mites/lice and soft eggs followed by eating those soft eggs

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by KellyandKatie, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. KellyandKatie

    KellyandKatie Songster

    Aug 29, 2007
    Kitsap County, WA
    What a mess!!

    This all seemed to happen so fast- in just a month I went from a nice flock - to now just a mess!

    I have several young birds, but I also still have my four orginal hens, they are three to four years old.

    Two of my older hens I noticed had lost a couple feathers on their backside, but they were also the favorites of my confused drake duck, so I made the assumption that it was from the huge muscovy duck attention that they were loosing those feathers.

    I got rid of the drake around the hens

    The feathers have not grown back, and duh, I started to wonder if it is mites or lice or something else now

    then the very next day, one of the four older hens I have laid a soft shelled egg-- while she was roosting, not even in the nest box. Before I could even react- all the other birds were on it and ate it. I was researching what would be causing soft eggs

    but now I am noticing my egg production in the whole flock-- and yup-- I can see that I have some of the birds now eating the eggs from the nesting box

    So now... I am researching if the feather loss was mites or lice- or rather more directly how to to get rid of it - if I have to treat the entire flock or just those two birds-- I have deep cleaned and DE'd the heck out of their coop- but they are also free range in the yard, so have been DE'ing the yard as well

    and I am working on the soft shells with adding more protein and cutting down on the 'junk' table scraps I am throwing to those old girls

    but egg eating - ahhhh what can be done about this? Me and my daughters are on hyper drive listening for the cackles and collecting eggs and checking for eggs all day long - that helps a lot that we are collecting very often-- but I am really upset since I think the eaters are my new young birds- and it is more than one too I am thinking - not sure how to tell - have not caught one 'with egg on her face' so to speak

    It seemed to go from perfect flock harmony to this mess just like that

    I am doing research, but if you have already learned any of these lessons or can point me to links, I would appreciate your time and help

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I'd put a bunch of golf balls in the nest to discourage them, and treat with Sevin 5% garden dust. DE is not going to cure a lice/mites infestation. But are you sure they have one?

    If you are also having very hot weather, this can lead to soft shelled eggs. They drink more, so they eat less, so their nutritional intake is not as good.

    Mine will eat the occasional soft shelled egg if it gets opened, but I've never had them eat hard shelled eggs. Lots of old timers even feed very dirty or cracked eggs to the chickens, just break them open and let the chickens at them. They say it does not cause egg eating of good eggs.
  3. KellyandKatie

    KellyandKatie Songster

    Aug 29, 2007
    Kitsap County, WA
    no see, from that link it does not look like what my birds have going on at all - phew!

    how long would it take for the saddle sore to heal if that is all it was from the drake??

    Thanks for the reply- I found some easter eggs - will see if I can fish up some golf balls too
  4. lillypad

    lillypad Hatching

    Aug 6, 2010
    my hens did the same thing and i read an article about methionine deficiency. The feathers are a source of this amino acid and the chickens will pull them out and eat them. also, too much corn prevent methionine absorption. after reading the artical i stopped giving scratch and added extra protein like boiled eggs crickets or worms. the hens started looking better right away.
  5. Gullygarden

    Gullygarden Chirping

    Jul 2, 2011
    do they get oyster shell for extra calcium?
  6. KellyandKatie

    KellyandKatie Songster

    Aug 29, 2007
    Kitsap County, WA
    yes they do-- and actually most of these issues have just... cleared up.... as quickly as things got goofey- they just went away

    after reading more I dont think they had mice or lice

    and I really dont think any of the birds were actually eating the eggs, but they were soft and the hens must have accidentally been breaking them when they went in to lay their eggs-- and THEN they ate them

    but I added up their calcium/ oyster shell amount some and added golf balls - and the heat went down around here too
    and I watched how much junk food I was feeding them

    and nice hard shells again, and full egg production again
    Thanks for all your thoughts and help- I really appreciate having chicken people to brainstorm with!

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