Hen carrying an egg!?!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Wisher1000, Apr 17, 2011.

  1. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    I went out to the coop this morning and there was a girl already on the nest. I let everyone else out to range and went about my morning coop chores. I didn't pay any attention to the hen until I saw her running from the box with an egg in her mouth! I blinked to make sure I wasn't seeing things and sure enough, she had turned the corner and was running across the yard with it! I wondered how on earth she was doing it, I mean, how could she get her beak open wide enough to carry a large egg? I followed her to see what she was planning on doing with it and soon realized (with horror) that she was eating it! She had skewered the shell with her top beak and clamped on with her bottom and took off with her prize! I ran her down and took it away but half of the contents were already gone. Okay, how do you nip egg eating in the bud? I removed all the eggs from the boxes (except for one box that contains 50 or so guinea eggs.) I don't want to disturb them because the guineas will start laying in the woods. I left the hard wooden ones in there. Is there any chance that I can stop this behavior before it spreads to the other hens? Should I quarantine that hen for a while? Is it a vitamin deficency of some sort? HEEElllllp!
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2011
  2. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 11, 2011
    You could blow out the eggs and fill them with mustard. I've heard this helps deter egg eating. Is it possible she cracked the egg while trying to lay her egg? If so, it may not be a developing habit, but just your hen seizing the opportunity.....just a little "food for thought".
  3. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    I sure hope not, and yes there were two other eggs and a wooden "pattern" in the nest and they could have caused a break. I have read about egg eaters but never had one. I am going to wait and watch and try not to worry too much.
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    If it were me, I would put that hen by herself. Egg eating will spread like wildfire through a flock, I have read here on BYC.

    You may or may not be able to change HER behavior, but protect your investment (the rest of the flock)!!! Then see what you want to do about her.

    I am appalled because that was NOT a soft-shelled egg she had there. (You can easily understand them if it is soft-shelled IMO.)
  5. K8tieCat

    K8tieCat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 15, 2007
    Northern California
    The same thing happened to me. After a savory swim in the crock pot, she never did that again.
  6. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    Before you go drastic, chickens sometimes lay weak shelled eggs and they just don't stand up to usual wear and tear of other hens shuffling for space to lay, and get broken. Those are immediately eaten. I have had pens That I thought were eaters, but it was a hen laying softer shelled eggs. She finally got her act together and laid normal eggs and they were not eaten. If they are eating perfectly good, strong shelled eggs, you can put a curtain on the nestbox to keep it dark in there, you can put a rollaway nest box, and you can, timer permiting, take out eggs as soon as possible after they are laid. You can supplement their diet with crushed oystershell to up the calcium, hopefully help them with shell making. You can also up their protein for a bit. Sometimes I will cut the laying pellets fifty fifty with meat bird grower ration. I feed them in two different feeders so I can find out what they are eating most of. If for some reason you let your birds' feed run out for a day, they will help themselves to a raw omelette if they are hungry. Keep those feeders full of quality feed. Anyhow, that's all I can think of that might pertain to helping fix the problem other than killing one of your hens. It wouldn't hurt to remove the offending hen you wittnessed with the egg right off the bat to keep her from teaching your flock bad tricks. If you try some of the above, and still have problems, you may have to cull your whole flock and start over. Sorry you are having problems. So frustrating! Good luck!
  7. lvchicken

    lvchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 1, 2011

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