Hen eating her eggs

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by stevejosse, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. stevejosse

    stevejosse New Egg

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    Jun 19, 2008
    One of our Rhode Island Reds is eating her eggs. This is distressing our other girls and they are trying to now hide their eggs from her and laying in strange places. We thought we had rats but this does not seem to be the case. We keep finding broken open eggs. Is this a dietary deficiency? These are free range hens who eat our vegetable scraps in addition to the bugs, etc. One hen is hopping over the fence to our neighbor's goat house to lay her eggs.
     
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Sometimes it is a habit. Not one easily broken either. Sometimes never broken. Which often means culling her if you have no options of rehoming and really want those eggs.

    Sometimes it can be a sign of a protein deficiency. Try giving her meat scraps, dry kat kibble, even cooked eggs or game bird food to up her protein and see if it stops over the next couple of weeks.

    Police the area and collect your eggs frequently.

    Good luck stopping this.
     
  3. bigzio

    bigzio Overrun With Chickens

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    It is also a good idea to darken the nests by hanging material over the entrance with a slit for the girls to enter and exit. Chickens that are egg suckers, can't eat eggs they can't see.

    bigzio
     
  4. mosart

    mosart New Egg

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    Dec 5, 2007
    Hi, we just acquired four fully grown Rhode Island Reds and are having a similar problem. Unfortunately, the person we got them from had been giving them eggshells as a treat and when I didn't get to one of the newly laid eggs fast enough, I witnessed the poor thing, i.e. the just laid egg, be devoured by at least one, maybe two of the birds. They are being housed in a sort of makeshift cage separate from the hen house because we have 20 some other birds that are healthy and other than some unwanted brooding are getting along nicely. I was hoping to keep them separate for about a month and then introduce them, maybe one at a time to the house but with this egg-eating, I'm not so sure I want to introduce them at all...they had been free range at their former residence and the makeshift cage is about 3' wide x 6' long by 4' high with a roost the 6' length and a tarp over and around much of it, partly to keep them sheltered and partly to keep the nearby yellow lab from going berserk all day. They have their own waterer and so far I've been giving them what I thought was a healthy helping of scratch and some handfuls of fully grown grass. I'm gonna put some Dumor's layer pellets in tomorrow and of course am going to try to collect any eggs frequently but
    any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!
     
  5. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Scratch is candy. It has very little protein and doesn't do much to satisfy their nutritional needs for egg laying. In this case if you have seen them eating eggs it is because they need the protein and they know it. Stop giving them the scratch except as an occassional treat. Make sure they have all a full feeder of good quality ration at all times. Protein deficiency also will show up as feather picking and eating. Pay close attn to your chickens and stop this problem now before it gets out of hand.

    We always hear the tired excuse "Grandma's chickens ate corn scratch and were just fine." Well, grandmas chickens most likely had the run of a large area and also had lots of green grass and other weeds to eat and lots of bugs and worms too. They didn't depend on feed rations as the main staple.

    The corn scratch is better given as a very small treat - like shaking it in a can to get them used to coming to you. As well as being saved for winter due to the high carbs and the amount of body effort to digest it. It creates heat and keeps them warm on a cold winter night.

    Small closed spaces, poor nutrition - those are your egg eating inducers right now.
     
  6. americana-chick

    americana-chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    how i stopped my rhode island red hen from eating the eggs, is i gave them oyster shells wich made the egg shell harder and would make the hen have a hard time cracking it. it all started when we axedently "sorry i am not good at spelling" broke an egg and all the hens came up to eat it, and thats how we figured out it was the hens not rats just hens.
     
  7. mainely-chick

    mainely-chick Out Of The Brooder

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    I had the same issue
    I keep the nests real full of shavings
    it seems to prevent them from nibbling?
    Maybe a sight thing?
     
  8. mosart

    mosart New Egg

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    Dec 5, 2007
    Thanks for all the suggestions. We've only had them since Tuesday and ran out of pellets the same day. I didn't think having scratch for only two days until I could get more would be that big of a deal but maybe it is/was. My husband said the egg he gathered this morning was just sitting on the ground and the two I picked up on Tuesday were not being bothered either so maybe their diet is that temperamental. I'll add a bowl of oyster shell and some shavings just in case. [​IMG]
     
  9. lindalu

    lindalu Out Of The Brooder

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    :My husband and I bought 6 golden comets from a man who just bought them from some one else a day before that. The first week they barely laid, we have no idea how old they are either.
    They also started eating their eggs right away and we felt like we had been ripped off.
    We bought oyster shell and put in their feed and i put plastic colored easter eggs and put in their nests.
    We now average 3 eggs per day.
    So we enjoy them even though they don't all lay every day. We have separated them at different times to see who was not laying, but they all do....ocassionally.

    But most importantly no more egg eating!
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2008
  10. mosart

    mosart New Egg

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    It was interesting to read your post because looking at these reds, we thought we were given 4 roosters and wondered what the heck ourselves. Next day we had two eggs so obviously, we need to educate ourselves on identifying marks of rhode island reds. We bought 10 straight run rhode island red chicks at the beginning of April and think we have a better idea which are roosters and which are hens but I'm guessing the hens won't start laying until around the end of September and until we see the eggs, all bets are off... [​IMG] As for the egg eating, we've been getting 3 eggs most days and even 4 some days. I make sure they have lots of water, a healthy scoop of pellets at least once/day, greens a couple times/day and plenty of nesting material and they seem much happier. Now if I could get my brooders in the main house back to laying, I'd have all my current problems solved... lol it's late and i'll have to research that one another timer.
     

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