I'm a little frustrated....

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Mommy6, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. Mommy6

    Mommy6 In the Brooder

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    May 18, 2013
    Out of my 9 hens... most of them started laying a week ago, Yay! Firstly, how often before they lay eggs consistently? One day I had 5 eggs, but most days I get 1 or 2 or none at all.

    Then, I have a hen that appears to lay off the roost. 3 mornings in a row I found the shell of a brittle egg under the roost with the insides eaten. At least one of my BSL is laying it and possibly the one who is eating it as well. I'm at a loss how to fix this??? I did manage to collect her egg today though. I have oyster shells available. I have been checking the coop around 6:30 and every morning there's an egg under the roost, even though they usually beat me to it. Which makes me wonder... I thought they laid every 25 hours which would leave it an hour later daily, no?

    Then today.... I was in the garden and heard laying songs, so within minutes, I went to find 2 eggs... one with a hole pecked in it (still warm). Noticed a BSL over there while I was walking in.. but they were all fairly close. So ugh!

    I had a make shift nesting box which my NHRs prefer to lay next to rather than in, my leghorns lay in the back corner with the exception of the random egg in the "common" area and then of course the BSL chooses to just oops it off the roost. Today I put together a better 'roll out' box hoping for safe eggs, though I am not sure they will use it since its foreign to them. I'm still waiting for my husband to build me actual nesting boxes... but is there anything else I can do to eliminate some of my problems? I can't even tell for sure which chicken is eating eggs because she/they are clean about it.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    It seems to take about a month for them to get the hang of it. The one who is laying on the roost may not realize she is about to lay, so maybe when she figures out what the sensations are, she will do better.

    Chickens are going to eat eggs that break. It's just part of being a chicken, of eating anything available that's good to eat (along with a number of things that aren't.) It's not at all the same as an "egg eater," a hen who purposely breaks an egg to eat it. Mine manage to break an egg fairly often, but since almost all the eggs are intact, I don't believe I have an "egg eater." The egg with the hole was not necessarily pecked by one of the chickens. It is one of the defects that eggs can have -- especially when they first start laying.

    I think the 25 hours is more of an average than a predictor. They don't lay at night (ordinarily) so every time they skip a day, the hours will be different. Mine rarely lay after about 3 PM so even if they lay at 6 AM after the skipped day, it will be more than a 25 hour break. In the end, too, these things are all "usually" and "rarely" and so forth; there just isn't anything written in stone about chicken behavior.

    Not only do mine have their own preferences about where to lay, or what makes a good nest box, they change their mind from time to time. It may be nesting boxes this month, then a particular corner of the coop the next. Some like an open top nest, others an open front. Sometimes they all lay in one or two spots and sometimes they spread the eggs around more. Heaven forbid they be predictable!

    I just try to keep the floor of the coop "soft" enough with hay or whatever that wherever they decide to lay, the egg won't be dropped onto a hard surface.

    If you don't provide oyster shell separately, you could try that, because some hens just seem to need more calcium than others. Also, if you have Tums, you might put one in their waterer once a week or so, while their bodies are learning the ins and outs of making eggs.

    I hope it all straightens out soon for you!
     
  3. Mommy6

    Mommy6 In the Brooder

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    May 18, 2013
    Thank you for the reassurance. I had to leave them for the first time all day yesterday and I came home to 2 eggs perfectly intact. The one laying on the roost dropped another this morning and it was again eaten... however, another laid in a different location too and that one was fine but with a few scratch marks on it. Looks like they haven't actually figured out how to break one open yet. So I am relieved to know they aren't just the egg hungry scavengers like I thought I had brewing. [​IMG]
     

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