EGG EATERS!?!

Chickenlover720

Songster
May 15, 2018
92
194
121
W Central Indiana
So, I have seven hens ranging from 1.5-3.5 years old. I have never had any trouble with them eating eggs, but yesterday I went to let them out of their coop/run to free range for the day as I always do. I noticed there were two intact eggs in the run as well as two broken shells (empty of all contents) also in the run. They like to find places other than the nest boxes to lay but they rarely lay in the run. I noticed the shell remains were very thin and one was right next to their waterer so I assumed they had just been stepped on or broken somehow. (I discovered all this around 11 am) However, this morning I checked on them around 7 am and to my horror, they were running around fighting over a broken egg. They were carrying the mess of an egg around! This egg also had a paper-thin shell. I removed the egg and decided to feed and let them out earlier than usual so maybe they wouldn't get bored and lay their eggs in the run to eat. Unfortunately, I was leaving for class and couldn't monitor them further.
What are my options to prevent this behavior from worsening? I am planning on giving them oyster shell on the side to help provide them with an extra boost of calcium to strengthen the shells.
EDIT: I would like to add that if all possible, I'd rather not have to cull anybody. However, I suppose that if it becomes too much of a problem I may have to resort to that.
 

Chickenlover720

Songster
May 15, 2018
92
194
121
W Central Indiana
Chickens need calcium to form an egg properly. Are you supplying oyster shells for them now? Are they new to laying? Eggs contain calcium and they may be eating the eggs to get calcium in them.
I have not been, but I plan on putting it out when I get home. They do have access to a compost pile where there are crushed eggshells, but that has obviously not been enough. They are not new to laying. Two have been laying for close to three years, and five of them have been laying for about a year.
 

AviansLove

Songster
Sep 10, 2019
147
379
127
Pennsylvania
I have not been, but I plan on putting it out when I get home. They do have access to a compost pile where there are crushed eggshells, but that has obviously not been enough. They are not new to laying. Two have been laying for close to three years, and five of them have been laying for about a year.
Egg shells go through to quickly, I suggest leaving a plain bowl of oyster shells for them, don't mix them into their food they will eat it only if they need it.
 

baasanders

In the Brooder
Sep 11, 2019
24
39
44
I'm glad you asked this!! Mine are 4 months old, with the exception of one who is much older and laying eggs. I've noticed she has been eating hers, and figured it was a calcium deficiency. She runs with others and because of their age, I don't throw out oyster shells, so I know she's not getting enough calcium. Are my 4 month old hens and roo still too young for oyster shells? I've always heard they can't have it until they start laying. But if this is incorrect, I'd love to go ahead and give them some!!
 

AviansLove

Songster
Sep 10, 2019
147
379
127
Pennsylvania
I'm glad you asked this!! Mine are 4 months old, with the exception of one who is much older and laying eggs. I've noticed she has been eating hers, and figured it was a calcium deficiency. She runs with others and because of their age, I don't throw out oyster shells, so I know she's not getting enough calcium. Are my 4 month old hens and roo still too young for oyster shells? I've always heard they can't have it until they start laying. But if this is incorrect, I'd love to go ahead and give them some!!
Don't give oyster shells to roosters, only offer them to your older hens till your pullets start laying but roosters should not have oyster shells.
 

baasanders

In the Brooder
Sep 11, 2019
24
39
44
Definitely add in the Oyster shell in a separate dish.
Roosters won't eat it and if he does it won't be anything like the Hens will consume.
I feed Grower finisher feed to all my birds. Ducks too with Oyster shell in a separate dish once a week.
I'm glad you said that, cause I'm over hear racking my brain on how to keep him separate at feeding time, LOL!! Now I just have to figure how to give it to my older hen, and not the younger ones, because they all free roam together.
 

MANNA-PRO

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