Same schedule or are they eating their eggs?!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jenichick, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. jenichick

    jenichick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 1, 2007
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    I have three girls laying eggs now. A Phoenix, a Silver Dorking, and a Black Sex Link. Three days ago they all laid an egg that day. I can tell it's three separate girls, because the eggs are quite distinct.

    Yesterday, I can home, and two of the nest boxes were in disarray and the golf-balls were covered up. There were a couple of new pullets in the boxes, a White Rock, and a White Leghorn. But NO eggs, not one. Now the Dorking doesn't lay in the boxes she's been laying her little white egg on the ground, but the other two have been.

    Is it possible they all just skipped a day? If the other chickens are eating them, would there be shells to tell me or do they eat the whole thing? I'm hoping they're just getting a rountine going.

    By the way, I had DH go home and lunch, and sure nuff there were two in the boxes and one on the ground....hmmmmmm
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2007
  2. Smitty's Farm

    Smitty's Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 24, 2007
    St Clair County, Il
    How old are your pullets? When did the 3 start laying and how long have they been laying? It is normal to skip a day or so when they just begin to lay. Mine were doing the same thing. Just when I thought they would get on schedul, my SLW would skip a day. I've read that it could take up to 32 wks old until they are on a reg schedule. Of course it all depends on the breed, feed, and environment. I was really worried when mine skipped until I read an old thread about one pullet taking as long 10 days to lay her second egg.

    There would be left over evidence if they are eating them.

    As far as the egg on the ground, it maybe someone higher up in the pecking order pushing one out of the nest or a new 4th one has begun to lay or this hen has decided she like the ground better.

    Don't you wish you had a camera or could be a fly on the wall just for the day to observe.
     
  3. jenichick

    jenichick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They are only 20 weeks old, so the fact that they are just young makes sense to me. They've only been laying for a week and a half now. I'm glad you told me their would be shells left over if they were eating them. That was my big concern, because I read if left unattended the egg eating habit can be hard to break and I'm not home all day.

    The egg on the ground just showed up three days ago today was only the second day, I'm still not quite sure which girl it's coming from.

    I wish I had a web-cam set up so I can watch them while I'm at work!

    I just need to be patient.....I'm soooo eggggggsited about them laying! We have a carton full of little pullet eggs in the fridge, DH said we'll need to cook them all at once to have enough for breakfast! HA!

    Thanks for the reply!
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2007
  4. Smitty's Farm

    Smitty's Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 24, 2007
    St Clair County, Il
    I had the same reaction that you had b/c my first pullet to lay (SLW) just laid it right on the ground, but has been laying in the nest box ever since. My second to lay was a RIR and she wanted to lay right on the shelf under my roost. I was so worried that it would get eaten and start an epidemic,b/c it was out in the open. Mine were also skipping days. I was even paranoid that they were egg bound.

    She is finally laying in the nest boxes. My other RIR's started laying last week, but I'm still waiting on 5 Auraucana/Ameraucana, and 3 more SLW to start. It's hard to be patient,

    I didn't eat my little pullet eggs right away either. When I cracked some open this week I found some DBL yolkers, so that explained why my SLW would skip a day and have a bit bigger egg the next day.
    I would love a web camera. It's on my coop wish list.
     
  5. FrankBlissett

    FrankBlissett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When we suspect egg-eating, we put a decoy-egg in the nests. Take an egg (make it cheap-store bought if you want every single hame-laid egg). Mark a big X on it and put it in the nest.

    If we do have an egg eater, we isolate the suspects and put them in a seperate cage with a decoy egg and if it's gone then we know for sure.

    -Frank
     
  6. jenichick

    jenichick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When you had an egg eater, did it eat the shells and all? or just eat the middle......
     
  7. FrankBlissett

    FrankBlissett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh - they eat everything! Actually, at least in the cases we've had them, we're more likely to find the remains of the inside than the shell. The shell is easily carried off and gulped down, but the insides of the egg will sometimes be left. For me, reaching into a nest and getting yolk all over my fingers is a sign of egg-eating.

    Keep in mind too that soft-shelled eggs may end up being mistaken for genuine egg-eating. When a soft-shelled egg is cracked open accidentally, a chicken's natural instinct is to eat it up, and this even helps keep things clean for you. The problem is that every now nad then a hen starts testing eggs to see if they're soft shelled. When this works, she gets more and more forceful till she's opening all the eggs.

    Also keep in mind that once she does open an egg, all the chickens will get involved - weather they're "egg eaters" or not. Though if they aren't, they may be soon!

    -Frank
     
  8. jenichick

    jenichick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much! I had an egg the day before that was cracked and part of it seemed missing, I thought whomever laid it, pecked it. The next day no eggs. That's why I was concerned. I have golf balls in all 8 boxes now, and I have DH on a lunch time reconnaissance mission to check on them before they get a chance to munch!
     
  9. SandraChick

    SandraChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Do you have a dog with access to the coop?

    My dog was eating the eggs and leaving the eggs shells...which were then being eaten by the chickens.... Modified the chicken door with dog watching (he had that look of "there goes my daily egg snacks!")

    Golf balls are the best egg decoys...especially if you have any egg eaters.

    You may check for signs of rats too....they can get scared off before finishing to eat the eggs......thus the cracked egg with some stuff still in it. A chicken wouldn't leave that alone--guaranteed....

    Sandra
     
  10. jenichick

    jenichick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No dog access......our Black Lab and Boxer think the chickens are toys and would grab them and run (thus killing them). Our door has two latches on it because I saw a three foot racoon in a nearby tree when we were building the coop. The rat idea, makes sense to me, the entire run fence is buried in concrete so the only thing that could fit in the run is a mouse or a snake. The one cracked one I had was one of the first laid so it could've been an oddball too!

    Darn, I can't wait to get home and see what's waiting today!!!! [​IMG]

    Hubby didn't make it home at lunch for his recon mission! :|
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2007

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