Oh noooooo - I have EGG-EATERS!!!!!


9 Years
Feb 4, 2010
Glasgow, Scotland
Whenever my hens lay a soft shelled egg, somebody usually eats it and I just find the rubbery skin. I didn't really mind that as it didn't happen often. I figured that they burst the soft ones by mistake and then just kinda couldn't help themselves and as long as they stayed away from the normal ones it wasn't really a problem.

Then I noticed my two old Cuckoo Marans (who are the worst layers I've got) hanging out at the nest boxes more than normal and looking very shifty. I thought I had been getting fewer eggs than normal, but I wasn't really sure. Last week I had a quick look in my nest boxes and counted ten eggs, but only found nine when I went to collect them a couple of hours later. I thought I must have miscounted, as the whole egg had disappeared, shell and all. Then today I found two eggs pecked open out in our straw shed. One was empty, the other was only half eaten. One of the eggs was from my young Cuckoo Marans, who had just laid it half an hour before. She was still hanging about the shed, also looking shifty.

Basically, my Marans are eating eggs. Just them, no-one else. Are they known for this? They are the biggest, fattest and greediest of all my birds, and they're also the worst layers. Two of them are so old they're pretty useless, and the young one is rather intermittent.

Is it worth it trying to cure them of it, or should I just put them in the pot?
Put the old hens in the stew pot, Dear! They're not worth the trouble if you keep hens for eggs and they're not laying, and yet eating alot! It is probably not the breed, but a coincidence. They just learned to do this by eating a broken egg.....If you don't nip it in the bud, they will teach the other chickens to do the same.....
I would go ahead and use them for food...
unless you want to build a second coop for the older/egg eater girls, which is probably out of the question. If I were in your situation they would be soup...
Hi, I had some really nice Cuckoo Marans a few years ago. They were really nice birds, but they were also bad about eating their eggs.
I finally stopped the problem by building nests with tops and walls on them. Just basically a box with 1 side opened. Just make it so the nesting boxes are kind of dark inside, I have not had any more problems with them eating eggs. If you want to keep them, try this first, it may stop the problem.
If I really liked them, I would put them in a second coop, but I don't. They're not very friendly and personally I don't find them very pretty to look at. I'm not a huge fan of the Cuckoo colouring and these particular birds just have mean and grumpy looking little faces. I would consider building rollaway nestboxes (thanks Highlander for that link to Opa's fab designs) but the birds free range and a lot of them don't like laying in the perfectly good nestboxes they've already got. I spend a lot of my time hunting through straw bales for hidden eggs!

So I think I shall eat them. I've been thinking about it for a while, but I'm just far too much of a big softy. The older Marans were given to me along with three Leghorns by a local farmer who was getting rid of them. The Marans were always rubbish layers - their only redeeming feature is that one of them lays really funny looking half-and-half white and brown eggs - but the Leghorns were so good that I kinda thought one balanced out the other. The Marans were in horrible condition with big baldy patches and horrible curled toes and I always thought that with better care and nutrition they might start laying properly again. I basically felt sorry for them. I wouldn't mind giving them a free ride, but not if they're going to be eating eggs that they didn't even lay themselves!

The younger Marans is now the only survivor from the first batch of chicks that I ever hatched out. One sweet roo was found dead with no obvious cause, one nasty roo was dispatched and eaten, and one lovely little Black Copper pullet had a prolapse and cost me a lot of money in vet fees before eventually having to be euthanised. They've not been very successful really...

Anyway, it's a bit late tonight now, but I shall do the deed tomorrow. Thanks for the opinions everyone
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