Potential egg eaters or just simple curiosity?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by gritsar, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    My juvenile flock has several layer pullets that look very close to point-of-lay. To my knowledge, none of the layer chicks have actually started laying. The only ones laying are my meat pullets. They are all 22 weeks old. Right now and for the next few days, they are locked in their coop most of the day and only let out to free range in the afternoons. They have plenty of room in their coop, but still I know they are bored.

    Currently I have three nestboxes in the coop, each filled with hay and a couple of golf balls. Whereas my adult flock never bothers their nestboxes except to lay in them, the younger birds seem fascinated with theirs and delight in kicking out all the hay and trying to eat it. Right now I have one of the meatie pullets locked in her box because she is trying to lay an egg and the other birds won't leave her alone to do it.

    I was just out there and saw something that disturbed me. One of the SS was in the nestbox intended for the meat birds and she was kicking out the hay and pecking repeatedly at the golf ball.

    Is she just curious about the "egg" or looking to eat it? To my knowledge they have never eaten an egg. My adults ate a soft shelled egg once (and only once) and the evidence was clear on their beaks.

    I don't want to remove the nestboxes, especially the large one, because the meat birds are laying and the layer birds are very close. I may remove the hay and replace it with shavings, but I prefer to have hay in the boxes once they all start laying.

    So is the SS bored? Curious? or a potential egg eater?
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2010

  2. FRlEDeggs

    FRlEDeggs Songster

    Jun 6, 2010
    My chickens LOVE to peck at the fake eggs in the boxes... [​IMG] Hoping someone will answer your question
  3. kano

    kano Songster

    Aug 24, 2008
    Santiago de Chile
    Quote:The same happen to me. some pullets scratch the nest material with the eggs inside, and the results are broken eggs, and egg eaters .
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2010
  4. bburn

    bburn Songster

    Jul 9, 2010
    Delaware, Arkansas
    When mine started laying I think one of mine either laid outside the nest box or was in there backwards and it fell out. The result was one of the hens found the broken egg and took off with it in chicken fashion.....everyone gave chase. I got out there in time to see the hen running from the coop with everyone in hot persuit.

    It really scared me for the same reason....I thought I had a coop full of egg eaters. I was out there to clean the coop and I found where the egg had fallen....or got broken....and cleaned it up right up. I was so scared and tried to think of something that would keep it from happening. I am off work so I went out every morning around the time that they were starting to lay and put treats out for them. I scattered BOSS out all over the run so they would have to hunt for it. Later I would go out with greens or something just to keep them distracted. It seems to have worked. I don't have to do the treats anymore....but if I go out there early I do take treats.

    I never caught any of my girls even checking out a nest. Other than the broken egg deal and one egg I found in a dust bath all other eggs have been laid in the nests.

    I don't even know if this would help you.....as they have not eaten an egg yet.
  5. Uzuri

    Uzuri Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    Chickens are like babies -- they investigate everything with their mouths.

    Chances are that she's just checking out the golf ball. When she figures it out that she can't eat it, you hope she translates that idea to everything small and round. Keep the calcium up, keep the protein up, keep plenty of decoys in there and plenty of items of interest for the ladies to play with and you should be OK.
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Thanks for the reassurances y'all. I'm thinking that once they are out free ranging all day they won't be so interested in what's going on in their coop.
    When the meatie finished laying yesterday she got out of the nestbox herself; I had closed the door but didn't lock it. She must have pushed it open. Anyhow, she left an egg behind and when I went out there I didn't see any of the birds showing interest in it; even though it was sitting on top of the hay in plain sight.

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