egg eaters beyond all reason

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by newchickiemom48, Jun 29, 2016.

  1. newchickiemom48

    newchickiemom48 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 2 really sweet barred rock hens. They are about a year and a half old. I think they learned this behavior from some wyandottes I had and rehomed for this reason. I have not gotten eggs from them for several months and production from my other hens is down. When I let them free range and keep the other hens in the coop, my production is back up. So I know who it is. I suspect their shells are soft. I give 20% protein and provide oyster shell in addition to crushed egg shells. Not sure if they are just not absorbing the calcium. I have tried clipping their beaks, giving them a flock block, giving them ceramic eggs, using nesting box pads, and rollaway nesting box inserts. They are laying outside the box specifically so they can break and eat them. The only other thing I can think of doing is putting them in a little pen outside my back door so I can watch them very closely to try to figure out how exactly they are doing it so I can come up with a better plan. Any suggestions??
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Perhaps there's something they don't like about your nestboxes. Very often eggs laid on the floor will get eaten, so maybe trying to figure out why they don't use the nestboxes is a place to start.
     
  3. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    It could be that your hens are using the opportunity to free range to lay in a secluded location. You will learn more quicker by getting a romance novel, a pitcher of Margaritas, and sitting in your back yard waiting for your hens to announce that they just laid an egg. Furthermore you can home into the nest by the sound of the hen.
     
  4. newchickiemom48

    newchickiemom48 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I did my observation and they are laying but have extremely soft shells. They break by stepping on them so the fact that I clipped their beaks was no help. I have them in a separate coop with extra oyster shell. Are barred rocks known for calcium deficiency? Any other recommendations to harden up the shells?
     
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    A few things will cause soft shelled eggs; stress, a defective shell gland, some diseases like bronchitis, an imbalance of nutrients, especially d3 and calcium, and I have read excessive panting can cause it as well.

    So make sure their isn't a lot of stressors, predators, loud noises, New members, New food. Since you have more than one doing it I wouldn't suspect the defective shell gland. You didn't mention anyone being sick so diseases can be ruled out. There could be something wrong with your feed, so you could try a fresh bag or a different brand. And finally if it's been really hot that could cause soft eggs. So a few things to think of or try. Most soft eggs will be eaten by hens and it's considered normal for them to do so.
     
  6. newchickiemom48

    newchickiemom48 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's been really hot, they are panting because of it, and there are 3 new pullets, so I will continue with the extra calcium and give them some time. I really hope to get those rollaway boxes too.
     

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