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Egg eating bully hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by KathyK, May 19, 2011.

  1. KathyK

    KathyK Songster

    Dec 10, 2009
    Liberty Hill, TX
    I have 9 hens of different breeds, all 1 year old, and have been together since 1 day old. One of the Delawares started eating eggs this spring. Just an egg or 2 a week. Now she is addicted and hovers over the others until they lay, and then ambushes the egg. Of course, the others dine with her. I recently re-homed the rooster as he was getting aggressive with me and the hens. The Delaware was pretty high up the pecking order before the rooster left, but now seems like a real bully. She torments the hens when they try to lay, and is a bit aggressive towards me. She won't leave them alone, trying to get underneath them (I"m guessing to get the egg) when they are trying to lay. Yes, I have tried the fake eggs, and they have oyster shell available free choice. They are on 20% protein feed.
    The other Delaware has gotten aggressive towards the other hens and me, also. I'm assuming the pecking order is being re-established since the ousting of the rooster. He has been gone for about a month. Things were nice and quite at first, but quite stressful now.
    The nest box was also modified about 2-3 weeks ago to make it a roll away. Tried to keep it mostly the same. A few eggs are laid in the box, but mostly not. Most are laid in the hen house floor or out in the run.
    Should I isolate Ms egg eater? She isn't hurting the others that I can tell, but just won't let them lay their eggs in peace. Plus, I don't get to eat them [​IMG] I'm hoping to see if the others will eat the eggs if she is not around to crack them open.
    Can I put a large wire dog cage inside the run for her? Would 36"x 24" be big enough?
    I know I changed a lot on them at the same time, but this egg eating has to stop. She gets 2-3 a day! [​IMG]

  2. halo

    halo Got The Blues

    Nov 22, 2007
    My Coop
    I would get her out of there right now. And I wouldnt isolate, Id put her in a pot.
  3. Ms.Frizzle

    Ms.Frizzle Songster

    Apr 15, 2011
    To be honest, because you didn't fix the problem right away, you'll have to break the whole flock of it now. I hear an egg filled with dawn dish soap, chilli peppers, and other nasty tasting things will help cure it. If you can't cure them of it, you'll either have to switch to a roll away nests, or replace your flock.
  4. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    If you really like her, then that is a large enough space for her to live for a couple days/week. See if any one else has picked up the bad habbit.

    I would, like halo, put her in the pot. She is stressing the other layers, she is stressing you AND she is eating more eggs a day than you are. She will make a tasty, tasty pot pie bird, or taco bird and a fantastic chicken stock.
    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  5. KathyK

    KathyK Songster

    Dec 10, 2009
    Liberty Hill, TX
    Okay, I was afraid of that. I wish I had done her 2 weeks ago, when I processed the meaties. Hopefully the others will behave. I wish they would use the darn roll out box. No, I don't really like her that much. I will put her in a cage and see what happens. I DO like many of the others, so they better behave! [​IMG]
  6. I'd get rid of her now. I had a similar issue and thought I cured the hen but she just became an occasional egg eater instead of obsessive. I think once they like eggs there is no curing them. eggs taste so good!
  7. duckinnut

    duckinnut Songster

    Jul 18, 2010
    Marshfield, Ma.
    I've got a Barred Rock that will do that on occasion. It started back when when I was reaching under her and she pecked the egg and broke it, instantly did she start eating the egg. So what I did was clean the nest box out and replace it with fresh hay and pine shavings to get rid of anything left over. If your able check on them as much as possible to keep her from doing it. Caught her again this morning and i dont think she does it on purpose,think she is just rough with her eggs and try to keep alot of hay and shavings in the box(both times same box). This particular box is the busiest,out of ten layers,five use this one box and is constantly down to the bare wood from them nesting. if all else fails Sunday Dinner.

  8. americanamama

    americanamama In the Brooder

    Apr 17, 2011
    I have had hens that were being picked upon by breeding roosters so much that one old hen died of stress. They would of course pull feathers to the extreme. I have three areas in my pen that have there own doors and hutch made for three sizes of chicks as they hatch. The pens were empty so I put my hens that were looking bad in there own area together so no rooster could touch them. They looked and felt so much better as time went by. I would do the same with your hen except for putting a rooster in with her to keep her company. If you let them all eat eggs they will all pick up the habit.
    Good luck!
  9. rufus

    rufus Crowing

    May 17, 2007
    You need to re home her to an oven at about 350 degrees.

    Delawares seem to be a rather unique breed of chicken. They tend to be domineering and snobbish. They are bullys.

  10. KathyK

    KathyK Songster

    Dec 10, 2009
    Liberty Hill, TX

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