One of my chickens is a jerk

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by RamHemiTX, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. RamHemiTX

    RamHemiTX Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 6, 2015
    I have 5 chickens, all laying. I usually go collect eggs around 5-6 pm after I'm done working for the day while they are still free-ranging. Sometimes, life gets in the way and I cannot get out to the coop before dark. This used to be no big deal. I would go out, make sure everyone was on the roost, and then grab the eggs from the nesting box

    In the last month it has happened 4 times and I've discovered that if I do not get the eggs before the girls return to the coop for the night they break the eggs open. Tonight, 4 out of 5 eggs were cracked open.

    I think I'm gonna put some porcelain eggs out right before they go in the coop and set up a camera to see who is doing it. Maybe unsuccessfully pecking at a porcelain egg will break the habit.
  2. eggbert420

    eggbert420 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2017
    Maybe they just need more protein.
  3. RamHemiTX

    RamHemiTX Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 6, 2015

    Their feed is a16% layer feed and they get mealworms almost daily. The eggs can sit there all day long and they leave them alone. It's only when they come in to roost at night that they do this. It's really odd.
  4. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Chickens don't do anything after dark but sleep and die in the jaws of predators.

    Eggshells that have been crushed and that you find all wadded up in the nest have been preyed on by a shake.

    Warm blooded predators usually leave an empty eggshell because they lap up or in old speak "suck" out the white and yoke leaving an empty eggshell.

    Without knowing more I am leaning toward No Shoulders being your culprit.
  5. RamHemiTX

    RamHemiTX Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 6, 2015

    I'll set out a camera, I'm not saying you couldn't be right, but I don't think it's a snake. The eggs aren't crushed, merely split open one of them last night wasn't split it was just cracked. There was what looked like a single spot where a beak would have done the deed.

    That being said, I hope it is a snake. That's a 5 second fix versus trying to break a chicken of a bad habit.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2017
  6. Could be the nesting material or they need Oyster shell....

  7. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    My bet is on rats. I'm having a real problem with this right now and I know it is rats, I've seen them. I'm also having a problem with Jackdaws coming during the day for eggs, so I'm fighting a losing battle on both fronts. Thankfully I know my girls well enough not to blame them, although I did have a moment of hesitation when it first started. I've now set traps for the jackdaws and rats, but they aren't stupid and after you catch one or two the others get wise, so it's an on going battle. Much as I dislike using poison, I also have to resort to that, but when eggs and chicken feed are readily available, they won't bother with poison, so you have to find a way to remove feed and eggs before they come out but they will even start coming earlier in the day if they fail to score later. I have a hanging feeder but they are jumping up onto it. I've also heard of them working together as a group on a treadle feeder, to create enough weight so that it opens and one can feed. They are crafty little devils!
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I’ve had snakes eat eggs before. Snakes do not crack eggs in the nest, they swallow them whole and crawl off to digest them. They wrap themselves around something like a tree and constrict to break the eggs inside them. Snakes are one of the few things that eat eggs that leave no clue behind. No debris is a clue that it could be a snake. You have debris.

    It’s a little strange that it only happens once a week or so. Four out of five is a little strange too, though it’s possible one egg was laid after the visit. And you say cracked. Can you talk about that a little? What do you mean by cracked? Is the shell just slightly cracked with the egg white and yolk undisturbed inside or are the eggs totally split and the insides either totally gone or maybe you have a soggy mess in the nest? I know it’s only four times in a month but can you post photos to show what it looks like? That might help.

    I don’t think it’s relevant but I’ll ask. How thick are the egg shells? Are they pretty thin where a little disturbance could cause them to crack as you see them? Hens walk on the eggs when they are getting on and off the nests so maybe a toenail would puncture once. But 4 out of 5 and only once a week does not sound like this.

    Are all the eggs in one nest or is happening in different nests on the same day?

    I’ve had an egg eater. That’s a chicken that opens eggs to eat them. It’s normal for a chicken to eat an egg that is already open, that’s not an egg eater. The ones that open them are the problem. I’ve only had one so I don’t know that they all act the same, but she would open one or two eggs a day, every day. She would not open all of the eggs. I can easily see a chicken opening all of them, but not skipping a week. That just doesn’t sound right.

    Is there a certain day of the week that this happens? Could it be someone’s pet that is only let out once a week?

    I’ll admit I’m mystified, mainly by the once a week. A game camera could be very useful here to try to figure out what is going on. A porcelain egg or two wouldn’t hurt either, they might provide a clue. This is a strange one.

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