Hens eating all the eggs before I can collect... What's going on?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kawilliams, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. kawilliams

    kawilliams Out Of The Brooder

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    Here lately I have noticed that when I go out in the evening to collect eggs for the day, there are none. Not that my hens are not laying because they are, they have just eaten all of the eggs before I can collect them. They are kicking all the hay out of their nesting boxes every day. Their food is always available and the waterer is cleaned and refreshed daily. My DH is suggesting we get rid of our chickens....What can I do???
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Roll a way nesting boxes. As soon as the egg is laid, it rolls away from the bird.
     
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Are you sure they're eating them? Are there any traces of egg left or are they just gone?
     
  4. Mommy 2 Wee Ones

    Mommy 2 Wee Ones Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I thought mine had slowed down, since all I was finding were 3 eggs a day from 9 hens laying.

    This is what I found on day 4..... 23 egg laid in the overturned trash can.


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  5. RedIII

    RedIII Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you think they're eating them, check around where they nest for egg fragments. I've had that happen before and there were usually some remnants of eggshell and maybe a little bit of the egg's contents in the area where the hens would roost. I have been told that they develop a taste for their own eggs, possibly due to a lack of protein in the diet. However I'm no expert, so someone more experienced than me please feel free to correct me on that.
     
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Sometimes, a hen will eat eggs just because-not necessarily due to lack of protein. It's almost impossible to break so the usual wisdom is to cull that hen. I've never had egg eaters, though any hen will eat an egg that breaks accidentally. That won't make them start breaking and eating their own eggs intentionally, though.

    If the eggs are all gone, no signs of wet straw or shells, I'd say something else is taking the eggs.
     
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Agree, there is usually some sticky residue if egg eating is happening. It is almost impossible to break an egg and eat it without leaving behind evidence. Even among good hens, an occasional egg gets broken because it was laid with a defective shell, gets stepped on, etc. All hens will eat such a broken egg and that is only natural. In such a case, it is unfair to label hens egg eaters.

    Before assuming your "missing" eggs is the result of egg eating, be sure they are laying at all. We are in the darkest days of fall, leading up to the winter solstice.
     
  8. instar8

    instar8 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's what i was thinking...they've got a new nest.
     
  9. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    My Coop
    I agree with the other posts. Maybe you can watch and see if you see any eating eggs or if they are hiding them somewhere. I had it happen once and she went bye bye.
     
  10. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had the same problem, but I caught them eating the eggs. (There's my post on here about that from maybe 2 months ago? Do a search on eating eggs.)

    Some folks on here suggested that I add golfballs or wooden eggs to the nest boxes. I put a golfball and a plastic Easter egg in each one. The Easter eggs were filled with mustard (someone else's suggestion) but I didn't notice that that the mustard made any difference. There was definitely some improvement after adding the fake eggs—I could see them poking the eggs underneath them, and not getting anywhere so they would give up—but the one thing that really helped was picking up the eggs as soon as they laid them. I was stalking those hens! As soon as the egg hit the nest I would grab it. But I am guessing that not everyone has the time to stalk their hens for the 2 weeks that it took to calm them down.

    The other thing that solved the problem altogether, was letting them out to free range. They would much rather be outside poking around than in their nest. As soon as I let them free, I started getting 6 or 7 eggs a day from my 7 hens, but I also lost my favorite hen to a predator. Not a recommended solution, and not practical for everyone, but it did stop them from eating their eggs.
     

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