Egg eating during hard moult

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 5Leepy!, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. 5Leepy!

    5Leepy! Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Hi there... this is the first time I've dealt with a hard moult. My hen, Scrappy, has finally stopped her drunken walking (although she reverts to it here and there). She now has started laying again on occasion only to immediately break it and eat the yolk along with some of the shell. I realize this is because she needs the protein but I'm giving her a can of cat food every morning and tons of BOSS throughout the day. I tried putting fake eggs in the nests hoping that would break her of the egg eating but it hasn't. So, I'm wondering if this is a common problem when going through a hard moult and if it will stop when she's fully feathered. And, any other suggestions for stopping the behavior.

    Oh, I took some of the fake eggs out today and laid them on the ground. When she went to peck/eat them I pecked her. She tried again and I said "No". Well, she knows what this word means and she walked away. I gave her a ton of praise for that. She came back a little later and bent down to peck again and when I said no she walked away and didn't come back. I'm hoping I can train her that eating eggs is wrong. "Bad Chicken!" Silly, huh? [​IMG]

    Thanks for your help!

    edited to fix spelling
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2011
  2. Jajika

    Jajika Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 24, 2007
    Northern California
    Hi Sleepy:

    I fixed the egg eating problem with a suggestion I got from this site.

    I took one of the eggs, sawed off one end, carefully, and filled the egg with hot sauce, mustard and other food items the chickens will not like. I them carefully paste the end back on the egg, usually with some melted wax. The egg looks normal from the outside.

    One taste is usually all it takes to stop the behavior. It doesn't harm the chickens as they can smell the ingredients right away. It has never failed me. I haven
    t had a chicken eat eggs in years.

    The problem with fake eggs is that although they can't peck them, there is nothing to discourage the behavior.

    See if it works for you.

  3. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    What you are seeing is a bird who is laying eggs with shells so fragile that they break...and she naturally cleans them up. It happens to many, many birds during molt as the calcium needed to form strong shells is being diverted towards feather growth. Trying to "break" her is not necessary at this point.

    Add oyster shell to the feed, not just offering free choice. Increasing protein is a good move as well but won't stop her from eating an egg that breaks in front of her. ACV in the water will help increase absorption of calcium and also provide added vitamins and minerals that she needs now.

    After that? Just wait it out and her shells will get back to normal after she is fully feathered.
  4. 5Leepy!

    5Leepy! Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2011
    Austin, TX
    I'll try adding the oyster shell to their feed and ACV to the water, we had the shell free choice and no one was EVER interested in it so we stopped putting it out.

    The idea of adding yucky ingredients to a hollow egg is a good one, I may try it if the Oyster Shell and ACV doesn't work.

    Today I actually found her trying to lay. I watched her for a good hour waiting so I could quickly switch out her egg for a fake one but she ended up not laying. She prefers to sit on a fake egg when she lays, she preens and turns the fake egg occasionally as if it's a real one. I'm not sure if it helps her lay because it gets her hormones going but that would seem reasonable.

    Thanks for your help,

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