Egg Eaters??

Posted by: Anonymous

Egg Eaters?? - 12/06/08 02:16 PM

My hens are about 18 months old and have been laying eggs regular. This fall just before they were molting I stopped getting eggs. I did not think too much about it, but I have not han an egg in months. Every once in awhile I see what seems like yoke stains on the floor. I think they are eating their eggs. Any suggestions?
Thanks John Davis
Posted by: Foehn

Re: Egg Eaters?? - 12/06/08 03:53 PM

It's a hard habit to break once it starts, so you could think about putting a sloping floor in their nest box so that the eggs roll out of their reach.

If you can identify the culprit, you could cull her, but if they are all involved, prevention is the only option.

There is another possibility and that is that they have simply stopped laying for your winter. (Unless you use artificial lighting). In this case you should expect them to start laying again after your shortest day, as you begin to get longer daylight.
Posted by: IPF

Re: Egg Eaters?? - 12/07/08 08:33 AM

I would guess mostly Foehn's second expanation. 18 month-old girls, moulting, shortening daylength and cold weather - all adds up to a recipe for minimal egg production (unless, as Foehn says, you have artificial light). Keeping an uneven-aged flock by adding a few young ones each year ensures some eggs through those cold dark winter weeks.

Egg eating - I keep quite a number of rock-hard fake eggs in the boxes, and these both encourage the girls to lay there, and don't taste good when they're pecked (and judging by their apperance, a year later, they get pecked pretty often). Keeping the nest boxes dark helps too. I think that the only eggs that get eaten here are the ones that are so thin-shelled that they break when the next bird jumps up to lay. A broken egg, of course, is fair game for all.
Posted by: Dirt Road

Re: Egg Eaters?? - 12/07/08 10:29 AM

You have to be able to identify individual birds for this to work, (colored bands?).Get or buy a few eggs, and when you have a little time put one where you can keep an eye on it. The serious egg eaters will waste no time going after it. Understand that once the egg is cracked open it will represent a treat for all. If there are only one or two really committed to the vice things will begin to improve once the culprits are removed. If the whole flock are dedicated egg eaters it's just as well to put them in the pot and save the feed. The fake egg idea would be almost a required follow up when the problem has been going on for some time.
Posted by: IPF

Re: Egg Eaters?? - 12/07/08 10:41 AM

Last summer I watched an older hen grab a sitting bantam by her tail and drag her out of the nest box; she then dove right in and ran off with the whole bantam egg in her beak. She'd obviously done that before! I caught her, and retrieved the egg, but "souped" her the next day. It's an ongoing issue for most of us, I would think.