My tale of chicken woe

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Marty chicken girl, May 26, 2019.

  1. Marty chicken girl

    Marty chicken girl In the Brooder

    17
    20
    40
    Jul 13, 2018
    Colorado Springs, CO
    A year ago I became a chicken person, with four nice baby chicks, all different breeds. Everything was going smoothly, and I thought "This chicken business is a breeze!" By the time the girls were nine months old, all were laying lovely eggs, all different colors.

    Then everything started to unravel!

    The Welsummer, Gertrude, wouldn't lay in the nesting box. Then Bucky the Easter Egger, started to EAT the eggs of the others. Then Gertrude joined in. So we built a "roll away" system in the nesting box so the eggs would be hidden from sight after they were laid. For a minute that seemed like it would solve the problem, but Bucky and our Buckeye hen, Spot, refused to lay in the new box arrangement. Our current status is one chicken, Camilla the Buff Orpington, who lays in the box and her egg is always there for us. The other three lay their eggs in the run, and they usually get eaten before we can gather them.

    Oh woe!
     
    chrissynemetz likes this.
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    13,641
    13,144
    716
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Hens can be tricky!
    Diet and boredom both can be involved in egg eating, so let us know what they eat, and do they free range, or have toys?
    Some birds are determined to eat those nice eggs, and need to be rehomed (or eaten themselves), sadly.
    It may be time to add a few more new chicks, especially if your two egg eaters need to move elsewhere.
    Mary
     
  3. Marty chicken girl

    Marty chicken girl In the Brooder

    17
    20
    40
    Jul 13, 2018
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Thanks for that insight. They get a feed with 20% protein, and I give them mealworms and scratch every day. Plus we give them a few scraps from the kitchen. I have been wondering if they need a protein supplement.
    I also do suspect boredom. They are in a run, plenty big but still, it's a cage. And the EE who started this is the most curious and mischievous of the bunch. At the moment, I am trying to convince my husband that we can fence off part of the yard and let them roam a bit. He thinks if we do that, then they will all lay their eggs where we can't find them, and keep eating them all!
    Toys... well, they have perches and things to hop on. I tried the "apple on a rope" idea twice now, but they always pretend like it's not there.
    If I find any solutions, I will let you all know! Meanwhile, we get barely enough eggs for the two of us, and that's okay I guess.
     
  4. Aunna

    Aunna Songster

    95
    156
    121
    Feb 29, 2016
    West Tennessee
    That sounds like a lot of protein. Is it a layer feed? They may be needing calcium.
     
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    13,641
    13,144
    716
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Some people have used ceramic eggs, or filled egg shells with mustard, and discouraged the behavior. I rehomed my worst culprit, ate another, and generally haven't had issues with this.
    Mary
     
    Marty chicken girl likes this.
  6. Marty chicken girl

    Marty chicken girl In the Brooder

    17
    20
    40
    Jul 13, 2018
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Yes, it is a layer feed. I do give them eggshells for added calcium.
     
  7. penny1960

    penny1960 Going back to La La Land

    26,814
    75,348
    1,377
    Dec 29, 2015
    Mossyrock, WA
    Way too many treats buy a large bag of oyster always have it out please and the fake eggs
     
  8. Marty chicken girl

    Marty chicken girl In the Brooder

    17
    20
    40
    Jul 13, 2018
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Mary, you are on the same track as I am. I tried the fake eggs (mine are wooden) and I tried filling with mustard (just made a mess), and then made the roll-away nesting box. It works great for the birds that will sit in it. I'll post a couple of pics. These are taken looking down in to the nesting box. We have a lid that opens on top 1791120[/ATTACH] and we reach down into the box for our eggs. 1791118[/ATTACH]
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Marty chicken girl

    Marty chicken girl In the Brooder

    17
    20
    40
    Jul 13, 2018
    Colorado Springs, CO
     
    penny1960 likes this.
  10. penny1960

    penny1960 Going back to La La Land

    26,814
    75,348
    1,377
    Dec 29, 2015
    Mossyrock, WA
    Any treat every day can lead to fat birds
     
    Marty chicken girl likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: