Over the past couple of weeks we noticed an extreme drop in the number of eggs as well as found pecked eggs. When we watched closer, we have discovered egg eaters! Out of my 23 chickens I've already isolated four and today discovered at least one more, one that is actually a new pullet I just purchased a few months ago an hasn't even begun to lay! It started with one hen and it spread through my flock really quickly. I even have five babies that are just a few months old recently introduced to the flock and I'm worried all may have been ruined by witnessing this behavior and learning to peck open the eggs to eat. I want to cry....my beautiful new EEs, my Buff Orpingtons and even my new babies.......I am having a hard time figuring out how to tell who is doing this. I know egg production should be less this time of year but I am getting NO eggs unless we are actually out there when one lays or just gets up. We do see them going into the nest boxes, but others are going in there trying to find the eggs! We observed one RIR hen we call our little red hen, who protects her egg and two of my hens raised the chicks and sat on eggs quite nicely for several weeks so I think they are okay, and I'd like to try and save the babies. But how can I make sure we cull the right chickens? I'm afraid if I just put the "bad" ones all together with the suspects, more and more will learn this. I have just two coops. Right now I have four confirmed egg eaters in the "bad" coop waiting to go to freezer camp. But they were our favorites so we are having a hard time thinking of them as dinner, but we watched them run right over if they see an egg and will start to peck at it within a few minutes. But others are doing it too and I don't know how to tell whom. We have a roo too, that could be one of the culprits, and he is a great roo. I'm extremely discouraged and any encouragement or advice that can be offered for our situation would be appreciated. My hubby is thinking perhaps we should have made a nest box system where the eggs roll away for safekeeping would have been better, we just have the old fashioned boxes with a curtain. But at this point I'm worried my whole flock is ruined and can't even collect many eggs to incubate more from them!