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Help - Caught chickens eating own egg

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by GoDawgs, May 4, 2011.

  1. GoDawgs

    GoDawgs Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2011
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    This is the third day we've gotten any eggs from our four new hens. On day 1, we got two eggs - but on the floor of the small coop and not in the nesting boxes. On day 2, we got 2 eggs - each in a nesting box. Then today two more - one on the floor of the coop and one that I caught them eating in the run.

    They have the right amount of space (not tons, but adequate), clean food and water, 2 nesting boxes for four hens, a coop with a perch and plenty of ventilation, healthy feed, etc.

    Why would they do this, and what should I do to prevent this? All four hens were in the run eating one egg. I've found quite a few suggestions online, one being to put a bunch of pepper in an egg and offer it to them. Is this a good idea?
     
  2. GoDawgs

    GoDawgs Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2011
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    I'm so ticked!!! I went outside to tend to the garden, and they were eating ANOTHER egg in the run! [​IMG] It was a big, beautiful blue/green egg. All four were again eating it. I wonder if they are laying in the run??? Or are they bringing the egg from inside the coop and down into the run? I need to stop this!! With just four hens, two eggs is a big loss for us. [​IMG]

    I use sand in the coop and nesting boxes. I added more sand to the boxes, and cleaned all of the chicken poo out of the coop really well (the last time was the day before yesterday, so it's not like it's really gross in there).

    What do I need to do to fix this?
     
  3. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 11, 2011
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    Really the only way to.guarentee. they wont eat the eggs is to build some roll away nestbox. Have you gone through the usuals: are they getting enough protein? Is there a problem with your nestingboxes? Do they have enough space? Could they be bored? With a little more info on your hens we may be able to help you figure out why they are suddenly eating eggs.
     
  4. GoDawgs

    GoDawgs Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2011
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    Quote:They are on a quality organic chicken feed, so I would imagine they are getting enough protein.
    The nesting boxes are inside the coop and pretty dark, with about 2 inches of sand in the bottom of each. There are 2 boxes and 4 birds.
    They have 10 square feet of run space per chicken and a little over 2 square feet each inside the coop.
    I don't think they are bored, but also really don't know how to tell. There is plenty of grass in the run, and they spend a lot of time pecking at the grass and dirt. I have a "chicken treat ball" that I haven't used. Maybe I'll fill it up with lettuce and put it in the run. I also have a foragecake supplement that I can put in there (it is high in protein and could help with boredom). I'll put both of those in the run tonight and see if the egg eating stops.
     
  5. GoDawgs

    GoDawgs Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2011
    Atlanta burbs
    Okay, the chicken treat ball is full of lettuce from the garden and hanging in the run, and the ForageCake is also in the run. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this fixes the problem.
     
  6. halo

    halo Got The Blues

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    My Coop
    I dont know where you got your new hens from, but people do sell their hens that are egg eaters. Its a very difficult habit to break.
     
  7. Wizbop

    Wizbop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are they good eggs they are eating? My hen that we just lost layed jelly eggs and when they busted, they would go after them and eat them. They were yellow, hens are curious. I kinda don't blame them. But I just had a chicken farmer tell me last week that he gets rid of a chicken who eats her own eggs. Wish I knew what to tell you. How often can you check your coop for eggs?
     
  8. GoDawgs

    GoDawgs Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2011
    Atlanta burbs
    Quote:We can check at least three times a day. However, it looks to me like they are eating the egg right after it is laid, because I caught them eating the 2nd egg less than 10 minutes after I caught them eating the first one. After they ate the first one, I checked the coop and run for eggs. So the 2nd egg was brand new.

    I can't be certain that they weren't soft shelled eggs that were being eaten. The only remains of either egg is part of a shell that is in part of the run that is really hard to get to.
     
  9. wenlo

    wenlo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also thought I had egg eaters until I realized they were soft shelled and the girls were just cleaning up the deformity. Are they getting enough calcium? Mine stopped and now we are back to normal.
     
  10. Missoula Chicken Lady

    Missoula Chicken Lady Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 2, 2009
    Do you have a calcium supplement available to them?

    My hens will absentmindedly pick at eggs sometimes; if the shell is thick, they'll usually get distracted and move on to something else before they break it. Seems to be the maniacal cannibalism is often just when the eggs break by accident, which happens a lot more when they're low on calcium and the eggshells are thin.

    I just have a few bowls out all the time with oyster shell. You can offer oyster shell or *pulverized* and rinsed eggshells (if the crushed eggshells are recognizable, then it just reinforces the egg-eating habit) in a bowl, at all times, or mixed in with their feed. Maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup per gallon of feed??

    I liked the suggestions of some treats outside the henhouse, to try and keep them from hanging out too much in the house -- how did that go?
     

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