Hens cracking their own eggs

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ChickenPooDo, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. ChickenPooDo

    ChickenPooDo Out Of The Brooder

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    My chickens are pecking their own eggs and cracking them. They aren't eating them, just cracking them. I've heard you can put mustard or dishsoap inside, but they aren't eating the inside, so how do I stop this??? So frustrating, half my eggs are no good. It's hard to determine who did it unless you are in the coop with them. I think it's one of my Rhode Island Reds, but I have 5 lol so no idea who did it. I have 5 Rhode Island Reds & 2 Barred Rock that should be actively laying but only getting about 5 eggs a day with at least 2 or 3 of them cracked. I have 3 white Cochin's that should be laying any day now (btw they are my favorite....sooooo soft and fluffy) 1 Australorp & 1 Brown Leghorn and a handsome Ameraucana Rooster
     
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

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    Have you seen them pecking them to crack them open or is it possible they're stepping on them as the get into the nests and cracking them that way?
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Cracked eggs are usually from not enough bedding or not collecting eggs often enough. Hens stand up to push out the egg so they drop a few inches and can crack. That's my thoughts anyways.
     
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Have they just started laying? New layers can be curious about what just fell out of them. Do you have ceramic eggs in the nest boxes? That may help discourage any pecking out of curiosity. They can peck and explore those eggs all they want and not do any harm. Once their curiosity is satisfied, they stop pecking. And promptly collect eggs, at least for the next few days.
     
  5. apajudgeca1962

    apajudgeca1962 Just Hatched

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    Go to Home Depot. Buy 2 plastic totes about $6 each cut a medium size hole in one side of each. Add some straw. Put the lid on and turn upside down. You could also make holes and zip tie lid on first. Did this last year to a pen of 35 cage free layers in coop. Went from 5 eggs a day from cracking /eating to 30 a day. As soon as they laid they got off and left. They don't see eggs. Out of site out of mind
     
  6. ChickenPooDo

    ChickenPooDo Out Of The Brooder

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    Can't say I've specifically seen them pecking the eggs guess I was just assuming. They are usually cracked at the pointy end so maybe they are cracking when they drop. Some of them have a hole the size of a beak though. I will add more bedding, cause they've been scratching it all out of the way until the wood shows. They like their coop and go in there quite often to look around and sometimes I'll see two chickens in the same box, could be like the other post says, needs to be darker. They've only been laying eggs for about a month so they are new layers. I have some younger ones that should start laying in Aug. Three of the younger ones my white Cochins are sleeping in one of the nesting boxes I'm having a hard time getting them to roost with the rest of them. I have 12 hens and 4 nesting boxes but they will only lay in top 2 boxes
     
  7. Shezadandy

    Shezadandy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do they look like this?
    [​IMG][​IMG]


    These two are the ones I photographed out of my week of cracked eggs, sometimes half of all the eggs had the problem. The first one shows more of the shell damage. The second one you can see the almost perfect circle on the pointy end with the fractures coming off of it though it doesn't appear broken. We did eat them ourselves (didn't sell obviously) because the membrane was still intact.


    It went on for a week before I figured it out-- the little rascals kept taking the fluffy straw and kicking it all out to the sides, dragging it into the coop etc. The eggs were getting cracked from landing on the wood and/or from the next hen stepping on an uncushioned egg in the course of getting ready to lay hers. Fortunately the inner membranes didn't get punctured, so none of my pullets found out that their eggs are a yummy treat.

    Finally found straw that was much harder for them to dismantle by kicking- I wish I knew what kind it is because it's so much more cost effective than commercial solutions- but it's not the slick hollow stuff you usually think of, it's matted and scratchier (which doesn't bother the chickens).

    I put a thick pad down on the bottom of each nesting box and layered up the sides too, and once they squished it down, I put another good layer on top of that... and haven't had a problem since.

    A quick Amazon search for nest box liner or nest pad or chicken nesting pads will provide a better visual. I haven't used any of those products but they represent the texture idea. The stuff that's interwoven and hard for them to kick apart will serve the best as the bottom pad then put your normal stuff in so they can build the nest on top.

    Here's a picture of the straw but I don't think it's all that helpful.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2016
  8. apajudgeca1962

    apajudgeca1962 Just Hatched

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    Go get the totes
     
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    New layers will peck eggs out of curiosity. It's usually pretty easy to determine if the crack is caused by a curious beak, or a drop into a nest without enough bedding. Try lining nest boxes with cardboard. BTW, eggs exit round end first.
     
  10. Shezadandy

    Shezadandy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My cracked egg issue didn't start until a good 2 months into laying. Their temporary setup while I was building the big coop had a plastic high-sided cat litter box filled with straw- never had a single egg cracked, broken or otherwise harmed with 10 girls using 3 of those boxes. The problem started when they moved into their permanent coop- the new boxes had plywood bottoms.

    During their first week, they were confined to their new coop without access to the run (an 8ftx12ft full sized shed). They made a huge party out of stripping all the nest boxes of the straw which left the bare plywood- I spent a lot of time sitting and watching, fearing there was an egg eater on the loose. Instead the cracks were being made by eggs getting stepped on- girls were gripping the eggs with nails- then stepping on them- and no straw to cushion left the damage. Did have a couple with the kind of hairline crack you get if an egg slips out of your hand a couple inches over a counter- enough to cause air bubbles to rise when submerged into water. Once the right kind of material they couldn't easily dismantle was in there the damage stopped- and of course being back out in the run helped!
     

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