Eggs with broken shells & insides eaten every day for past 2 months

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by lanimilbus, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. lanimilbus

    lanimilbus Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 3, 2008
    Central Maine
    I have 9 chickens in an enclosed coop in my backyard that has an attached henhouse with nesting boxes and roosts in it. Starting approximately 2 months ago every time I go out to collect eggs the nesting boxes will contain one or two eggs in them that are cracked or have a large hole in them with all the yolk/egg white eaten out or spread around the hay in the nest boxes. Sometimes one will be broken/eaten and the other will be intact, but it's rare that I'll have a day in which I don't encounter at least one broken/eaten egg while collecting.

    So what's doing this? None of the chickens themselves have been killed or injured by any type of animal, so whatever is doing it apparently isn't interested in them, just the eggs. Could it be the chickens themselves? I don't understand why they'd suddenly start eating their eggs after laying them, but they've been known to eat egg shell before so it could be. Another thing: the other day when I walked by I saw a chipmunk scurry out of a hole in the ground in the middle of the coop...I wouldn't think a chipmunk would be the culprit, but so far that's the only animal I've seen in there. I live in Maine if that helps narrow the possible culprit range down any. Anyone got any ideas?
     
  2. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    On the MN prairie.
    Is there any way a cat could get into your coop? They will eat eggs.
     
  4. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You know, I think sometimes blue jays and other birds will get in there and scavenge. If it's a weak shell sometimes it'll break in the nesting box and so a hen might be tempted.
     
  5. jeremy

    jeremy CA Royal Blues

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    Mar 23, 2008
    Oakland, CA
    I've found that most of the time with chickens that are eating eggs, they won't just eat the insides. They usually crack the egg open, eat the yolk, whites and then finish off the shell fragments too.

    It sounds like you have an opossum problem. I had the same think happening for weeks on end, my coop was littered with eggshells every day, I separated the chickens, tried collecting as soon as they would lay, etc. The solution? I got a live trap after someone on BYC suggested so, 7 opossums later I started having eggs for breakfast again.
     
  6. Surehatch

    Surehatch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Predators and critters can be very cunning - make sure the coop is supersafe at night
     
  7. chickensioux

    chickensioux Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Could be rats. I have had a chicken do this but they always eat shell and all.
     
  8. DDRanch

    DDRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2008
    California
    I recently had this problem for the first time in my 7 years of having chickens. I believe it was my broody hen who was cracking, poking holes and eating all the eggs that my hens laid. The egg eating behavior started when she went broody and stopped when she gave it up. Lasted a little over 2 months. Wish I had separated her to find out if she was the culprit....but I didn't. I know it sounds crazy....but that's what happened to me.

    Hope the behavior whoever is responsible stops soon. It is discouraging I know.
     

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