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Pullets + Thin Shell = egg eating

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by thekatbus, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. thekatbus

    thekatbus In the Brooder

    Hello all,

    Two of my three hens are pullets and have just begun laying. Their shells are still quite thin. I have them on a good feed, with oyster shells and grit. I know it will only be a matter of time before they start producing hard-shelled eggs. In the meantime...today, one of my pullets laid a small, soft-shelled egg while they were outside free-ranging. Another of the chickens came over and pecked it open and all three tried to eat it. I took the egg away immediately and placed two hollowed out egg shells filled with mustard in their laying box. One of the chickens has already been pecking at them a bit. And sometimes just sitting on them. Nobody has broken one open yet, so they haven't received the nasty prize inside quite yet.

    My question is this: Aside from being there to quickly take away those soft-shelled eggs, what can I do to prevent these girls from getting any further taste for their delicious eggs??? I'm afraid that before my pullets lay hard eggs, all three hens will have developed a taste for them from eating so many soft shelled ones.

    Any advice would be wonderful! Thanks :)
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

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    I am wondering whether there is something else going on here. It's true that newly laying pullets will lay an odd egg or two, but you shouldn't be getting consistently soft shelled eggs even from pullets. How long has this been going on?

    Here are some links about the causes, or some of them, of soft shelled eggs.

    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/publi...ndbook/16/thinshelled-eggs-and-shellless-eggs

    http://beautyofbirds.com/eggproblems.html#softshell

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/common-egg-quality-problems
     
  3. thekatbus

    thekatbus In the Brooder

    thanks for the info! I should clarify, the pullets are new (I have only had them a few days) and they are just coming into their egg laying. They are not laying soft shells, rather just thin ones. Thin enough to easily peck into but not soft. I haven't had enough eggs from them yet to know if this will be consistent or not. I will wait to see a few more eggs before I start becoming concerned. It's more the eating of said eggs that I am worried about right now. Thank you for the links!
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I;ve read posts by long time chicken keepers who say they routinely throw any really poopy egg onto the floor, hard, to break it so the chickens will eat it and it won't go to waste -- and I've also read them sa the have never had an egg eater. Although I don't think anyone really knows why a flock becomes egg eaters, I actually suspect it has to do with their feeling some lack of a nutrient, or perhaps simply pure boredom due to limited space and lack of forage. Certainly, a chicken will eat an egg it finds broken, or breaks by accident. Hopefully, yours won't learn the gabit.
     
  5. thekatbus

    thekatbus In the Brooder

    I know in the case of my chickens, it's not lack of forage, they free range several hours a day. It's also not diet based, they are on an amish feed that is non GMO, for egg laying hens and also are supplemented with oyster shells and grit and lots and lots of treats including: blueberries, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, banana, etc). I doubt it's a space issue because there are only three of them and they are in a coop suitable for 5-7 chickens. They also have 3/4 of an acre to play on when I have them out during the day. I am hoping as their eggs harden up and they begin to consistently lay eggs that are normal sized, etc...that they will just leave them alone. I do have those two mustard filled eggs in their nesting box, and they haven't broken those open yet. So my fingers are crossed!
     

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