blue egg, your hen ate it and learned- oh, blue eggs are yummy, and never bothered to try those 'icky brown ones'. As I think you read on the other post on this same issue- try filling the egg with mutstard.
     
  5. mamabigbird

    mamabigbird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 11, 2010
    Vancouver Island, B.C.,
    I have gone out and put curtains over the nest boxes and I didn't have anymore blue eggs (sold all my eggs yesterday)
    and the one this morning was thrown away after it was found broken. So I came back to the house and dug through my cracked eggshell bucket (thankfully I hadn't crushed them yet) and found two halves of blue ones that fit together pretty good.
    Then I scotch-taped around the middle, leaving a hole to pour mustard in and added some sunlight dish soap too.
    It actually looked like a freshly pecked egg with the mustard looking like yolk and the dish soap looks like egg white oozing out a bit.
    I placed it in the nest that always has the pecked eggs and left that curtain open.
    Most of the chickens were away foraging on the property but there was one hen near the coop so I showed her the egg (placed it on the ground). She came running over and almost pecked at it but then shook her head and walked away. That's when I put it into the nest.
    It will be interesting to see what happens.
     
  6. mamabigbird

    mamabigbird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 11, 2010
    Vancouver Island, B.C.,
    Okay! So will they figure out how to navigate the curtains? I've read that chickens don't like changes in their environment.
    Will I find a bunch of eggs on the floor and/or cross legged chickens in the morning?
    Actually my BIL usually opens up the coop in the morning when he goes out to feed the horses.(We all share the acreage)
    He's going to think I've gone soft in the head when he sees the curtains.LOL. I'd love to be a fly on the wall then.
    The curtains are chicken and rooster print table napkins I found in a thrift store that happen to each fit the opening of each nest box.
    TRES CHICK. Faux Fabulous. Y'know.
     
  7. StarLover21

    StarLover21 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When we first got our chickens, we put 'curtains' across the nesting boxs, and they were used. Howeuver, they weren't just solid cloth, but cloth cut in strips so that they can get in easier.
     
  8. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Tack up one corner of the 'curtain' until they get the idea of entering with privacy. [​IMG] Also putting ceramic or wooden 'nest eggs' in the boxes can help in breaking the egg eating habit.
     
  9. endo12

    endo12 Out Of The Brooder

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    We have a variety of chicken breeds and never had an egg eating problem until we added White Rock hens last summer; I don't know if the behavior is breed related. We never had nest boxes - for years the hens picked a bit of mulch in the coop and layed wherever, but we put them in the past year to see if it would increase egg production. Production was fine but retrieval was zip because they seemed to eat each others eggs. I've taken the nest boxes out, and now everyone is laying where they please again. The only eggs that seem to get eaten now are those that are layed where the nest boxes used to be. I suppose the nest boxes set up some sort of territorial behavior. I'll certainly try making an egg with mustard in it. Can't hurt. It's so annoying to go to retrieve eggs and find the White Rocks having a feast on several crushed eggs. Any other advice would be welcome.
     
  10. champer

    champer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Let me tell you my story. I have a coop with no attached run, ingress and egress for me and the chickens is through a half height door. Early this summer I started finding broken eggs in the boxes or on the ground and finally thought I had found the guilty hen, but then with further watching I saw the hen leave the coop after laying and singing her head off. As I walked to the coop, I spotted a scrub jay sitting on the half door swoop into the coop and as I neared I could hear him pecking on the egg, that was my real culprit. For several weeks I watched the coop like a hawk and as soon as I saw a hen go in to lay, I'd go up and close the coop door till she finished laying and I retrieved the egg. With 4 hens this was a pain in the *** , but it worked and the freeloading scrub jay moved on. [​IMG]
     

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