Turkeys eating their own eggs

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by ruralmom, May 18, 2016.

  1. ruralmom

    ruralmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a flock of about 15, 6 toms and 9 hens. Mostly Rio Grande/Merriam and Beltsville White. I caught one hen several weeks ago running around with an egg in her mouth and now all the hens are raiding nest and carrying eggs. What is going on? Help! I do not have a nest that has not been attached. At this rate I am not going to have any babies. Any ideas? They are all free range and have unlimited acres with countless places to nest.
     
  2. ShannonR

    ShannonR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What is the protien percentage of their feed? Adding protien and calcium can often make a difference. Unfortunately this egg eating tends to become a habit, and what is worse they teach it to the other birds.

    You know what some people say about egg eating layer hens--sometimes its best to cull the entire flock and start over with birds who haven't picked up the habit.
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I'll ask too, what are you feeding them? Free range isn't usually enough protein so a bagged ration should always be available as well as some oyster shells. I routinely feed my turkeys back their eggs and they have never intentionally broken any. You must have a bad deficiency going on.
     
  4. ruralmom

    ruralmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh we do feed them daily. Laying rations, cracked corn, wheat(they love), with millet and sunflower seeds. They eat really well. I was afraid someone was going to say it is a habit that is taught to others. My husband said to get rid of the birds and start anew. I do not know if I have the heart to do that. Is there any hope for a clutch of babies this year? Or a lost cause? Will they do this next year? What other types of protein could I give them? Thank you very much.
     
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I feed mine an all flock ration, 18% protein, maybe try a higher protein, and cut back some of the extra grains, at least during spring when bugs are in short supply. Layer is 16% protein add in corn and extra grains which are 8-12% protein and the total daily protein drops to around 12-14%, not enough to sustain laying. That's where I would start and see if it helps before killing everyone. It's possible it's just one hen doing it. All hens will eat cracked or broken into eggs. And it's always possible something else is cracking them open.
     
  6. ruralmom

    ruralmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That sounds like the way to start. Thanks you.
     
  7. ShannonR

    ShannonR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I like Purina flock raiser (22%protien) for maintaining breeders, and Purina game bird chow (30%protien) for poults. I do add oyster shell for the adults.
     
  8. ruralmom

    ruralmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What is your opinion on those flock blocks?
     
  9. ShannonR

    ShannonR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I tend to think flock blocks are a waste of money nutritionally, given you are already feeding a balanced ration. It should not be used in place of a balanced ration. If it is just for a treat or to keep the birds from being bored, then sure!

    The 9% protien it contains seriously puts a dent in total protien content of the bird's diet.
     
  10. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Our hens will carry off/eat eggs judged "bad". Have had as many as five, and as few as one, hens nesting in the turkey shed (authorized nesting location - no unauthorized nests tolerated) over the past decade and none have made a meal of the "good" eggs. As was mentioned, look to diet (if you've actually seen more than one hen breaking and eating eggs in one nest - day after day - then, yes - would love to see a shot of that - and only then would I suggest culling). Keeping the hens in an area/building they find acceptable for nesting is a start. Marking eggs by lay date (sharpie, here) allows one to keep track of what's what. How old are these turkeys? Couple of examples (usually, one discovers that one has actually been eaten completely when a broody hen makes a beeline out off of nest to squirt a yellow tinged "modern art" masterpiece, slurp some water and disappear back onto nest): ~Seventy five yds from nest (egg was smelly and she moved it downwind, at that): [​IMG] Flew over six foot fence to "get rid" of egg not fit to consume (just outside of turkey run): [​IMG] One of our mottled hens flew out two early one morning - saw her slinking by window, put on some shoes and went out to see where she was going - ~25 yds from nest - both eggs contained dead, nearly hatched poults - but suffering from obvious deformities (seven healthy poults hatched from this clutch during next two days). After dropping second egg she flew to top of chicken coop and back down into turkey run - and off to her nest. Put a chicken egg in a cup when your turks are out ranging together and VERY surreptitiously slip chicken egg on ground nearby. Any turk immediately falling to breaking and eating egg? If any hens eyeball it with more than "what's an egg doing here?" look, i,e., starts to give out with "I've found food!" pweets - then that hen(s) needs quarantine - until the other hens have hatched their clutches. Only if all eggs are eaten by hens in the next few days would culling be required. Adult, experienced, hens that aren't actively sharing a nest with another - tend to get pretty hissy with other hens when nests, and their eggs, are impinged upon.
     

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