Chicken eating eggs

Discussion in 'Breeding, Raising, Feeding and Caring for Animals' started by heftzwecke, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. heftzwecke

    heftzwecke Junior Member

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    We have two egg eaters. They don't eat all of the eggs though.
    I thought to prepare them an egg with chili but I'm not sure if it is enough to coat the shell as our chicken eat leftovers and are used to chili (not too much). Other ideas?
     
  2. Fernando Pessoa

    Fernando Pessoa Junior Member

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    Kill the egg eaters.
    Best wishes Fernando
     
  3. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    just patch the holes in your chikcen shed
     
  4. chooken

    chooken New Member

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    Hi heftzwecke,
    chickens can't taste the heat in chilli, so it won't work.

    I've had egg eaters in my flock several times... I do know a couple of tricks, but only the first one can cure egg eating (and the birds may return to being egg eaters later on...).

    The first solution is to separate the egg eater or eaters into a plain dirt floored cage, with no nestboxes. Weirdly, this works. The chooks try to peck the eggs, but the eggs are free to roll (in a nestbox they corner the egg first). This takes about 1-2 weeks but by the end of it you should see that the eggs are no longer pecked (for the first few days the eggs may have a chip in the end, but they usually won't be eaten). It's really worth doing as the chickens learn not to associate egg-laying with something to eat. If you wanted to you could make sure the birds always lay on the floor, but it isn't desirable for other reasons (e.g. dirty eggs).

    Another trick is to substitute all eggs with golf balls or fake eggs, and the chooks soon learn that egg shaped things are hard and unpleasant. But personally I've had problems when smarter than usual chickens learn which is which.

    Thirdly -- use a 'roll-nest', i.e. a nestbox with no litter and a sloping floor leading into a little cupboard.
    I've modified nest boxes in the past, and it's quite easy -- just make a little box for the egg to roll in, and then put something under the rear of the nestbox (it seems to work best if the slope is toward the front).

    Other tricks: lift nestboxes off the floor and out of easy line-of-sight; darken nestbox area; remove rooster (who is often the first culprit), and that's about all I can think of.
    But do try the plain floor solution -- I've often been surprised to find that it works, and it can be a cure if the problem is caught early enough.

    Just remember: egg eating usually starts with either soft shelled eggs (not enough calcium; or worms), or with a predator like a snake, rat or goanna robbing the nest and smashing eggs. All chickens will eat smashed eggs, and they soon learn to associate whole eggs with food as well. So to solve the problem you will also need to exclude predators.

    Hope this helps -- sorry it's so long-winded!

    Jennie
     
  5. heftzwecke

    heftzwecke Junior Member

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    Thanks, yes, the shells are not very strong, I have to give them grit. And the ideas sound great! I loved the idea with the golf balls and the egg eaters are Isa Browns so we haven't got an issue with intelligence.
     
  6. chooken

    chooken New Member

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    :))
    If it doesn't work using golf balls, do try the other solution (no nestbox, plain floor)... Or the roll nest, which won't cure the behaviour but will at least keep the eggs safe until collection.

    Frankly you may still decide to cull... Some birds are very determined. And whatever you do, don't put new birds with these ones, or they'll learn the behaviour too.

    One quick point (in case you're not familiar with how calcium is absorbed), you need to make sure their diet has enough vitamin D3. That means either access to sunlight or a cod liver oil type supplement (or of course commercial layer ration). That will harden the shells.

    Best of luck! Sorry again for being so verbose... One things leads to another. :)
    Jennie
     
  7. heftzwecke

    heftzwecke Junior Member

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    I don't feed them shells at the moment, because they must be crushed very small that they cannot recognize them.
    I think I have to mix the grit with their food because they don't like it too much. Half of them is free ranging at the moment, we have to improve the fencing, but they have more than ample space. I think that when free ranging they should find a lot. Anyway they don't lay much at all at the moment, we're in the mountains and it is still cold here and there is a freezing wind.
     
  8. chooken

    chooken New Member

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    Heftzwecke, can I just check something? When you say 'grit', do you mean crushed oyster or sea shells, or do you just mean little pebbles and stones?
    For calcium it needs to be shell grit -- apologies if you already know that.
     
  9. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

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    In Permaculture we learn to do it differently...lol

    Layers pellets dont give firmer eggs...sposed to cause eggs, not strenthen.....

    Calcium is Required for egg shells and general allround good eggs and healthy chooks..

    Calcium is is taken in by eating lotsa greens,(chooks fave natural feed) eg grasses,seeds,lettuces, and most leefy veges..
    AND INSECTS... yes bugs etc... Permaculture teaches us to utilize from our surroundings etc. feeding our poultry, a healthy mixed diet, and a reasonable cost to achieve this is,important to all flocks...

    Caged birds never get to run free,and if they do, its usually in arvos, after someones home from work or school to let them out...... This way they will probly need suppliments and costly medications,or vet visits..

    Free rangeing, can allmost cut your food supply for an entire year,if you can provide these nesassery ingredients.Even weeds can do the job,(NOT ALL WEEDS THOUGH)..If a chook dont eat it its either deadly or inedible to a chook... or maybe they like us humans and they know their fave flavours, and leave their sprouts untill last lolol:clap:

    Alot of misinformation out there... Kindly donated by vested intrests, uneducated chook persons and
    chook feed supliers world wide...

    Dont feed egg shells to chooks!!!! throw it away,compost it,crush it up and put in your veges..
    Probly lacking in calcium in your veges aswell....

    Ive only used shell grit once...till the packets run out..I forgot to buy more,eventually realsing that i no longer needed it, Actually if my birds are eating plenty of green feed the shells are somewhat tougher then shop eggs.
    A battery egg farmer told me about the greens theory...and its proven succsess for me for 22 years allmost now with chooks...

    I too have an egg eater..... This was started by an isa brown ex from a battery place last year...she still around ..and still missing a few eggs.. Collecting early and frequently helps, golf balls can and do help, they actually dumb enough to belive that they eggs and maybe induced to start laying along side the golf balls, geat way to show younger birds(pullets) how to do things also....

    Dunno bout covering the shell with hot chillies ... My self id allways thought youd insert that stuff in the egg via a small hole, filling it with anything hot,spicey crappy etc to cause the chooks to turn their noses up(bea8)ks)
    Removing the (Incorrect bird) can be hazardous =(
    You also may have outside predators cracking the eggs, they could be cracked by others chooks accidently in close confines. Questions,questions, questions......
    No real definitive answers, just experiences

    Tezza
    Ps herss my chooks weeding my onion/garlic patch...also the weeds too :handshake:
     
  10. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I always feed back the shells to the hens.
    I just munch them up roughly then stir them thru whatever leftovers or just in their pellets if there arent any leftovers that particular day.
    I have had eggs being eaten but have found its usually when the shells are really soft of shell-less.

    Dark green leafy vegetables are not just good food for chooks but also supply people with calcium as well.
     
  11. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I also feed the shells back. I just crush them in the palm of my hand as soon as I crack them and toss them in the scraps bucket with everything else. None of my chooks have tried egg eating (yet!).
     
  12. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

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    yeah i noticed that sometimes the chooks will chase each other over a peice of eggshell if its been thrown out with our daily scraps.

    Ill be trying to get all my chooks away from my shed during/after laying times,It gets em out side and away from the shed...

    May have to reintroduce outside feeding only again,then they will race to get n stay outside instead of eating eggs.. then just go back into lay only, hopefully

    Added.... Soft or No shelled eggs are usually a result of 1st time eggs from new pullets or new season for older chooks after seasonal moults.

    Tezza
     

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