Help for a newbie

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Betsyann, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. Betsyann

    Betsyann Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 12, 2012
    We have 12 rhode island reds. Our neighbor has the same amount from the same group. Same conditions all around but we have some major problems with ours.
    1. We must have a feather eater as 1/2 of the girls look like refuges.
    2. We also have at least one egg eater. We were getting on average 10 a day and then 2 months ago we started getting less and less and now we are down to not even one a day sometimes. We have caught different birds in there some waiting for a girl to get up and actually starting to eat the egg before she even gets off the nest. We are at our wits end. How do we figure out and fix this mess, short of getting rid of all the birds.
  2. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2012
    Southwest Virginia
    My Coop
    Hm, feather picking and egg eating at the same time sounds like a protein deficiency. Make sure they are getting plenty of protein (I always recommend at least 18% for layers, but I prefer 20% for young layers) and calcium (either in the feed or in the form of free choice oyster shells).

    Then, make sure there are enough nest boxes (1 box for every 4 birds).

    Enough space (4 sq ft interior and 10 sq ft exterior) is important as well.

    The feather picking may be made worse by a molt, if they are old enough to do so.

    You can sometimes catch an egg eater by searching for the hen who has yolk on her beak right after they lay their eggs for the morning. I have used the golf ball method to deter egg eating and it has worked. The trick is to gather eggs often and make sure there is always a golf ball in each nest so that, when they try to peck at the "egg"/golf ball, they get nothing out of it. This doesn't always work, but there are plenty of other tricks for stopping egg eating. First, find the culprit with the yolk method. Then you can move forward.

    Chickens tend to slow laying in the winter anyway, and it's quite normal for a flock to stop altogether unless you provide at least 14 hours of daylight in the form of a supplemental light, either extra light in the mornings or the evenings. So you may be getting fewer eggs in addition to a bird that is eating them.
  3. AK Baha

    AK Baha Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2013
    Anchorage, Alaska.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by