Egg Eating

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Waterfaery, May 17, 2016.

  1. Waterfaery

    Waterfaery Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 23, 2014
    Hi,

    I'm having trouble with one of my chickens eating her own egg. The weird thing is that she's only eating her own, not other eggs.

    She's only a pullet and has just started laying. In fact, we thought she wasn't laying even though the others from her clutch started a few weeks ago. We were wondering why she hadn't started yet, but we caught her in the act the other day so she has probably been doing this for a few weeks without us even knowing about it.

    The chickens free range during the day and also have access to plenty of oyster shell grit, as well as layers pellets and food scraps, so she should be getting all of the nutrition she needs. There are only three of them altogether and they have two nest boxes so overcrowding isn't a problem.

    I know about the mustard trick but the problem is she's only eating her own egg immediately, as soon as she has laid it. She leaves the other chickens' eggs in the nest alone and does not go near them. If I was to replace an egg with a mustard filled egg, I don't think she would eat it.

    Has anyone ever heard of a chicken eating her own egg but not others' eggs? Are there any other ways to stop her?

    Any help would be appreciated! Thanks
     
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    It may be that she's not getting enough protein. Layer feed has barely enough protein to support laying, as long as it's the only thing offered. Add in free ranging, scraps, and other treats and it's not uncommon for protein levels to become unbalanced. Switch to a higher protein feed, like a grower, flock raiser, or all flock type feed; or stop free ranging and offering treats.
    Also, new layers are prone to laying soft shelled or shell-less eggs, and it's normal for hens to eat those.
     
  3. Waterfaery

    Waterfaery Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 23, 2014
    Wow, that was a quick response! Thanks for that.

    I'll try changing the feed to something higher in protein. I don't want to stop them free ranging. I hate seeing them cooped up. Also, they seem to be mad about digging for insects so I assume they get protein from them. We will also cut down on treats. Would treats high in protein be helpful? We do give them mealworms sometimes.

    That's interesting about the shell-less and soft shelled eggs because we haven't found any shell evidence anywhere at all. That's why we thought she wasn't even laying. However, the one time we caught her, it was a normal egg she had laid.

    I've read that she won't stop eating the eggs of her own accord, now that she's in the habit, even if we amend her diet. Have you any advice for how to teach her to stop?

    Thanks
     
  4. slukeplass22

    slukeplass22 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 20, 2014
    A Protein Deficiency is the most likely cause of egg-eating.

    - I'd give your chickens more protein by adding earthworms (if possible) and other insects into the diet (Plus earthworms add extra Omega-3 to the eggs). Mealworms and sunflower seeds in limited (small/very small) amounts can also add some protein.

    - Also, how much food scraps are you giving to the hens? I'd temporarily pull them for a week and then only give them scraps once or twice a week for a while (For me its whenever we have scraps, which is once or twice a week).
     
  5. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Apr 17, 2015
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    If you catch it early enough, and it really is because she is deficient in protein, it should be easily rectified. Also, keeping some ceramic eggs in the nest boxes may discourage her pecking at eggs.
     
  6. slukeplass22

    slukeplass22 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 20, 2014
    Look above
     
  7. Waterfaery

    Waterfaery Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 23, 2014
    Thanks very much both of you. I'll try all of those things and let you know how we get on.
     
  8. Waterfaery

    Waterfaery Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 23, 2014
    She has stopped eating her eggs and we're now getting three eggs every day.

    Thanks for the great advice!
     
  9. slukeplass22

    slukeplass22 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 20, 2014
    No problem
     
  10. cutiechook1

    cutiechook1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 25, 2016
    Sittin' at the computer!
    My chickens did the exact same thing! they would lay the egg, turn around, and eat it up!! And I was feeding them lots too! It helps if you put 2 or 3 golf balls in the nesting boxes. I tried it and it had an awesome result!![​IMG] No more eaten eggs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     

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