egg eating problems

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by dragonshiner, Apr 4, 2008.

  1. dragonshiner

    dragonshiner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, so far as I can tell my chickens are eating eggs right out of the nesting boxes. Fortunately for me I started keeping a "Chicken Log" a few weeks ago and noticed what has become a severe drop in egg production. From 10 per day to one or none. Yesterday there were none. My fiancee just shrugged his shoulders and told me that it was "A change in the weather", we're still warming up here, or "Maybe they're taking a break." Do whole flocks of layers take sudden "breaks" from laying eggs when they had until recently been consistent layers?
    I had my doubts and today found, after some digging, three eggs in their favorite nesting box buried underneath the straw and covered in yellow goo, aka smashed eggs. This leads me to a few theories. 1- My flock has developed a taste for eggs and intentionally eating them. 2- The larger hens are just plain clumsy and cracking these suckers open under pressure of sheer body weight(which wouldn't be new, but it would be far more frequent than accidents in the past.) 3- We're not feeding our chickens enough food and they're taking matters into their own wings and eating whatever they can get their feathers on.
    I'm leaning towards option 3. We feed them roughly 64 oz of egg mash/cracked corn daily and upwards of 2 gallons water. The water lasts a day and a half. The food is gone halfway through the day. We're gonna double their food tomorrow and see if that helps any. But I don't know if chickens will stop eating once they're full, or if they will continue eating mindlessly until all the food is gone and keep eating eggs again.

    Sigh, anyone else ever face such a dilemma?
     
  2. raindrop

    raindrop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Theory #1 is also very possible. And Theory #2 can lead to them developing a taste for eggs. Do they have access to free choice laying pellets or crumbles?
     
  3. Gersbud

    Gersbud Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Very hard habit to break. You have to find the one that is doing all the eating and get her to stop. There had to be one that started it and the rest followed. Try purchasing some fake wooden eggs or geting golf balls and placing them in the nest boxes. I had to do this to mine. They also need to have layer available to them all the time with some fre choice oyster shell and grit. The best way is to find the culprit that started it all and seperate and to do fake egg or golf ball thing also
    Good Luck
     
  4. Enchanted Sunrise Farms

    Enchanted Sunrise Farms Overrun With Chickens

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    i adopted some chickens which i found out to be egg eaters. i found new homes for them. They had been kept in too small quarters and were not getting enough food. Had i kept them, i would have continued putting wasabi infused eggs in with them to break the habit.

    i try to have abundant food out for my kids at all times. Feeders full of lay mash, scratch in the am and pm, yogurt in the morning, greens during the day, mealworms as special treats. i think if they have plenty of food and entertainment they will not bother with their own eggs.

    As for crushing them under their body weight, that shouldn't happen. If they get yogurt and you provide crushed oyster shell for calcium, that should make the shells strong. i have to pound the eggs on my fry pan to get them to crack. You may want to switch to a high quality lay mash so they are getting all the nutrients they need. And never let them run out of food. From my personal experience, chickens are not like dogs. They won't over-eat. They like to scratch and peck, but once they are full they go on to other activities like dirt bathes.

    Good luck! Let us know how it goes.

    Colleen
     
  5. warren

    warren Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My two hens always have food and water available. They have to eat enough to lay a 2oz egg most days.
    One of mine did eat a few eggs but I think that this was due to thin shells getting broken too easily.
    I stopped the treats to make sure that they were eating enough of the layers pellets and the egg shell quality improved. Since then no more eggs have been eaten.
    I also made the nest box darker with a fringe of black polythene so that they could not see the eggs so easily.
     
  6. bills

    bills Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The fact that there were three eggs still in the nest, uneaten, makes me think that egg eating is not the problem. Perhaps the yellow goo was a soft egg, or the fact that the three eggs at the bottom of the nest caused one layed over them to get broken accidentally.

    If the birds are all the same age, perhaps they have gone into a molt, at the same time. The weather change may have something to do with it.

    Have you had artificial lighting going in the coop, so they get the required hours of light?

    Sounds frustrating for sure.
     
  7. speedabug

    speedabug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last year my chickens also startad to eat their eggs. One of my hens stepped on an egg and broke it and that started it all. I feed them broken oyster shells and the stopped eating their eggs in about three days.
     
  8. LeeLeesFarm

    LeeLeesFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    _____

    I had one Silkie about 9 yrs ago, who started eating her eggs.

    A friend told me to take an egg, and "blow" the insides out, and put a jalepeno / hot pepper inside.

    I did this, and I soaked the egg in the jalapeno juice to make the egg super spicy.


    This worked for a few days, then she started eating her eggs again....so I repeated the process as needed.

    We soon after moved, and I gave the girl away, so don't know if she was ever "broken" of this habit. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Good luck to you ....

    I'd have Food availble ALL day long as well ....

    Lee

    ______
     
  9. vixchix

    vixchix Out Of The Brooder

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    Blow out an egg and fill it with mustard. They'll tear into that and be so disgusted, they'll never eat another egg!
     
  10. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Chickens do not have the heat receptors for peppers like humans do. I can understand why the jalapenos did not work.

    I have found the only answer to an egg eater is typically the stew pot.
     

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