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4 out of 7 of our pullets have started laying. 3 of the 4 have learned to use the nesting boxes, no problem. They each lay brown eggs, which are always left in the nesting boxes, untouched. The 4th pullet, our EE "Darla," seems confused about laying in the boxes and leaves her white eggs in the run (I assume). The other pullets tend to find it before we do--and, by the time I get out there, one of them has the egg shell in its mouth (contents already eaten).

First of all, do you think this is an issue limited to the egg being laid out of the boxes in front of the others, probably in the run? And maybe, because it's white, it stands out?

Secondly, is this going to become an issue for our entire flock? I'm worried they've developed a taste for the eggs and might start realizing the allure of "what's in the box"... then no egg will be safe :(

Does anyone have tips on how to curb this habit? I've read it can be extremely hard to deal with so I'm pretty anxious at this point. Any insight is much appreciated!
 
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What exactly do you feed your flock and what size is your coop?
We have 7 hens. The run is 16' x 8' and the coop is 7' x 4' (with 2 12" x 16" nesting boxes attached). Again, all the ones left in the nesting boxes remain untouched (even when others go back there out of curiosity) but when a hen lays one in the run they all turn into egg-eating demons.
 

Kiki

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New layers may eat eggs that are laid with thin shells or that get cracked.
They just started laying right?
Things should straighten out soon.
Just make sure you are feeding a layer type feed and no treats so they get a complete balanced diet.
 
May 29, 2019
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New layers may eat eggs that are laid with thin shells or that get cracked.
They just started laying right?
Things should straighten out soon.
Just make sure you are feeding a layer type feed and no treats so they get a complete balanced diet.
Okay, thanks for the encouragement. The first one laid in the run we watched unfold but were seconds too late--it had no shell (just membrane) and the "audience" immediately went for it. I didn't see the second one, only found it's white shell in my other EE's mouth (which seemed strong though I can't be sure about any cracks). I hope this doesn't extend to the boxes--they are laying such beautiful eggs in there!
 

Quackter

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May 15, 2019
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4 out of 7 of our pullets have started laying. 3 of the 4 have learned to use the nesting boxes, no problem. They each lay brown eggs, which are always left in the nesting boxes, untouched. The 4th pullet, our EE "Darla," seems confused about laying in the boxes and leaves her white eggs in the run (I assume). The other pullets tend to find it before we do--and, by the time I get out there, one of them has the egg shell in its mouth (contents already eaten).

First of all, do you think this is an issue limited to the egg being laid out of the boxes in front of the others, probably in the run? And maybe, because it's white, it stands out?

Secondly, is this going to become an issue for our entire flock? I'm worried they've developed a taste for the eggs and might start realizing the allure of "what's in the box"... then no egg will be safe :(

Does anyone have tips on how to curb this habit? I've read it can be extremely hard to deal with so I'm pretty anxious at this point. Any insight is much appreciated!
From my experience, the whole flock will eat them, and fight over them once they're broke, but there is a chief breaker. In my worse case, it was a rooster, but most times it's a hen, according to others.

I don't have any magic bullet on this, You could try putting a box on the ground where the wayward layer likes. The other one may not mess with it in a nest..maybe. You could also pen Darla up in a nesting box for a few days, feed cup and all. Drawback, it'll be kinda like introducing her when you let her out, and it might stress her and slow laying for a bit. But she'll might lay in the box after?

I was just going to start butchering any chicken caught busting, but mine stopped, why I dunno. Diet, space, etc, stayed the same.
 
May 29, 2019
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From my experience, the whole flock will eat them, and fight over them once they're broke, but there is a chief breaker. In my worse case, it was a rooster, but most times it's a hen, according to others.

I don't have any magic bullet on this, You could try putting a box on the ground where the wayward layer likes. The other one may not mess with it in a nest..maybe. You could also pen Darla up in a nesting box for a few days, feed cup and all. Drawback, it'll be kinda like introducing her when you let her out, and it might stress her and slow laying for a bit. But she'll might lay in the box after?

I was just going to start butchering any chicken caught busting, but mine stopped, why I dunno. Diet, space, etc, stayed the same.

Thanks for the helpful tips--if it continues we might try boxing her up, if even for 24 hours. Or, maybe, create one as an extension to the run hoping they won't go for it in there. She's SO sweet but not the brightest bulb in the coop. It's funny how much she relies on social cues to do what she needs to be doing (ex. when we've had to quarantine her before, she did not realize how to eat or drink for herself until we brought another in with her who ate and drank--she then did so voraciously).

My hope is that the habit will magically break like it did in your case. I have an idea about who the repeat offender is, but could never bear to butcher her in our case (too attached). I've also read about emptying an egg and filling it with mustard--supposedly chickens despise the taste of mustard and it will haunt their memories indefinitely. Funny creatures.
 

Quackter

Songster
May 15, 2019
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Thanks for the helpful tips--if it continues we might try boxing her up, if even for 24 hours. Or, maybe, create one as an extension to the run hoping they won't go for it in there. She's SO sweet but not the brightest bulb in the coop. It's funny how much she relies on social cues to do what she needs to be doing (ex. when we've had to quarantine her before, she did not realize how to eat or drink for herself until we brought another in with her who ate and drank--she then did so voraciously).

My hope is that the habit will magically break like it did in your case. I have an idea about who the repeat offender is, but could never bear to butcher her in our case (too attached). I've also read about emptying an egg and filling it with mustard--supposedly chickens despise the taste of mustard and it will haunt their memories indefinitely. Funny creatures.

She sounds personality wise like a turkey lol, You're right, if you watch em there are the pioneers and the settlers, like people I guess.

I like that mustard idea, It sounds like it could work. Says me who has a little cayenne laced beef jerky setting on the edge of my end table, where my little mutts know they aren't supposed to get food from. They don't, until I leave the room. :)
 

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