Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,899 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just raised (from one week olds) 2 batches of egg layers. One set is RIR and BR plus 2 JGs (who wont be laying til January) That set has mostly begun laying, within last week.

The other set of 6 is a barnyard mix, who were hatched out of green eggs =they're almost ready to lay, within one month. Two turned out to be roosters, so far, no fighting.

Already have them in separate coops.

The bad news is this: the first egg was laid when they were walking around the barnyard. It broke (or was broke) and I caught 3 hens eating it. I cleaned it up, kept an eye on everyone, and each time an egg was laid, I grabbed it. Some days there were no broken/eaten eggs. It's hard to gauge when these hens will lay; sometimes they lay in the early morning.

Despite checking frequently for eggs, (every hour, when I can) these cannibals this morning laid 4 eggs one after the other. It was early- I didn't check til 7 am. I cleaned up #1, cursed, swore I'd get the next one before eaten. Came back 20 minutes later; same story for #2. Cleaned up, disgusted with myself. Number 3 I missed entirely, even tho I saw her sitting on nest, I kept checking but she took her time, and then inbetween checks, she or someone broke it. Number 4, I was disgusted with myself, and again, someone broke it. I opened up the coop very early, when I saw another hen on a nest, hoping that they would all go away, and leave me one egg. That is what happened.
I know there is stuff I can do to 'interrupt' the cycle of egg eating, but this took hold way early on, and I am sick that I have raised these chickens for eggs, and they have done nothing but destroy them.

With the other coop, I let them stay inside until 1030 or so, just so they can lay in the nest. No cannibalism.
Originally, I was going to combine the hens from both coops, but I am so disgusted that I am giving away the 6 hens .....I dont want to mess with it, and dont want to feed anything that isn't going to give me eggs.

Would they have not cannibalized had I let them out early? I've always kept layers in until late morning.
The 2 JGs wont lay until January. They were in with the egg eaters (and who knows, maybe they ate some too) if they remain isolated for a bit, can I still combine them with the non egg eaters, later towards winter? (in other words, will they cannibalize? Sure hope not)
I am disgusted, there was probably something I could have done better, but I can't nanny them, and watch them every 15 minutes.....
The egg eaters were in a hoop house. The non eaters are in a wooden hen house.....would this have made a difference? I dont think so, but wonder if there was something....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,696 Posts
I'm not sure what you could have done differently to prevent it. But you can try putting out fake wooden eggs and perhaps they'll get disgusted when the pecking stops working and quit lol. Seriously, I think it's just rotten luck that it broke and took their interest.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,899 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
me too! I did put out a couple of fake eggs....hoping that it'd work. Bad luck, that's all!! Oh, well, I gave them to someone else, and warned her. Hope that the change in scenery will break up the 'breaking up eggs'
 

·
Original recipe!
Joined
·
14,044 Posts
Do they have laying boxes?
If so, they will eventually learn to use them.

If they are laying in the nest boxes, then you need to make the boxes darker inside.
What we did was to staple cardboard over half of the box front.
Still room for them to get in, but darker inside.
You could also build an overhang that blocks the light coming in.

If the interior of the box is dark they will not eat the eggs.
They can't see them well enough to feast upon them.
It works. Truly.

Oh .. and the putting mustard in or hot sauce.. it works for dogs.
Birds do not have the same flavor receptors as mammals and are not bothered by such things.
 

·
Original recipe!
Joined
·
14,044 Posts
Oh... one more thing.
Check their diet.
Make sure that they are getting at least 16% protein in their diet.
Eggs are all but pure protein.
It has to come from somewhere, including eggs..or even pecking each other and eating feathers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
286 Posts
In my coops once in a while an egg gets broke. I have watched them clean an egg in seconds when i dropped one. But they would never touch a non broken egg.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,899 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
the boxes were draped with fabric. Feed 18 percent. Only one would lay in the nest box....(the last unbroken egg I found, out of the 4 others....) All good suggestions.
They got a new home. Only the JG are left, and they will eventually go in with the other non egg eating hens, (where the nest boxes are dark and hung with fabric, too.)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,949 Posts
Bombard their area with ceramic eggs. Works like a charm. They go wild when the eggs drop on the ground and quickly lose interest when they can't break and eat them. In a few days the problem is solved. Having said that, you have to make sure you are providing oyster shell so their own shells are strong. Can't blame a hen for eating eggs when they are easily broken.

BTW, I don't get "cleaning up" the eggs yourself? Chickens do that in seconds. I don't see how you can possibly find anything except a wet spot within a minute. If you find much at all I don't think they are truly too interested in eating them, or at least, if it's learned behaviour they haven't fully embraced that lesson yet.

In any case, go with the fake eggs, and don't stint on them. Give them enough to spoil their fun. :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,899 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
yes, gave them fake eggs. I cleaned up, because they were still eating them when I caught them. No eaten eggs today, but then again, I gave away the guilty ones....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,507 Posts
If they cant see the eggs they are less likely to eat them as well. Toss a little straw in the next box as well.

When I see a chicken actively pecking a non broken egg, I grab a zip tie and put it around her leg. Next time I see her doing it, (this is despite taking precautions to prevent eating) I sell her, or eat her.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top