I caught my egg eater red-handed! Now what??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by alhanse77, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. alhanse77

    alhanse77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 23, 2010
    Rexburg, ID
    I have 3 laying hens (4 total, but one is a free-loader [​IMG] ) that share two nest boxes in their a-frame style coop. All of the hens are 14 months old and my three layers lay 5-6 eggs per week, each. For the past few days I have found a broken egg in one of my two next boxes. I immediately clean them out and put in fresh pine shavings. I have suspected a particular hen and today I found her eating her own freshly-layed egg!! Her beak was smeared with yolk and everything! The past few days she has eaten the other hens' eggs. Now that I know who the culprit is, what do I do with her? After reading some posts on egg eating, I have provided free choice oyster shell and have been offering more protein rich snacks. Other than this, what are my choices? She is also the lowest in the pecking order. Does this have anything to do with egg eating?
  2. draye

    draye Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 30, 2010
    Chicken Pot Pie!
  3. Two Creeks Farm

    Two Creeks Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 23, 2011
    Hedgesville, WV
    Yep, stew pot for her
  4. littlestars17

    littlestars17 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2010
    I have an occasional egg eater as well- I try to check the nest box often as Ive found leaving them leads to eating them lol, Ive also been known to thwomp her if caught in the act lol
  5. henney penny

    henney penny Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 21, 2009
    Northern Maine
    I am having that problem to but can`t catch who is doing it,I have 30 so its hard to catch them.
  6. spish

    spish De Regenboog Kippetjes

    Apr 7, 2010
    having nearly 100 hens free ranging it was near impossible for me to find the culprit egg eater(s) and i was barely getting 5 eggs per day out of all those hens (so presuming it was more than one hen!!). but a member on here gave me a good tip. clean out the hen houses/nest boxes and swap them round/move them and add a deep layer of straw over the entire floor of the houses. i dont know how or why it worked but it did [​IMG] im guessing with all the straw it was harder to spot the eggs that were laid?
  7. Chikineer

    Chikineer New Egg

    Jun 5, 2011
    My family and I have recently come into three hens (the neighbor let them loose on the neighborhood and neglected them, we took them in and started feeding them as they were starving [​IMG]) None of them are currently laying, and they still roam another neighbors yard as well as ours. The biggest hen (known as Bertha) was caught red handed in the neighbors barn eating their hen's fertilized eggs. It's suspected that since the hens were starving before we started feeding them that they were eating their own eggs or someone else's since they had no food. I've been told that once an egg eater, always an egg eater. Is there a way to break them of it, or is it just a matter of reducing the chances for them doing so. I mean, like people were saying laying out more hay/straw and changing boxes around, etc. We're building a coop now, as we were already planning on getting layers so they don't have a technical, official place for them to lay. They're just getting into the neighbors barn and eating eggs, so wanted to stop it if possible before the neighbor ends up killing them!
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2011
  8. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2008
    I have heard blowing out an egg and filling it with hot suace holds some success. But chicken-n-dumplings is very successful.

    This is more of a prevention tactic then cure. But I was told by an old timer years ago to make sure the nest are about 30 inches off the ground. He swore this prevents egg eating. His theory was that hens go about their day, feeding, scratching, dust bathing so on and so forth and that nest that are at ground level or close to the ground invites a hen that is doing normal hen things into the nest to scratch and such. In this process they accidental break an egg and thus become egg eaters. He joked, have you ever seen a chicken jump up into a tree to scratch for food?

    I have to tell you since I've taken his advice, that was probably 20 years ago, and raised my nest to at least this height I don't think I've had an egg eating hen.
  9. EncinoMan

    EncinoMan Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 11, 2011
    Quote:That sounds very reasonable to me. For those of us who can't raise our nestboxes because they are integrally built into their coops, I wonder if another approach would work. Specifically, to narrow the entrance to the boxes to make them harder to get into and help keep them nice and dark. That way a hen is far less likely to just wander into one (and come across the eggs inside) while conducting her normal scratching/foraging activities. Sensible?
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2011
  10. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    One problem is the egg eater, who immediately after laying, goes for the egg intentionally. These hens have learned that habit, and thus, it is not an accident. Those are the real problem girls. Any hen will rush to gobble up an egg that drops out of the hand of the egg collector, don't we all know that!!! But the hen who has developed the intentional egg eating habit is virtually impossible to break, in most folk's experience.

    Try the other suggestion offered here, for they are good suggestions. Sometimes, the crock pot is the only answer.

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