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Oh NO!! Broken Eggs Yesterday... what to do??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by newTexan2chickens, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. newTexan2chickens

    newTexan2chickens Chirping

    Jun 15, 2010
    I am brand new to chickens and have made major mistakes already I am sure so here goes....

    I had been given 2 hens, a rooster and a bunch of young pullets but the neighbor's dog ripped off the wall of the coop and got all but 2 of the pullets. Obviously I was upset (and so were my 2 scared little 6 wk old pullets!) so I immediately went out and got 2 BR hens and a rooster from a big BR breeder. The same day from a woman down the road, I got 4 appx 8 wk old mixed pullets. Put them all together and they settled in well. Added 4 more pullets from the same lady about 5 days later that were appx 6 wks. All went well. A friend was told about my massacre and offered me 2 Aracauna mix hens- 1 raising a brood of 4 that are about 3 wks, the other hen was always the one picked on by her other hens. So I got those on Saturday. I put the 3 wk olds in with my 4 BO pullets that are about the same age. I didn't really need them right now but she was anxious to get rid of them. Anyway- picked on hen laid an egg in the crate she was in before I got her home so I was pretty happy. But yesterday I got home from spending the day with dad and my 2 BR hens had both laid in eggs in their normal nesting box and they were both pecked... one cracked open and a mess, the other just cracked. What do I do??? Who is responsible??

    The setup: they have a 12 x 12 run and go out every night on 2 acres for about 3 hrs. They have an attached coop that is 4 x12 with 3 hen boxes. Most of the time they are not in the coop at all and some even roost in the yard at night. Tomorrow the expansion of the yard is supposed to be completed.... into 12x30. We are planning to convert the hen house into 9x12 before the end of the month.

    Any ideas who the guilty chicken is? I can remove one hen or both into jumbo dog crates if need be until the coop is finished but will that change anything? Am I doomed to nightmares about cannibalistic egg killing hens???
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2010
  2. aliprowl

    aliprowl In the Brooder

    Nov 12, 2008
    Northern Westchester
    Way too many chickens for the space you have - overcrowding will lead to nothing good. Not sure that's the reason for the broken eggs, but other bad things will result (cannibalism, feather picking, fighting, etc.) You can search this website for minimum sq. footage inside a coop (per chicken) and minimum amt. of run space; I can't remember exactly, but your setup sounds very crowded. I have eight hens and one rooster and my coop is 8x10, with a very large covered run (not sure the dimensions, but maybe 30x15 ft.) plus they free range all day. Also be aware that they must have enough roosting space per chicken - again, check this website for that dimension, but for a full grown chicken I think it's 14 or 18" per bird?
    Confused about why your chickens are out at night...do you have zero predators? Raccoons, possums, even skunks are threats to chickens. Not to mention dogs, which you have already encountered. Mine put themselves in their coop promptly every night, well before dusk, and I go out and lock them up - coop is like Ft. Knox. You won't have chickens long if you leave them out at night, and it's actually kind of cruel not to keep them safe from dogs. How on earth could the neighbor's dog rip the side of your coop off? What was it made of?
    You're new to chickens - so definitely do your homework, quickly, on this site and do everything you can to keep them safe. They're totally defenseless.
  3. Choco Maran

    Choco Maran Songster

    Jul 25, 2009
    Ribera New Mexico
    I tend to agree with aliprowl. Not enough space. I have a 12x12 coop and a 12x45 run for mine. This is just big enough for my 45 hens. This is suppoose to handle 50 hen but I feel it is on the small size. If I counted right you have about 19 or 20 hens. I would definitly expand to at least to a 8x10 bigger is all ways better. Better to have more and need less, then to have less and need more. Good luck
  4. newTexan2chickens

    newTexan2chickens Chirping

    Jun 15, 2010
    What I meant by out at night in their yard is they tend to roost in the run rather than the coop. Right now the run has been expanded to 12x30 and the coop is 4x12 with 3 laying boxes and several roosts . I currently have 12 total in that area.... 1 rooster, 3 hens that are laying age and the rest are about 10 wks to 14 wks with 2 of those 7 being bantam sized. During the day (when the eggs have been broken) they are all typically out in the yard. I have seen no evidence at all of the birds picking on each other- they all seem to get along very well and only bicker over a juicy bug now and again.

    I removed one of the new hens and the next day had 1 egg, no holes in it. Yesterday I had 2 eggs (1 from one of the new hens, 1 from the BR) and the BR egg had a tiny hole in the end but it was not leaking- so no eating of the egg. I am not sure that was done on purpose or maybe just damage?

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