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#77585 - 12/26/04 03:12 PM Egg-Eating pullets
Weezie Offline
Bantam

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 56
Loc: North Carolina
I've just found your site this morning and have been avidly reading as many posts as I can! This seems like a great forum--lots of fast responses. I have already learned alot! In fact, I let my girls out today for the first time from their coop, thinking it might solve my problem. (And they all came back in, except two--had to "hunt them down"....)

OK--problem--they starting laying at the right time, and for a few weeks, I was getting lots of eggs. Then the girls killed my rooster, and another of my pullets. From that point on, "someone" has been cannablizing the eggs. I collect several times a day. Or at least try to. What to do?
I think from some of your posts, I need to see who the most agressive hen(s) is/are. I need to buy some oyster shells (they have lots of grit), but maybe they are too "bored?" I have 21 hens in a coop 10x10. I was told that wasn't too many, but I'm beginning to wonder.
Thanks for your help.

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#77586 - 12/26/04 04:02 PM Re: Egg-Eating pullets
Bill Ludwig Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 2582
Loc: Ohio
Hello Louisa

Welcome to the Coop. You said you have been reading many past posts. Thatís a great way to start! If you haven't found it already, there is a search button at the top right of page. You can search all forums for "egg eater". Another tip is, you can change the "show topics from past 45 days" to show all topics in order to view more.

Oyster shell is not likely to help but is a good practice. A couple things that help more than others are; put golf balls or wooden eggs in the nests. They will peck at them and get discouraged. Hang cloth over the nests so the eggs are not visible from outside the boxes. If you can catch the evil doer, separate her or them.
21 birds in a 10x10 is crowded. Some books suggest only 4 square foot minimum per bird but that number is concerned more with manure and litter management than it is with content birds. Most members will tell you that 6 foot is minimum and 8 is much better.
If you can find the aggressive ones, thatís where to start thinning the flock. Good luck!

Bill

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#77587 - 12/26/04 04:28 PM Re: Egg-Eating pullets
Weezie Offline
Bantam

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 56
Loc: North Carolina
Thank you, Bill.
I will do as you suggested. Didn't think about older posts.
I like the idea of wooded eggs/golf balls. It will be hard to get rid of some of the girls, but it did seem too crowded to me.
Thanks again.

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#77588 - 12/26/04 11:06 PM Re: Egg-Eating pullets
Anonymous
Unregistered


Greetings-
I will echo Bill's response: Welcome to The Classroom; good for you for 'searching' first, asking questions later; and your coop's too small.

What breed(s) are your girls?
AND is it possible that whatever 'offed' your rooster etc and has been taking eggs is not a chick?
Just something to think about.

Good cLuck!

TC

cool

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#77589 - 12/27/04 05:32 AM Re: Egg-Eating pullets
Weezie Offline
Bantam

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 56
Loc: North Carolina
No, girls were caught in the act of attacking the rooster. My BIL rescued him, I took him to DH, who is a vet, but he died anyway. Too shocky. (This would make a good story, if it wasn't so sad!)

And I've caught hens in the act of breaking eggs. I think it's my black hens, and I don't know what kind they are. We bought a mixture as dibs, so I'm having to try to figure out what kind they are from internet pics. I think the blacks are Australorps. They are the most "distant" (not affectionate) of my crew, and seem to be the most aggressive. The hen that was killed was a white/black feathered-
footed beauty. I have two of those left, and one had it's head picked the other day.
I have opened the door to the coop again this morning. Since coop is too small for all the girls, would daily freedom be OK, or do I still need to get rid of some?
And I have never killed anything I've talked to, so I don't know if eating one, two, or three is possible for me. ('Course, I could have DH do the dastardly deed...)
Louisa

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#77590 - 12/27/04 05:53 AM Re: Egg-Eating pullets
Anonymous
Unregistered


Being 'out' on a regular basis should make for a happier flock, but when weather conditions etc prohibit, you may find that things go bad.
Do they have plenty and separate roost space?
If the black ones are making life difficult, perhaps you should consider finding them new homes or.....recipes.

TC
cool

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#77591 - 12/27/04 10:52 AM Re: Egg-Eating pullets
Anonymous
Unregistered


I had some experiences like yours with my first flock. I followed the 4 sq ft per bird rule. Not good! I now have almost 9 per bird and they're much happier and trouble free.

I had egg-eaters last winter, who also became feather pickers. I believe it's all related to winter boredom and crowding. Fix those things and they'll do better... however, you will still have to remove the culprits. Sooner is better than later, as the evil-doers will teach the others their nasty tricks.

My flock was bad enough after a long winter, that I started over with new chicks this spring and butchered the old hens for soup this fall (when the newbies started to lay).

You can get away with small coops, if you can let them range each day. I did that all summer as I have a very small coop, but have compensated them this for this winter by building a large covered run. They cannot range here in the winter (to much snow) and the run was a good idea for next spring / summer, too. Letting 23 birds out all day puts too much poop-up the lawn for the kids to use... now they can exercise in the run for most of the day and then be let out each evening for some grass and true freedom.

The covered run I built effectively triples the coop space and allowed me to expand the size of my flock a little and has (SO FAR) prevented the feather picking and egg eating problems of last year.

An easy way to find your egg eater is to look closely at their beak, combs and wattles. You'll find dried yolk on the culprits... the good girls will be clean. I had to remove 4 egg-eaters last year. That was before I had the run. The increase is space (absence of 4 birds) seemed to prevent the rest of the girls from picking up the egg-eating habit, but they later developed an incurable feather picking habit that lead me to replace an otherwise productive flock...

It's all about space!!!

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#77592 - 12/27/04 10:55 AM Re: Egg-Eating pullets
Anonymous
Unregistered


Oh yeah, I meant to say that my first hens killed their roo, too. Upset me something terrible. He was an incredbile, big rooster who's genes I would very much have like to pass on to other birds... especially for broilers. I think my wife put the hens up to it... she hated his crowing.

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#77593 - 12/27/04 11:36 AM Re: Egg-Eating pullets
Weezie Offline
Bantam

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 56
Loc: North Carolina
J,
Thanks for your very informative post! The more I read from you all and research, I am "mad" that the hatchery gave bad info! I know they want to sell birds, but it reflects back on them! I just got back from buying oyster shell. I got 4 eggs this morning, so I am seeing an improvement.
It's going to be hard for me to get to the slaughtering stage.....
Louisa

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#77594 - 12/27/04 12:06 PM Re: Egg-Eating pullets
Weezie Offline
Bantam

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 56
Loc: North Carolina
Just thought of a "dumb" question--how do you round up all the chickens to lock them up? I had all but two go into the coop last night. But I had a time of it getting the last one in. do you just let them fend for themselves if they don't make the curfew?
Louisa

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