Pullets just starting to lay and pecking eggs - egg eater?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by southdakota, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. southdakota

    southdakota Songster

    Dec 5, 2010
    There are so many threads on egg eating, I hope no one minds my posting this question here.

    I sold my entire floc
    k of hens last fall and just wintered some silkie chicks, some assorted bantams from Ideal and three black copper marans, a rooster and two hens.

    I just bought 31 pullets that has not started laying yet two weeks ago. I started getting eggs last week...one one day, three one day, five one day, then none,...you know the routine.

    All was well till two days ago. .. of the five eggs in the nest boxes, three had been pecked hard enough to spiderweb fracture the shell just a little, not enough to break the shell or for the girls to eat the eggs, but just enough that they are unusable.

    I saw one little pullet rolling the egg around after she hatched it, and thought perhaps she rolled it against the nest box wall, but I have been checking every hour today and just came in with an egg that was less then an hour old and it had been poked hard enough to fracture the shell in a faint spiderweb.

    I have two golf balls in each nest box. There are 10 nest boxes in the coop. The girls free range...the pop door goes into a covered chicken yard and the chicken yard door is open so they can free range on our 50 acres...

    I am thinking of separating out maybe five girls at a time (I have a coop set up in a stall in our barn) until I weed out the egg breaker...or would I be ahead to 86 the whole crew?

    I feed a hen scratch from the local feed store which is only 10 percent protein, it is cracked corn, wheat and milo..
    I have oyster shell free choice in the coop

    Should I add a layer pellet to see if that helps? I usually feed layer pellets when they start laying well, but pullet eggs are so small I thought the hen scratch might be all right.

    They have five gallon buckets with 8 nipples on the bottom so there is plenty of water.

    Should I debeak?


    Thanks so much

  2. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Songster

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    I wouldn't pull the plug on them yet as they haven't eaten only pecked. Your plan to separate sounds like its worth trying. I'd get them on layer as they are starting to lay. How are thick are the shells? If their to thin a tap might be enough to crack them. If they are not leaking the membrane is still intact are they are usable if used right away. Just not saleable.
  3. peepmommy

    peepmommy Songster

    Feb 15, 2012
    Ok, Slow down!! I agree about the hens pecking at the eggs. Mine would put perfect holes in the egg, not breaking the membrane. She was testing the shell. I would make sure to check them very often. Egg eaters sometimes start by being bored and if you collect multiple times a day, it'll help. It's only when they actually start eating the eggs that it starts running through the flock. Is it also possible that it cracked when it hit the wall? I had a hen who stands so when it hits even the bottom of the box it will put a fracture in the shell.
  4. DonaldFan

    DonaldFan Chirping

    Aug 16, 2011
    San Diego
    My pullets just started laying. My 1 years have been laying consistently. The young ones keep pecking at the eggs as if to say "that came out of me?" Pretty funny, actually. Don't worry about it right away.
  5. southdakota

    southdakota Songster

    Dec 5, 2010
    Thank you all so much. ... I will buy layer feed today.

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