would being lonely cause egg eating?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Mudsow, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. Mudsow

    Mudsow Songster

    Aug 6, 2009
    I have a single hen, she lives in the house in a 2'x8' cage. In the summer she goes outside with us while we are out, but now that it's winter, she is caged all the time.
    She used to have a guinea pig housed next to her (our dogs, cats and people have become her 'flock') so she was never really ALONE. The guinea pig died of old age last year, so this is the first winter she's indoors totally alone (unless one of us is in the room with her) This is her second winter, she is molting a bit I believe, since she does have a few less feathered patches. I've never gone through a molt yet, she's young, I don't know what to expect.

    Since she is indoors, there is sufficient lighting all the time, she's in our computer area, so we're up until 11:pm most days. She just began egg eating last month. Well, not really EATING, just poking a hole which wastes the egg regardless.

    I've tried making her a nesting area in the cage with soft bedding, there are 3 golf balls in there, she does sit on them occasionally and this is where she lays the eggs. I'm just wondering if she is lonely and bored. Although a guinea pig isn't much interaction, she did get upset when the cage was moved away from hers, so she did have an attachment of sorts to the pig.

    I thought about getting another hen, thought about getting fertile eggs from a hatchery and letting her hatch them, but wonder if she'd just stab them too. Perhaps a chick segregated so it could grow up next to her so she wouldn't be alone anymore would help. I've started to let her play in the kitchen area with the dogs keeping her company hoping this will ease her loneliness.
    Do any of you with indoor chickens know the best way to introduce another hen? egg, chick, grown bird???

    The only other reason I can think of is that she had always used a certain brand of oyster shell. I finally ran out of the 50# bag but the store I originally got it from is out of business, so I ordered another kind. She's not eating it as redilly as she did the other brand. I tried yet another (still haven't found the original brand, I didn't think it would make a difference, I can't remember what exact kind it was) but she still seems to not be eating it as much. Could be she'll be 2 in April and is just slowing down egg production?? Otherwise she's acting fine, poops are normal, she gets fresh greens, corn, grapes, mealworms... plus her normal pellets. I'm just hoping she'll stop breaking the darn eggs!
    Culling is NOT an option, she's a family pet.
  2. squeakyballs

    squeakyballs Songster

    Feb 7, 2009
    Tucson, AZ
    I'm not sure what would cause the egg-poking behavior. If she isn't eating them, then I don't think it is a calcium deficiency. For extra calcium you can also squash up egg shells (make sure they don't look like eggs) and add it to her food. If she won't eat the oyster shells, then that might do the trick.

    Egg eating can also be caused by lack of protein.

    Sunlight creates Vitamin D, could she have a deficiency?

    I definitely think she needs a chicken friend (or two). Adult hens that aren't broody don't usually like new chicks, so keeping them apart is a good idea. Or try to find an adult chicken (or two!) and keep them next door to each other until they warm up to one another.

    I don't think people friends are quite the same as chicken friends.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: