Egg eatingT

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by halfwaynowhere, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. halfwaynowhere

    halfwaynowhere Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 23, 2008
    La Puente, CA
    So I haven't had any eggs in two or three days, and today, I noticed why. They are eating them. How do I get this to stop? Should I be supplementing their feed with something in particular? They get layers mash, and some table scraps (veggies and fruit, mostly). Are they just bored?
     
  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    Arrrhhhh... that's a really hard issue to stop. The best way to stop it is to try and never let it get started by collecting the eggs as often as possible. Sometimes that doesn't even work as the hen will lay the egg and immediately turn around and go for it. (I've got one like that right now... unless we are literally there to grab the egg before she can stand up and turn around... she gets it.)

    I had a hen last year that started to eat the eggs so I took an egg, blew out the inside and filled it with the hottest tobasco sauce we had. I put it back in the nest box and the next day I found it broken open. I literally never lost another egg to that hen! That hot stuff stopped her completely. You could try that. In that case we had no idea what hen(s) were doing the eating. Thankfully, it appeared to be only one and she got a mouthful.

    The other thing that I've heard many people do (and we're probably going to do with this new hen) is to make them into stew. This is, of course, only if you know which hen(s) are the culprits. You don't want to cull chickens that aren't guilty.

    If other hens start eating the eggs you may lose all your eggs so you need to nip this in the bud as quickly as possible. You will have to decide what option to take to stop it.
     
  3. happyhen

    happyhen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2008
    Northeastern Ohio
    Try feeding a little extra protein and collecting eggs more frequently.

    I have a marble egg that I still keep in a nest box, just to prevent pecking at eggs. Ouch! [​IMG]

    Good luck.
     
  4. halfwaynowhere

    halfwaynowhere Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 23, 2008
    La Puente, CA
    I'm not home often enough to check constantly... My mom used to check on them first thing in the morning, and then I'd check on them again around noon, and every few hours. But my mom broke her ankle last week, and can't get out to the chicken coop.

    Tabasco sauce? I thought that birds couldn't taste spicy foods- i watched a special on peppers, and hot sauce the other day that said birds were missing those taste buds or something... Maybe not all birds, then?

    I guess monday I'll have to be more persistant about checking on them. I haven't had eggs all week! And I'll pick up some mealworms for them tomorrow, for the extra protein. Hopefully that will help.
     
  5. Mini Coop

    Mini Coop Chillin' With My Peeps

    I feed my chickens all my eggshells and never have this problem. I think it's an instinct for them to eat eggshells, since they eat the eggshell after the chick hatches in much the same way that a cat eats the placenta. That's my theory at least.
     
  6. halfwaynowhere

    halfwaynowhere Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 23, 2008
    La Puente, CA
    Its been over a week, and I haven't been able to salvage a single egg. My mom is about ready to give up on these girls, and start all over again with chicks. I don't think its fair to give up on them, but at the same time, they aren't earning their keep... Am I ever going to able to break them of this? I can't sit with them all day waiting to catch the eggs as soon as they pop out... Will supplementing their diet be enough to get them to stop, or is it just habit now?
     
  7. Chicabee19

    Chicabee19 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    n/a
    Are you offering them free-choice Oyster Shell? They may need calcium.
     
  8. ginasmarans

    ginasmarans Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 15, 2007
    West Tn
    It's a nasty habit that once is started is hard to break. I had one eating eggs and ended up culling her(she's in my freezer). I felt badly at first because I got her and others from my dad and to be honest,he did not feed them very well. After a month with me,they were very well fed,but this hen continued to eat eggs. Once I identified her(a long process in itself),I trimed her top beak back as much as I could without causing it to bleed. I then marked her with blue food coloring(she's one of several white leghorns) and waited. For several days all was well, but probably about a week later,the egg eating began again. You guessed it,her beak had grown out.
     
  9. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    At this point I think you have two options... cull her or try the really hot Tabasco type sauce in a blown out egg. Or, for you, in several blown out eggs!!

    Good luck.
     
  10. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

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    South Puget Sound
    Chickens can't taste the chemical that makes hot sauce hot.
    http://www.straightdope.com/columns...them-to-eat-vast-amounts-and-spread-the-seeds

    It's more likely that the hen was surprised at not finding the normal tasty inside. You might want to blow out a couple of eggs and just put the empty shells in there. That could be just as effective.

    Some people create roll-away nesting boxes to get the egg away from the hens as soon as the egg is laid.
     

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