Next step to take with egg-eaters...?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ahoward, Dec 10, 2015.

  1. ahoward

    ahoward Out Of The Brooder

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    Long Story: My husband is tired of hens. This is our third flock since starting three years ago. Our original five RIR hens started eating their eggs in the winter and he culled them all (they were all eating eggs). We were new at it and he had heard then that you cannot rehab an egg-eater.

    Our second group of hens last year were barred rocks, all but two have been hit by a car or eaten by a random hawk last spring. Never ate their eggs.

    We now have our two barred rock hens from last year along with five young hens from this spring - two red sex link, two black sex link, and one leghorn.

    The barred rocks have been laying an egg a day each for as long as I can remember. When it came time for the others to start laying, I started cooping up all the hens. This had worked for us before as a way to ensure that young hens would lay in their boxes initially, rather than elsewhere.

    Short Story: Unfortunately the hens probably got bored. We only got one small egg from a young hen, and then one white egg (from the leghorn?)...We stopped getting eggs from our two year-old barred rocks. We get only one, white egg per day, which has a very hard shell so I am assuming that they TRY to eat it but can't.

    I am assuming everyone else is laying, and I have no idea how many hens (7 total hens) are eating eggs.




    We have tried golf balls, trying to see egg on beaks, trying to catch them in the act, putting mustard in an egg, etc. None of this worked.

    We do not want to cull a bird because we have no idea who it is. We being me, as my husband would love to cull them all and be done with laying hens.

    I am thinking of trying Opa's rollaway boxes. My husband could make them. We have only two nesting boxes, but I would make one level of three just in case we have more hens in the future.

    Has everyone had success with these? We do not have a lot of time on our hands to be outside with the hens checking on things (husband works and we have a baby and toddler). He would build the boxes if he knew they would solve the problem, permanently.

    Our coop is a large shed and we would have the attach the boxes to an inside wall.

    Thank you! I really want to keep our hens, but I don't know what the best way to rehab them is.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
  2. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

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    This may sound silly, but are you sure you have egg-eaters? My chickens have all stopped laying due to the decreased light in the winter and molting.

    Maybe yours have stopped laying too?
     
  3. ahoward

    ahoward Out Of The Brooder

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    We thought about that, but it wouldn't explain why we get a white egg (Leghorn) but no others.

    They also gobbled up the egg with mustard in it a few times, which to me seems like they have been eating eggs.
     
  4. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

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    Young pullets may lay later into the year - it's their first winter laying and they usually don't molt. The second winter the hens often have a hard molt, and quit laying when the daylight drops.

    My Cream Legbar stopped first, then my olive eggers a week or so later, and then my silly Marans decided to go broody. So much for my eggs! Different breeds will stop at different times, and Leghorns are egg-laying machines so you'll probably get more eggs out of her than anyone else.

    You don't have rats or snakes do you?
     
  5. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

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    Your older Rocks have likely quit laying due to the short days. White eggs mean the Leghorn has begun laying. They mature quickly, so no surprise she beat the brown egg hybrids to it. Most likely the sex links haven't bgun laying and you do not have any egg eaters.
     
  6. Champoux

    Champoux Out Of The Brooder

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    I had an issue like this. I tried a trail camera but could not get a photo of the culpret in the act. In despiration I poked holes in each end of an egg and blew out the inside. Then I put hot candle wax on one end and filled the egg with bright blue latex craft paint. I sealed the other hole with wax and put it in one of my laying boxes. When I checked later the egg was broken and I had 1 chicken with blue paint all over its face and feet. Fresh chicken dinner that night and no further problems.
     
  7. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

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    [​IMG] That's a great idea!
     
  8. ahoward

    ahoward Out Of The Brooder

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    We have seen remains of an egg once or twice, but that would be pretty awesome if they just aren't laying.

    I did not know that Leghorns mature sooner, thanks for that information! That is reassuring. Maybe we are just losing the barred rock eggs, or maybe they are not even laying now, like some of you said.

    Like I said, though, I am suspicious because they went right for the mustard filled egg and enjoyed it.

    I guess it is time for a game camera! And I would like to try that blue paint idea if we do see them eating.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Let's ask...what are you feeding?
    Egg eating can be started because of low protein and/or calcium.

    Agrees.....
    The older birds are probably molting or have just stopped due to low light levels if you are in the northern hemishpere.
    The youngers ones have not all started laying yet for the same reason.
     
  10. ahoward

    ahoward Out Of The Brooder

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    I am feeding Dumour Layer Pellets, which I think is 16% protein. They have free access to oyster shell.

    What you say makes sense, but I am still concerned as we did see a couple broken messy eggs a couple weeks ago, and they go after the mustard eggs, and we have not collected brown eggs since then.

    I am going to see if I can borrow my father in-law's game camera.
     

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