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Yet another thread on egg eating! Will there be gooey stuff /egg insides in the shavings?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by off-grid hen, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. off-grid hen

    off-grid hen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    On Sunday I noticed one of my partridge rocks running out of the coop with an egg hanging from her mouth. I thought, "Oh, GREAT." :rolleyes: I grabbed the remaining egg from her and collected the rest of the eggs. The culprit then left the run area to rejoin her flock mates ranging out in the yard.

    Earlier while she was in the box, I reached under her to see if there were eggs there, because I was doing a mental count. There were no other eggs in the box.(I have 8 nest boxes.) I figured that I'd wait til she was done, then collect the rest. So I was hanging out in the run with the new 5 month old rooster that my husband had brought home. (that's another story :rolleyes: ) A few minutes later she came running out of the coop with the egg in her mouth. I noticed that the shell was thin, so maybe it broke after she laid it.? She left a trail of globby bits of white here and there in the shavings when she ran out of the coop. (I have shavings in the nest boxes too)

    I ran inside and did a quick google search. I found an Extension publication that said something about it possibly being a calcium deficiency- so I started sprinkling the oyster shell on the ground in the run (in addition to already having it free choice in the coop). I also always put their egg shells in the blender and grind them to very small pieces then feed them back mixed with veggie scraps.

    I have not had broken eggs in the nest boxes. The only other time I saw the girls eating an egg was when they all started laying, and there was a soft shelled egg on the floor of the coop. None since then.

    OF course, I have worked every day since sunday, so I haven't been watching the boxes. There have been no broken eggs, and I have checked the nest boxes (and the coop floor, and the ground in the run) every day for globby bits of white for evidence, but I have found none. I have 12 hens and have gotten 8 eggs three days in a row. Normal daily egg count ranges from 7-11.

    I am HOPING that she just broke that egg and decided to try it and hasn't since. OR she is somehow eating all of the evidence. PLEASE tell me there would be globs of white mixed in the shavings... :fl
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    They're pretty good at cleaning up their evidence. But, they will certainly eat any broken egg, which does not make them an egg eater in itself, at least not usually. I'd say the first order of business is what you have started, more calcium to try to harden the shells, and hope you don't have a hen with an internal defect who will only lay soft shell eggs. A Tums tablet (crushed in a bit of yogurt or whatever) makes a good calcium boost, not to be given daily, though. Your new roo could be involved in this -- a new stressor, which can always mess with egg laying. Here's hoping it all settles down for you!

    There are several ways to stop them. Blow out some eggs and fill with dish soap, lots of fake eggs, darken the nests (curtains partway down the front) that I can think of offhand. Many threads here on this. And the end of the road solution, rollaway nest boxes.
     
  3. off-grid hen

    off-grid hen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. This shell wasn't a soft-shelled egg, but the shell was a little thinner than usual, so maybe that was it. I know the girls were stressed out because in one weekend we 1) added a new 5-month old rooster. He hasn't tried to mount anyone or crow- he's too busy running from the girls who try to peck at him. :D 2) rearraged the nest boxes. I have 4 in their original spots, but the ones on the floor got moved. The egg in question was laid in the new nest place, which I may not have had a thick enough layer of shavings in the bottom. I added some. With all the drama from this weekend, I'm surprised they're laying at all. :p
     
  4. off-grid hen

    off-grid hen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also- if they clean up the evidence, how do I figure out if she's still eating eggs?

    I need assistance with my investigation. ;) I did check her beak for dried yolk yesterday, but what else can I do to solve this if she cleans up all evidence after the crime?
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  5. If you think it's soft shell, feel free to mix the oyster shell IN with her food......

    You might think about rollaway nesting boxes so she can't get to her egg. You could always quaranteen her to keep an eye on her.....
     
  6. off-grid hen

    off-grid hen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wasn't working today so I had time to spy on the girls.  The accused hen entered three best boxes before she found the one she wanted.  All had eggs in them- I was baiting her.  She laid her egg in the only empty box, and didn't even bother with the egg song when she was done.  She did her business, then hopped out to forage for bugs in the freshly raked leaves.  Woo hoo!  
     

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