pullet ate an egg :(

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kathrync, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. kathrync

    kathrync Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2013
    Hi all! I'm new at this. I have four, 4-month old pullets. (Two Rhode Island Reds, one golden, and one Ameraucana.) All of them have just started laying, they had their first eggs last week. When I went outside this morning and looked in the coop I noticed two of them pecking at a broken egg on the floor. I was horrified, because I've read about how egg-eating chickens often have to be culled. I quickly removed the egg, and noticed that it had a softer, flexible shell, which is probably why it broke. Should I be worried?? I've put so much time and energy into raising these birds, it would be so sad if I had to get rid of them!
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Nov 23, 2010
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    Yes you should but not irreparable.
    A soft shell is usually what causes egg eaters.
    Once they find how good they taste it's difficult to break them.
    First, collect eggs often. Make sure their feed is proper. Layer feed, few treats and scratch with crushed oyster shell in a separate container.
    Add fake eggs. Ceramic eggs are good cause they can't break them. Plastic easter eggs that you can fill with sand and extremely hot sauce so if they open one it won't be worth the effort.
     
  3. kathrync

    kathrync Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2013
    Good news! No egg-eating incidents since that first one last Friday! And no soft-shell eggs either, thank goodness! I'd be surprised if they started laying a lot of soft shelled ones... my girls free range in my backyard and get plenty of insects and grass to eat, and a good organic feed. I'm chalking up that one egg to the fact that they are just starting to lay, and maybe their bodies are simply "adjusting". Keeping my fingers crossed!

    On a side note: My little golden chickie has been laying every day for the last three days! She's a champ! [​IMG]
     
  4. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 22, 2013
    Thats good news! I hope they continue to behave for you
     
  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Chickens are opportunistic omnivores. They are also curious. They have to peck things to learn what they are and if whatever they peck opens up then they eat what they find. Good, strong shells prevent this.

    I don't believe most "egg eaters" are diehard egg eaters, per se. If an egg shell is thin, or missing, or if an egg gets broken, the yummy goodness inside is a draw for ANY chicken. It does not necessarily turn them into birds which will break open regular eggs to eat them.

    But do gather eggs regularly so there is less opportunity for them to practice on 'em. Ceramic eggs are great, too - or the golf balls used as "lure eggs" in nest boxes. No amount of pecking will break them open, so egg eating isn't reinforced.

    Glas you aren't continuingbto have the problem.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. kathrync

    kathrync Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2013
    So, yesterday one of my hens laid a very large egg, much larger than normal. (It's happened once before... it had a double yolk, and I noticed that the end of the egg shell was a little weaker than the rest of the shell.) Anyway, the egg yesterday was kind of the same, but this time the end of the shell accidentally cracked open, and the hen ate the contents. I didn't freak out as much this time, just because my hens didn't turn into egg-eaters the first time it happened. This morning, the same hen is sitting dutifully on her egg. So, it seems gryeyes is right.... Just because they get a taste of egg once, doesn't mean they will become habitual egg-eaters. Plus, I think it helps that I only have a few hens that lay around the same time of day, so I can collect the eggs right after they're laid, and there's not much chance for the hens to peck at them. Or, maybe they just have short memories
     

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