grumpy/picky layer

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Americano Blue, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. Americano Blue

    Americano Blue Mush on!

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    i have a hen who is either 1st or 2nd in the pecking order. So the problem is when she is on the nesting box she is destroy any egg in it that isn't hers. worse, is after she is done laying she will eat the egg(s) she destroyed. she doesn't do anything with her eggs, just the ones she didn't lay.
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    So I take it you've watched her break all the eggs, then lay, then eat them? In that order?

    Because if so, that's mighty strange. If you've not seen it happen I'd assume the only reason she doesn't eat her own eggs is because she's already had her fill of others first.

    I'd use human fingernail clippers and trim off the see-through tip of her upper beak. If you don't cut into the opaque part it won't hurt her since the translucent part has no nerves in it, it's just the same as the excess fingernail you cut off your own fingers. It won't stop her preening, drinking, eating, etc, but when she tries to bludgeon her way into an egg, it'll be too much force to apply to a beak no longer in possession of the sharp edge which makes egg breaking possible. Like when you cut a fingernail too short to pinch something without a dull pain, sort of. It takes a significant amount of force to bust into an eggshell, removing the sharp point makes it too hard for them.

    I'd do it asap, the only time I had egg eating problems in years of poultry keeping, despite feeding them raw eggshells etc, is when I brought in an egg eater. Quickly the others learned from watching and I soon had to train a bunch of them out of it. Clipping the excess edge off the beak and replacing the nest eggs with fake plaster of paris ones did the job.

    Best wishes.
     
  3. Americano Blue

    Americano Blue Mush on!

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    yep. she crushes the eggs, lays in the gross egg(s) gunk, then after she lays she eats the egg she crushed. well crush isn't the right word. she rolls the eggs to the side, sits down, pecks it until there is a crack, then rolls it back under and crushes it with her weight, lays, gets up and eats the broken egg.
     
  4. Americano Blue

    Americano Blue Mush on!

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    i will try that
     
  5. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    No way, lol... What a kook! I've never heard of anything like that.

    That's a very weird behavior and if you're not attached to her I'd personally eat her for that, it's bizarre and in my experience too many behaviors are heritable so if you don't like it, best not to breed it. Still, if you're not planning to breed her retraining her should be doable, and it's odd enough that even if you do breed her it's quite possible it won't pass on.

    ETA: egg eating hens can present threats anytime they can access hatching eggs, something to be mindful of if she goes broody and you decide to let her brood, or if another hen goes broody and she can access the eggs. Also could be hard to train a hen out of egg eating when she's using her bodyweight to crush eggs, that trait could be easily modified to continue to work even once you've stopped her cracking them with her beak. Something to watch I guess.

    Best wishes.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014
  6. Americano Blue

    Americano Blue Mush on!

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    so it's not just me who found this weird. I don't plan to breed her and i keep broody birds away from the rest. I don't really want to eat her because she only 1 and still has some good egg laying years left.
     
  7. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    All good, it's your choice. Sounds like she's a quick learner though, to discover a trick like that, what's the odds? I have seen them learn something rapidly if food rewarded it, i.e. egg yolk is one food reward they will quickly learn to obtain.

    Best wishes.
     
  8. Americano Blue

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    i should train her to do tricks for food lol
     
  9. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    you probably can, lol... I've trained my chooks to do various things, also trained sheep etc, the animals most people believe are 'stupid' are generally not stupid at all, just have different mentalities and if you can communicate in a way they understand they're generally pretty trainable.
     
  10. Americano Blue

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    I will try to teach her chicken agility lol
     

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