EGG EATING HENS....what do i do?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by wnthunting, Aug 13, 2011.

  1. wnthunting

    wnthunting In the Brooder

    Jun 10, 2011
    Hello.. we hatched 11 rir hens this spring and they are just starting to lay. Today when i was walking by the fence i noticed one of the hens running with something in its mouth and the others were chasing her...turns out it was the shell from a soft shelled egg... this happned twice today. I know that eating eggs is a bad habit. I am almost positive that the soft shelled eggs were not layed in the nestbox.i do have oystershells for my hens and i did put plastic eggs in the nest boxes so they would knowj were to lay. I dont want to have problems with egg eating hens...what should i do?
  2. the Pollo Loco

    the Pollo Loco Songster

    May 27, 2009
    Santa Cruz,CA
    make your eggs roll out so they won't have access to the eggs after they lay.
  3. allpeepedout

    allpeepedout Songster

    Mar 2, 2011
    Southern Indiana
    When mine started to lay I was in the same state as you. I had a few eggs eaten, cracked, laid on floor, and rubberized. Within a couple of weeks, they sorted it out, and I have no further signs of egg eating, with multiple days of getting eggs from each one, and shells are now super strong. (I have read it is normal for hens to peck the shell to see if it is viable. If it breaks, the answer is no, so it makes good sense to eat it.) Your pullets just need time to get their systems in gear and to learn the routine. I also read it helps to offer an alternative source of calcium for a while, like milk/yogurt, and did that.
  4. ccar2000

    ccar2000 In the Brooder

    May 29, 2011
    Littlerock, CA
    I free feed lay krumble and I toss in a soup can of oyster shell when I fill it up. Feeding oyster shell will provide extra calcium. That may help. Sometimes the girls are deficient.
    Good luck
  5. FuzzyButtsFarm

    FuzzyButtsFarm Rest in Peace 1950-2013

    The same thing happened with my last group of pullets when they started to lay. The soft eggs were like open season. When they laid one in the run they would all go after it. It happened twice while I was giving them their treats. I stopped them from eating it but they just ate the runny egg that was mixed with sand. Since they started laying regular hard shill eggs in the nests I haven't seen any more of this. Although I did find one egg with a hole picked in it but that was all. Hope this helps. Hopefully they will get it straightened out.
  6. ccrow

    ccrow Songster

    May 6, 2010
    Southern Maine
    I don't think mine have ever laid a soft egg in the box... I suppose it doesn't feel like an egg to them. When they do lay one, it's usually done right from the roost.
  7. Peep lePleaser

    Peep lePleaser In the Brooder

    Aug 16, 2011
    First, its crucial to find out WHY they feel the need, or why the eggs are soft. Are you putting down PLENTY of oyster shell?
    Other possibilities:
    Overcrowding hens so that each hen doesnÂ’t get adequate space.
    Not providing the hens with enough nests.
    Nutritional deficiencies of vitamin D and/or calcium

    Try one or all of these:

    Bump up your egg layers amount of calcium supplement (plenty of limestone or oyster shell is crucial!!)

    Fill a dish with milk and let your hens drink it. Do this for several days and you should see a decreased problem with egg eating.

    Remove the offending hen(s). Egg eating usually starts with one or two hens and the habit gets learned by the other hens. Watch them all carefully and once you spot the hen(s) with pieces of eggshell or egg yolk on their beak, remove them from the flock immediately. Once removed, you can try these other measures with the offending hen(s) away from the flock so that it isnt learned by the others while youre curing the offender(s).

    Trick your hens by beating an egg into a creamy liquid, adding 2 tsps. of ground black pepper, and pouring it onto the floor of your chicken coop (best if you pour it in a cracked egg). The hens will peck at it and find the taste disagreeable, thus curing them of the egg eating habit.

    Good luck!!

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