Egg eaters!! Help!! I need advice!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by shober, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. shober

    shober Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 8, 2011
    I have 15 hens, 25 weeks old. They have just started to lay regularly. Now they are eating the eggs!! They have plenty of water, oyster shell, and lay mash. Should I get some game cock mix, as I heard its higher in protein? I've ordered ceramic eggs to help! [​IMG]This is very frustrating!! I don't want to cull the culprits! Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks
     
  2. jeslewmazer

    jeslewmazer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 24, 2009
    Mississippi
    Egg eating can come from many different problems. Do you know if the hens are eating the oyster shells? I Noticed that if I offered free choice, most the hens would not eat them. So, I would mix it in their feed. I currently just give the egg shells back to them, after I get the good part. [​IMG] Lay mash might not be enough for your hens. I feed a mix of Lay pellets, corn, and floating catfish food. There are other combinations you can use. Supplementing with a little extra protein might help some. They might be missing other nutrients as well. You could also try adding some vitamin supplements. It would depend on what version of game cock mix you get as far as the protein and other nutrients, just check the label.
    So, I think a little revamping a few key aspects would be best. The fake eggs are a good idea, but you also might need to add some protein, vitamins/nutrients, and make sure they are eating the extra calcium. Also, are they devouring the whole egg, just the inside, or just the shell? Just the shell would mean mostly calcium needed. Just the inside, protein/vitamins/and such are probably needed.
     
  3. allpeepedout

    allpeepedout Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 2, 2011
    Southern Indiana
    I had a small amount of egg eating when mine first started to lay. This is not uncommon. Mine stopped within a couple of weeks. Try adding an alternative source of calcium, like yogurt or milk, to strengthen shells. This was recommended by a university.
     
  4. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    We think of this as kind of a horrid event. And, it is! After all, we think those eggs are for US to eat, right?

    Obviously, chickens couldn't make more chickens if they ate their eggs right down thru recorded history [​IMG]. So, why would the bird-brains be eating their eggs now?

    I have a theory that it isn't so much that the egg is sacred to the hen, it is the nest that is sacred. If the nest is filled with with a clutch of eggs, that's probably fine with her but notice how a hen will scratch around in the nest if she is having trouble with laying her egg. If there is an egg already in the nest, sometimes the uncomfortable hen will scratch that egg right out onto the floor!

    Once it is on the floor, what happens? At best it is ignored but if there is any damage to that egg -- it will promptly be eaten. Don't believe me? Drop an egg on the floor of your coop and see what the chickens do with it. Even your wise old biddies will act like creatures out of a horror movie!

    !

    So, how to avoid egg-eating problems? First of all, don't allow the hens to lay eggs on the floor. I have had to introduce some new-to-lay pullets to their nestboxes [​IMG]. This isn't too difficult, it just takes some patience.

    Second, make sure the nestbox is a pleasant place. I've considered putting up lace curtains . . . [​IMG]. No, but make sure there is some clean straw or something in there. And, instead of lace curtains, you can make it a quiet and dimly lit place. Never have a nest box where there's lots of activity! Get it into a quiet part of the coop.

    Some folks will cover their boxes so that they are completely dark inside. One thing, if the chicken can't see the egg she won't eat it but also, the darkness adds to the secluded, sacred nature of a good nestbox [​IMG]. I have put a light weight tarp over the entrance of my nestboxes for the last few years. The hens don't have any trouble going in and out and they seem to appreciate the tarp [​IMG].

    Do not leave eggs in the nestbox . . . remember that hen who is having some trouble and is scratching around in there? If she breaks that egg in the box . . . .

    Never allow chickens to roost in the nests!! They treat those things just as they do the roosts - poop in them! Poop stays OUT of the nextboxes. If you can't put a stop to this - the hens will not want to use the boxes as nests!

    And, that is what you want . . . for the hens to happily go off to the nest and find some comfort there.

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012

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