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Help me understand Egg Eating

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sattv, Jun 22, 2018.

  1. sattv

    sattv In the Brooder

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    Jul 19, 2014
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    15 production red hens 18 weeks old, 3rd day for laying and they have figured out how to all lay an egg on ground and all rush to eat it. NOW what? Thanks, Darren
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
  2. sattv

    sattv In the Brooder

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    Jul 19, 2014
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    So far my wife and I have trimmed their flight feathers and let them out into a fenced 25 x 50 free range area.
     
  3. Cellomama2

    Cellomama2 Songster

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    I've heard of people getting these blinders so they can't find the eggs. https://www.amazon.com/Plastic-Chic...d=1529720390&sr=1-2&keywords=chicken+blinders
    Using roll away nesting boxes is another idea (if you can get them back into the nest box or blowing out an egg and filling it with something they wouldn't like a hot sauce or something. (I don't really know if hot sauce is safe or not) Are they getting enough calcium? Unfortunately I have also heard that once they are egg eaters they don't stop. I wish you the best of luck:fl
     
  4. RWise

    RWise Songster 5 Years

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    I see this with broken/shell-less eggs, they will clean them up.
    IF I suspect a hen is breaking and eating good eggs, I put her in a cage with a good egg. IF she eats it, I eat her, I have not had one hen ever break the good egg, so no hen has been eaten here.
     
    KikiLeigh02 likes this.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

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    It is pretty normal for a chicken to eat a broken egg. I don't consider that egg eating. It's when a chicken has learned to purposely open a good egg that I consider it a problem. In all my years of keeping chickens I've had one egg eater though I've had several that will eat a broken egg. Not all do but a lot will.

    Pullets like yours that are just starting to lay sometimes lay weird eggs. They might be soft-shelled, no shell but just a membrane, double yolked, no yolk, tiny, thick shelled, or weird in other ways.

    Often when pullets start to lay they pick out a nest and lay there. But sometimes it seems the egg catches them by surprise, they don't know it is coming. They drop it wherever they may be, on the roost at night or just walking around during the day. Once they gain control of the egg laying process they should always lay it in the same spot, hopefully your nests but not always.

    The egg laying process is pretty complicated, both in putting together a good egg in their internal egg making factory and the behaviors of egg laying. Sometimes it takes a while for a pullet to work out all the kinks. It's kind of surprising how many get it right from the start.

    It is possible one has already learned to open a good egg to eat it and the others rush in to share the bounty. What sounds more likely to me is that you had one drop a soft-shelled or shell-less egg in the run and it broke. You may have a problem, but I'd give it time to see if it is a pullet laying soft shelled eggs.
     
    KikiLeigh02, sattv and aart like this.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member 5 Years

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    You might want to confine them to coop and run until they learn to lay in coop nests,
    especially if you have no older birds to show them the way.
    Hard solid fake eggs and/or golf balls will entice them to lay in nests, and can help deter egg eating as a fruitless target of curiosity pecking.

    Pullets are curious about these new things coming out of their butts, so they peck at them to see what's what, like anything else they are curious about. If an egg is shell-less or thin shelled and breaks easily to the delicious bounty inside, they will continue to pursue them for a tasty snack. Good to gather eggs frequently at first to remove those tempting easy to break eggs, leaving only the fakes in the nest.
     
    sattv likes this.
  7. sattv

    sattv In the Brooder

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    Jul 19, 2014
    Nebraska
    My setup
     

    Attached Files:

  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member 5 Years

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    That's pretty small coop for 15 birds.
     
    sattv likes this.
  9. sattv

    sattv In the Brooder

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    Jul 19, 2014
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    Yep a little crowded at night
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member 5 Years

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    And during the long winter days...unless you plan on weather proofing that run.
    There's what, 3 nests there?
    Not enough for 15 layers..1 nest per 3-4 birds is best
     

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