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Egg eating chickens...I'm about ready to give up!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by grullablue, Nov 1, 2008.

  1. grullablue

    grullablue Songster

    Feb 27, 2008
    Madison, Wisconsin
    We have spent a TON of money on our girls....with the nice, fancy coop, and all the food and stuff they get, and I'm about ready to have to buy store eggs now on top of it. They're egg eaters. If I can stand there half the day and watch them, I can get eggs, but those girls are keeping watch just as intensely as I am, waiting for that egg to be layed.

    I have not tried the golf balls, but want to before I give up. Are my chances pretty good as far as saving my hens? I have 9 white leghorns, I don't want to give them up, but I don't want to have these chickens, and have to buy eggs on top of it!

    They've been doing this for months, but it's been pretty easy getting the eggs for awhile, because they were predictable. They always layed between 9:30 and 11 am. But now that the days are getting shorter, they are laying all day long....anytime, and I can't stand out there all day and wait for the eggs. There are many days I don't get even ONE egg at all...I just miss them, and walk down to hens with "egg on their faces".

    The 9 hens (7 months old) have an 8x12 insulated coop with ventilation and two windows, one on each side. They have roosts and nestboxes, fresh water, free choice Layena pellets, free choice oyster shells, and grit. They also get scraps, fruits and veggies, pasta, etc. When I open the pop door every morning to their fenced in run (with roosts outside too), I throw scratch feed down for them as well, pick grass for them to eat, and throw a slice of hay out there every few days for them to scratch in too. So they get quite a variety.

    If I can't stop this somehow, I'm afraid I may be trying to find someone to take them somehow...(I could never eat them)...but can't imagine who'd want egg eaters! And then trying to get some more layers. I have NO idea what chickens even cost...we got these for free (as chicks). But think it's too premature to look into breeds, etc.... I'm just hoping, begging that they stop. But afraid they will not.........

    Thanks for any feedback.

  2. krcote

    krcote Songster

    May 21, 2008
    Concord, NH
    Are you 100% sure that they are eating them and not just slowing down egg production? I'm only getting an egg every other day now out of my 7 girls, and I know they don't eat them. The shortened days have such a large effect on egg numbers.
  3. Attack Chicken

    Attack Chicken [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Hu

    Sep 25, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    I have two white leghorns pullets that do eat their soft shell if I miss it. Try the golfballs or even fake eggs.
  4. grullablue

    grullablue Songster

    Feb 27, 2008
    Madison, Wisconsin
    They ARE eating them. I catch them in the act, and am seeing broken shells left behind. And....egg yolk all over their white feathers.....

    They're getting so good now that sometimes they'll leave a shell completely intact, except for a small hole. But they're definitely "wearing" the evidence....and I'll walk in and see them just going crazy over an egg.

  5. Attack Chicken

    Attack Chicken [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Hu

    Sep 25, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    One day when my girls were out in the yard and my roo was doing his loud cluck. I went over and found a soft shelled egg that had been ripped apart and they were wearing the evidence all over them. I take them and wash them everytime they do it and it has kinda made them stop one and the other. Dunno if this helps but maybe keep them in separet cages untill they learn not to eat them? And maybe try the fake eggs.
  6. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    Golf balls help keep chickens from becoming egg eaters - it's an inexpensive trick to try, but it might not completely solve your problem. Maybe try putting a whole lot of golf balls in, so the egg is better camouflaged.

    The only real cure I know of for egg eating is constructing a nestbox with a tilted floor and have the eggs roll into an enclosed space that the hens can't get at them. My friend bought the Henspa coop which has this feature; the nestbox is lined with that grassy-looking artificial turf instead of hay or shavings.

    Or a wire cage with a tilted floor (similar to commercial cages) so the eggs roll out as soon as they're laid.

    What a frustrating problem! They sound like pampered and well-cared for girls and they aren't pulling their share! I hope this gets better for you!
  7. donnaIL

    donnaIL Songster

    Jun 3, 2008
    What are you feeding them? Are they bored? Use some fake eggs.

    I have 6 pullets (white rocks) that are 7 months old, and even with the days shortening, I am getting 150+ eggs a month (5 today), and some of them double yolkers. I installed a timer and provide a couple extra hours of light.

    I free feed a mash and a layer mix..also give them leftovers (garden, veggies) and also hay or grass if i don't let them out to free range. Also I have poured plenty of grit (oyster shells). Someone on here said 50lbs would last forever, I think I've used 150lbs...might just be a regional thing. Also maybe they want the shell for the grit.

    Also I would stop the scratch...what i have read is that raises their body tempature and can affect laying. Good Luck! donna

  8. k0xxx

    k0xxx Songster

    Mar 29, 2008
    North Central Arkansas
    Quote:I agree, a tilted and padded floor so that the eggs roll away, keeping the girls from getting to them would be a possible answer.
  9. greathorse

    greathorse Songster

    Oct 1, 2008
    Northern Colorado
    I have a very old book that was written in 1915 and discusses making sure the nests are totally dark. Chickens dont see very well. He indicated dark nests kept hens from eating eggs. Maybe that coupled with golf balls will confuse them enough to discourage them.

    The other think I would do is trap nest for a while. You can google trap nest and there are plans on a number of sites that show how to mkae them. I would be surprised if all of them are eating eggs. I would guess you have one or two and if you trap the nest you will know which ones

    Frankly it would take me about 5 minutes to decide what to do with a egg eating hen. Leghorns arent worth the time to butcher, but they would not take space in my coop.

    Part of the problem with Leghorns they are bred specifically for the big houses where the eggs roll away from them the moment they lay them so any tendency in the blood line would go unnoticed and certainly would not impact the value

    My chickens are well cared for but not pets. Bad behavior and or bad performance requires culling. Without culling for bad traits whether performance or behavior we would have a lot of really bad chickens to take care of. Start over if you have to but dont feed chickens that steal from you

    In my area laying hens if you van find them are about 15-20 dollars each. chicks are a couple bucks each. Find some less hyper stressed out birds
  10. grullablue

    grullablue Songster

    Feb 27, 2008
    Madison, Wisconsin
    If I started fresh with new chickens... I may consider another breed. I had the chicks given to us...so I just took them, and read later that they are a flighty breed. Is that ever true! They have been handled since day one...but they are not friendly, and very high strung. THe smallest noise, or the slighest fast movement, and they absolutely freak out.... only time I can touch them is if I go in the coop at night when they're on the roosts....for some reason, they don't run away then......they don't seem to LOVE it...but they don't jump or fly away. When some of you talk about your friendly chickens...I do wish I had that....

    I have no idea what I'd do with them. I was talking to my husband...wondering if I were to give them to someone who would free range....if they were free ranged birds, might they not do this? I think by now, the majority have learned this egg eating habit. So I would never dare introducing new ones with any of these left...I can't take that chance. I would just like to do what I can to try to "cure" it....I know it's highly unlikely...but I'd like to try.

    The tilted nestboxes seems like an awful lot of work...I'm not sure if we can go THAT far. But I would like to try the golf balls, and I would also try to darken the nestboxes. If I covered them with towels or something, would the hens still go in? Or might you suggest darkening the whole coop? I could cover the windows, leaving only the open pop hole for light.


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