Egg Eating or Not Laying: A Mystery

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by rileyelliott, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. rileyelliott

    rileyelliott Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 21, 2013
    Hi Everyone!

    I'd love some feedback and advice about a little puzzle with my chickens.

    Background: I have three almost 2 year-old Black Copper Marans in the Fingerlakes area of Upstate New York. They have a small comfy coop with a roost, lighting on a 14-hour timer, and a nesting box and and an enclosed/predator proof-run. There's an automatic door on the coop, hooked up to a timer that lets them in and out twice a day.

    So here's the situation: About three weeks ago, I left for a week and my neighbors were supposed to check in on them. . . but they totally forgot. Weather was briefly in the 30s but dipped into the single digits for most of the week. I'd left out a lot (3-4 days) of feed for them and filled their giant heated dog bowl with water before I left, but suffice it to say when I got back 95% of the food and water were gone. While all three birds appear to be totally fine, there were no eggs to be found in their coop, and I (sadly) discovered the remnants of egg shells/yolks in their bedding.

    Before I left they'd been laying fairly reliably about 2-3 eggs a day. Now that I've returned, and of course resumed feeding and watering them regularly, I have only had 2 eggs: 1 in the nest box, and one laid outside the door of the coop, over the course of 10 days. Over the three day weekend, I checked their coop and faces every 2 hours, and found no evidence of egg eating, but after reading online, am convinced I might simply be missing it. I should also mention that it has been between 10 to -10 degrees here for the last 2 weeks. . . though it was my understanding that cold shouldn't impact laying too much. Because of the extreme cold, I put some straw down over their woodshavings in their coop.

    So that's the situation. Have they stopped laying because of the cold? Because of the trauma of being left for 7 days without food/care? Because I changed their bedding? Or are they laying, but managing to eat their eggs without me catching them?

    Any help would be so appreciated!!
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    One way you can "test" if they are eating their own eggs, is to take an egg out and put it in the nest box. If its still there later in the day, you're okay. If its gone…….you have a problem.

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