Egg Eating and Tree Roosting...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mangled, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. mangled

    mangled Chillin' With My Peeps

    While my boy was hospitalized last month, there was very little interaction with the flock. Someone was here once daily to collect eggs and fill the feed and water containers.

    I now have a mixed flock of egg-eaters and tree-roosters.

    My flock has over 30+ hens of laying age, and lately I'm lucky to get 2-4 eggs a day. I'm actually catching then hens in the act of eating the eggs.

    They're also free-range, but have always come back to the coop at night to be closed in. The blasted Brown Leghorns have taken to roosting in trees, and now the rest of my flock has begun to follow suit.

    Imagine me with a handful of pebbles, yelling at trees and throwing rocks to scare them down, and then herd them back to the coop. Three nights of this has left me quite frustrated.

    My run is large, but has no cover, I've closed them in, but, again, the brown leghorns figure out how to fly out and the more lean girls follow their lead. The older, more mature hens aren't capable of 8 foot high flight.

    There is NO money to cover the run right now, it's not even an option. We have a small covered run, maybe 10 feet wide and 20 feet long, but I can't cram 30+ hens into that small a space.

    And keeping most of them in the run all day has increased the egg eating. [​IMG]

    So, experts, should I fatten them up and cull them and start anew (NOT what I want to do) or are there other things I can do?

    Thanks in advance-
    Em
     
  2. chicksgalore

    chicksgalore Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 19, 2008
    Clipping wings is really not hard to do and that should keep them from flying out.

    As for eating, in a flock that size, it would be hard to catch the culprit, but if you're actually catching them in the action, I would remove those birds from the rest, hopefully, before they teach any more how to do it. I had an eater one time and she was one of my favorites but I had to give her away.

    I've heard from my grandmother that if you can put pepper on the egg shell, that will cure them from breaking them but I would think it would be extremely hard to pepper the eggs before they start eating, if this even works--I can't speak from experience on this one. My beset advice would be just to try to extricate the eaters.
     
  3. kaylakala

    kaylakala Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Melbourne Florida
    I've clipped my chickens wings. I'm a newbie and the directions available on this site were very easy to follow!!

    Good luck!!!
     
  4. rufus

    rufus Overrun With Chickens

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    May 17, 2007
    Egg eating is caused by over crowding and nutritional issues. In the past, we would just cull the egg eaters; we had large flocks and the egg eaters just self nominated themselves for Sunday dinner.

    Now with smaller flocks, each hen is important. We can't just cull them. When chickens have plenty of greens and oyster shell and lots of room, they won't eat eggs.

    Build a bigger run or cut down the size of the flock. Make sure they have lots of room and greens.

    And you might try the ipocac egg. Some lady posted on here that stopped it in her flock. For what it is worth, chickens don't seem to taste chili.

    Rufus
     
  5. swtangel321

    swtangel321 ~Crazy Egg Lady~

    Jul 11, 2008
    put some golf balls in the nesting boxes, worked great for my egg pecking hen. they will peck the golf ball and not the egg.... as far as covering goes I know you said that you cant b/c of the $$, at walmart they have this stuff that you cover your garden veggies and berry bushes with, its like $10 a roll (cheap, maybe give it a try)
     
  6. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2007
    Connecticut
    Golf balls and oyster shells....and I had to visit the coop alot for one week to get those eggs out to break the habit.
     
  7. mangled

    mangled Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Right now, the flock isn't over-crowded. I have an enormous run, and the egg-eating began while they were free-ranging.
    My coop is 12'x12', with a 12' roof. I have 7 nest boxes.

    As for nutritional deficiencies, I can't say. They are fed a 17% layer's crumble, I have oyster shell free-choice at all times, and they have scratch grains tossed out daily, in addition to our 5 or 6 acres of cleared yard, and the tree-line they forage in daily. Plus, they get our table scraps, and whatever cat food they can steal when I'm not looking.

    Now that the majority of them are in the run, they're slowly working on the greenery that is there. Luckily, as our run isn't used a lot, there's a good weed and grass crop there. It's going fast, though.

    The ones I caught egg-eating have been segregated in our covered run, it's up to 9 hens after today. I still only got 3 eggs today. It's so frustrating.

    I never even considered wing clipping. I kinda had a D'oh! moment when I read that. I clip the wings on our cockatiel whenever they require it, I imagine it's along the same lines, just on a larger scale.

    Adding to the problem is my son's health issues. He was re-admitted this eveing for yet another pleural effusion. It's his third since his surgery, I'm home tonight to get my stuff together and my husband is at the hospital with him tonight. Tomorrow, once again, the flock is going to begin having very little human interaction while he's hospitalized.

    Thanks for al the suggestions. I really hope I can get the egg eating under control. The tree-roosting seems an easy enough fix, lol.

    Em
     
  8. can you hear me now?

    can you hear me now? Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:As for the egg eating theonly way I know how to stop this for sure is to cull the birds. If I remember correctly chickens love the things in pepper makes them hot. There is another option but if money is an issue, it isn't going to work. THat is if you make a roll away box for tem to lay in so they can't eat them.
     
  9. swtangel321

    swtangel321 ~Crazy Egg Lady~

    Jul 11, 2008
    Sorry to hear about your son [​IMG] I hope everything goes good for you/him and hubby !!!

    Good luck !!!!! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

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