egg eater what could be missing?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by kelliepulido, May 1, 2009.

  1. kelliepulido

    kelliepulido Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2008
    st.john's mi
    Ihave been feeding layer 16% protien should I go to something higher in protien do you think who ever isn't getting something in the dumor layer that is causing this?It recently started happening and is getting worse.I can't figure out who it is yet.
     
  2. Linda in San Diego

    Linda in San Diego Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hope someone has ideas for you!
     
  3. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think you should do everything you can think of to get it to stop, including upping the protein in their diet. I've given them rinsed, canned tuna.

    Make sure there's oyster shells not only for their calcium needs but to strengthen the egg shells so they don't break easily. A broken egg in the henhouse will be eaten, even by chickens that would never break an egg on their own.

    Stay on this problem like a bird dog on a covey of quail. Pick up your eggs as often as you can. Keep the nestboxes clean and inviting. If they are laying on the floor, that's not good. The nests should be somewhere quiet and out of the way. You may want to cover them with curtains. Some folks have found that this works well. There's also something called a "community nestbox" - do a BYC search. I don't know much about this but it is apparently large enuf for more than one layer and dark in the interior. Curtains and such cut off the light. Hens are willing to lay eggs in the dark but what they can't see, they won't eat.

    Just as it is possible for the culprit to teach this bad habit to the other hens, I've had an egg eater and it is very possible to get them out of the habit.

    Here's wishing you the best of luck on this.

    Steve
     
  4. kelliepulido

    kelliepulido Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2008
    st.john's mi
    Ok good thought Steve how do I make curtains for the boxes and will they still use them ifthey cant's get in maybe the curtain does not go all the way down the box and what kind of material
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Another trick people use is to gather the eggs often but leave fake eggs in the nest; wooden, plastic, golf balls. The hens supposedly try pecking at it, can't break it, and quit trying.
     
  6. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If the hens are used to laying in the box, they will want to get in there. The idea is to cut off nearly all light to the interior once she's pushed her way inside. So I'm guessing that heavy material, split in the middle, would be the way to go.

    I've read a rather casual comment made by an animal behaviorist that chickens don't have rod cells in their retinas. That would explain why they have such poor night-time vision. Everything is in color with those birds and so light must be fairly strong for them to see well. Still, they like a break and will crawl under things to get into a comfortable dark place for nesting.

    Bird-brained they are, however. I'm not too sure what an egg means to a chicken. The nest itself seems to be nearly all-important. An egg in the nest might just be the chicken version of a "wedge pillow" [​IMG] . Maybe having a few fake ones in there is good for a number of reasons.

    Steve
     
  7. kinnip

    kinnip Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    I've had egg eating issues off and on. I find that the curtain does help, as long as I'm diligent about collecting the eggs. If I miss a day, I'm guaranteed to find broken egg residue. I've also found that a bit of free ranging every few days takes care of it. They really just seem to eat eggs when they're bored. Making a big production of treat giving also helps. Keep 'em occupied!
     
  8. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Protein, or lack thereof, isnt the culprit. It is often blamed, but a chicken knows nothing of such things. Rather, it's one of those "lore items" we love to repeat, just like using golf balls and giving them hot peppers.

    Egg eating is a result of two things rather common things: luck and desire.

    Chickens crack or break an egg accidentally (luck) and peck at it like they do everything else. Once they get the taste, they won't quit (desire).

    Things to do are...

    - Darken the nest.
    Darkened nests lead to less moving around, and so less mechanical breakage. Chickens also wont eat what they cannot see well, so they wont peck at eggs that have a spot of poo or clinging feathers... if the light is too dim to see them by. Hang a dark curtain over the nest entrance or use communal box nests.

    - Keep a clean nest.
    For the above reasons.

    - Keep a well padded nest.
    A minimum of 2" of soft bedding is recommended, if you're not using a roll away nest design.

    - Ensure adequate calcium in the diet, as opposed to protein.
    This leads to strong egg shells, and so less breakage.

    - Remove eggs often, 2-3 times per day.
    If they dont sit there, they cannot tempt them.

    - Cull offending hens early
    When one learns it, the others are soon to follow. In this case, having 'egg on ones face' is especially bad - for them.

    - Use rollaway nests.
    These move the eggs out of their reach once laid.

    As is true with so many things, the things that work are logical... and boring. Try these.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2009
  9. melissa508

    melissa508 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A trick i learned from my old country folk neibors down south for curing egg eaters. They would hollow out a few eggs & fill them with mustard & hot sauce & seal them up..then leave them out for the egg eaters who wont like the taste
     
  10. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Quote:Classic old ploy - which doesn't work. Chickens, as with all birds, lack taste buds as we know them and hot stuff doesn't phase them in the least. Throw them a few Thai or habanero peppers and youll see what I mean. They demolish them as happily as anything else.

    I'll wager that all that hollowing and fooling around in the nest with 'egg bombs' back in the old days also meant that the good eggs were collected far more often.
    If all that remained were the ersatz cackleberries, well... even a chicken will eventually stop pecking at eggs that yield no yolk. Im certain under these conditions, that the little "trick" did seem to work.

    We love this sort of 'lore and legend' stuff, even if we are unsure of its efficacy. Often, even if we're sure it doesn't work, we still repeat it.
    Lets face it, just imagining a chicken blowing fire and steam like Foghorn Leghorn is more fun than the mundane stuff that actually works.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2009

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