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getting real tired of this chicken eating her egg...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by melishkia, Jul 27, 2016.

  1. melishkia

    melishkia Out Of The Brooder

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    My Barred Rock is seriously hungry 24/7, I used to love her cause she was always the first to try new foods that I would introduce but then she found the glory of eating her own eggs... I thought maybe it was a diet problem- we free-range but leave pellets out with easy access, I started scattering dried meal worms in the morning, just gave them some plain yogurt and cooked oatmeal. I took out the shavings from the laying spot to help the egg roll around in case she pecked at it. She actually stopped laying for about a month now because of the heat and I was really hoping that would be long enough for her to forget about the bad habit, the other chickens had started laying in a new spot that she has yet to find (she will eat their eggs if given the chance), and I make sure to go out as soon as possible and get her egg but she literally pecks at it the second that thing comes out. I really don't know what else to do, I still do like her a lot she is the last of my 3 beautiful Barred Rocks, they are my favorite hen after all until this one came around. I only have 4 laying hens right now and this one is now becoming a problem, we are already barely getting enough eggs day to day. I definitely don't have any eggs to spare. I have 3 chicks that are close to laying and I hate having to worry about her getting eggs. Does anyone have suggestions or is getting rid of her the best option at this point? I can't slaughter her, it would break my heart.
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    The main causes of egg eating are deficiencies, boredom and that it's become a habit.

    What type of pellets are you feeding. If they are layer pellets she could be deficient. Switch to a feed with 18-20% protein to offset the extras and to keep her daily total protein intake at 16% or more. It could take a bit for her to get enough protein. Low production and poor molting, as well as looking rough can be external signs of protein deficiency.

    Keep a separate bowl of oyster shells available always free choice to help keep calcium deficiencies at bay. Bleaching of legs and face can be signs she's running out of calcium as they will pull it out of their bones.

    You could try keeping ceramic eggs in the nest with the hopes she pecks those and not the eggs and quite because she can't break them.

    There are also roll away nests you can invest in for the hard core egg eaters as she won't be able to get to the eggs.

    Chickens are at our mercy sometimes as far as their diets and they can't tell us when they crave something. Eggs are a perfect package of nutrition and can be the only thing available for a hen to eat to fix her deficiencies. The next step sometimes is cannibalism.
     
  3. melishkia

    melishkia Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for your reply!
    I'm feeding Natures Best Organic Feeds layer pellets and I scatter the starter/grower for the chicks that are running around with them. She often goes for the chick food. Is oatmeal a good way to increase protein? I thought I had read it was. The only thing I don't have out is oyster shell which could be the problem? All my other chickens seem to be just fine and their shells are really hard to break, not sure if that means anything. I have noticed the yolks aren't as dark as they are in the winter (we have a lot more bugs in the winter time because its wetter) and I feel like thats a lack of protein. She is a pretty healthy looking chicken though, she has the most plumage and her comb and face is nice and red. She didn't used to eat her eggs until we didn't really have a good place for them to lay so they were laying and sleeping in the same place. Since then we have added places to lay but she had broken eggs and started eating them during that time. Since then the habit hasn't been broken. I was thinking about giving her to my mother in law who has 100 acres and chickens all over the place. I was thinking a change of habitat may help because she is the most curious, I really feel like it may be boredom causing this behavior.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Oats can vary but are lower in protein than the 16% layer feed...better to give her some meat scraps or meal worms.
    What's the protein percentage of the starter feed?
    Tho if you have a great place to 'drop her off' that might be the easiest fastest solution.


    I like to feed a flock raiser/grower/finisher 20% protein crumble to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat. I do grind up the crumbles (in the blender) for the chicks for the first week or so.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Animal protein (mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided during molting and if I see any feather eating
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I have a hen who does this a well. Her shell is paper thin now, due to her shell gland (among other serious injuries) being injured by a dog last year. Before the injury, her eggs were very strong and she never ate one. She stopped laying for almost 5 months due to her injury, and she eat very well and has access to plenty of calcium. The other hens would wait for her to lay every morning to break her soft shell egg, and now she beats them to it. I am just like you--I hate to cull her, but she makes a rotten mess in a different nest box every day. Good luck with your hen.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2016
  6. melishkia

    melishkia Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes she leaves a mess in the boxes too, we now have ants crawling all over the coop. Well I'm sad to say I did end up taking the easy way out and gave her to my mother-in-law. She has been egg-eating for a year now and I shouldn't have waited till the last minute to ask for help but I did. I worried about her all night but after watching my happy flock chasing bugs this morning I decided it was for the best. I'm just glad to know she is running through green acres with other chickens and being watched by a handsome great pyrenees! She will be much happier there I hope.

    Eggcessive, I hope you can find a solution for your hen, that sounds awful and very unfortunate for that chickie being attacked I don't know how I would handle that... well.... i'd probably send her to live with the mother-in-law too! lol
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Good Call...lesson learned....glad you had a simple solution.
    Wonder if she'll continues her evil habits and if your MIL will mind having that problem?
     
  8. melishkia

    melishkia Out Of The Brooder

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    hmm yeah I would definitely be interested in knowing, I told her about it before she took the hen so she knows to keep an eye out for broken eggs. She has 40 hen's though so even if mine starts eating her other chickens eggs, maybe she will gorge herself and stop lol!
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Hopefully MIL checks nests and find any mess left.... nest bedding soaked with egg contents rotting in the heat does not smell good.
     
  10. melishkia

    melishkia Out Of The Brooder

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    UPDATE:

    MIL says my barred rock is doing very well out there, she has yet to find any broken eggs. Ms Chancy has been keeping herself busy with foraging but does keep to herself mostly (i figured it will take her some time to find a group of hens she likes out there). So at this point, this was the right choice for her! I'm excited to know she is living happily in green acres with countless bugs to eat. Our yard is scarce compared to the ranch. MIL makes sure to pick her up and love on her each night to help her feel more comfortable, not sure if that really helps or is stressing her out though.... I miss my hen but glad she's happy and I didn't have to take "other measures" if you know what I mean.
     
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