When to put an egg eater back with the flock??? SHOULD I EVER???

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by keeko, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. keeko

    keeko Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 22, 2009
    Asheville, NC
    Hello all!

    I'm new to keeping chickens, and my 12 girls are just starting to lay. I have 6 laying hard shelled eggs as of this morning! But a few weeks back when egg laying just got started, I had an Ameraucana girl going crazy over soft eggs that some hens were laying in the middle of the night (we found them on the poop boards the next morning).

    So I've had the Ameraucana isolated in the tractor with a Buff Orpington who's not laying, for company. I'd really love to put the Ameraucana back in the flock, but I'm so nervous about her starting up the egg eating again, and teaching the others this bad habit! So far, everyone who is laying is doing so without pecking or eating the eggs...they're laying them and leaving them in the nest boxes, which is great. But if my Ameraucana is still suspect, should I NEVER put her back with the flock, and just cull her and count my losses?

    Do I wait until she starts laying and see what she does??? Should I risk putting her back in with good layers to teach them the habit??? HELP!! I really don't want to get rid of her if I can help it, but I don't want 12 egg eaters!!
     
  2. Eastins Eggs

    Eastins Eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Put an egg in with her and see what she does. You will have your answer soon enough.
     
  3. chicksbestfriend

    chicksbestfriend Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 12, 2010
    Maui, Hawaii
    Sorry that I cannot advise properly on the Amerucana eating the soft shelled eggs off the poop board, never experienced that, but what I have experience is an occassional egg eater in the nests. The first thing I did was clean out the nest completely of any trace of egg smell or remnants, then closed down the nest for an extended time. I have several other nesting options. I isloated the hen in a single coop without any type of nesting materials for max of 7 days then released her back into the flock one evening. You are so right on that you do not want her teaching the rest of the flocks to eat the eggs because you then have a huge problem and the best way to solve that is to cull the flock. One way I prevent egg eating from reoccuring is that I collect the eggs more than a couple of times a day. Wishing you the best of luck!
     
  4. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    My Coop
    If one eats eggs you have to rehome or cull.
    I've never seen one rehabilitated.
     
  5. alaskafarmgirl

    alaskafarmgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 25, 2010
    Soldotna, Alaska
    I have had this problem with several different flocks, up to 11 hens and maybe a rooster each time. Just this morning I found clear evidence of a suspected egg eater when she jumped up on a step and looked me in the eye -- the unmistakeable yolk on her wattle and top of her head.

    I knew I had a problem when they first started laying in late July -- this is a flock of red and black sex links, and they're a very productive, friendly breed, and good for dealing with the cold winter climate of Alaska. I have dealt with egg eating in every flock. I used to mark them with a spray of bright safety paint, but I have never been able to stop the bad behavior. Today, I just put her outside the coop, and nature will run its course. She'll have a few good days of foraging left, then a hawk or eagle will probably have a meal with her. Tonight, I'll probably see her roosting in a tree outside the coop. But in a few days, she'll be gone.

    I used to relocate them to a remote area with a stream, but the outcome is going to be the same, so I just put them "out to pasture." Then I took to "culling" them in the old fashioned way, by killing them, but feared I was becoming a serial chicken killer, so I stopped doing it.

    In my experience with about 6 flocks now, there's no way to stop it. Once they get a taste for it, they don't stop eating eggs.

    Sorry for the bad news.
     
  6. tuesdays chicks

    tuesdays chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2010
    stuart florida
    I have a perfect polished egg shape rock I use for my fake egg. I've been hoping its serving 2 purpose. You might try something similar Golf ball
     
  7. keeko

    keeko Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 22, 2009
    Asheville, NC
    Thanks guys. Yeah, I've had golfballs and wooden eggs in there for as long as they've been of laying eggs, even before they were laying. Putting up curtains on the nest boxes seem to help. The Ameraucana culprit just laid her first egg yesterday and left it alone. I took Eastins Egg's advice and put a whole, raw egg in the tractor with her and the Buff Orp. They both explored it with their beaks a little (maybe went on for about 5 minutes), but got bored and eventually left it alone. They didn't burst it open with their beaks, but did peck it lightly. Luckily it had a hard shell. Will all chickens explore an egg with their beak?

    Does this mean they're not egg eaters??
     
  8. chickenlady08

    chickenlady08 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 27, 2009
    Eastern Shore, VA
    Quote:[​IMG] Sorry to say this but that is not very nice to do to a defenseless chicken. I would have to make my nests so that they would allow the eggs to slide down and then they couldn't be reached by the chickens. But to leave it out like that is in my book mean and heartless. Sorry but it makes me sad to read that and I wish I hadn't now.
     
  9. alaskafarmgirl

    alaskafarmgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 25, 2010
    Soldotna, Alaska
    I'm sorry you felt compelled to impose your "feelings" on how I chose to deal with a significant problem in my own coop. If you want to diaper your hens and cuddle up with them in your own home, I applaud you for your compassion. I raise chickens for eggs. They are not my pets. My logic is at least outside they can free range themselves in heavy vegetation for as long as possible or until a predator gets them, enjoy their freedom for awhile before nature runs its course. I think killing them is far more heartless, and I don't appreciate your using this forum to express your distaste in any other members' approaches to problems. Keep your "feelings" to yourself, when it comes to me, please.

    Quote:[​IMG] Sorry to say this but that is not very nice to do to a defenseless chicken. I would have to make my nests so that they would allow the eggs to slide down and then they couldn't be reached by the chickens. But to leave it out like that is in my book mean and heartless. Sorry but it makes me sad to read that and I wish I hadn't now.
     
  10. sotelomary

    sotelomary Chillin' With My Peeps

    Keeko...I have one chicken that is laying eggs with a softer egg shell only in a very small area. It seems that they somehow know it is defective and I have seen my other 3 chickens eat it. My other 2 chickens lay perfect eggs and none of the other chickens bother it. I too worried about the bad egg eating habit but in my case they only eat the egg when it is defective. This same chicken occasionaly lays an egg that is fine and no one eats it! If I happen to see them eating the egg I try to remove it quickly.

    Mary
     

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