Naughty Chicken Update - Chickens Eating Their Eggs

Last weekend I shared my bad news that we progressively found every single egg was being eaten by one or more chickens.  We have fake eggs that are ceramic that we used to teach the first group of girls where to lay eggs.  We put those in the boxes with the thought that if the naughty chicken who was eating eggs pecked at that and couldn't get it to break, maybe she'd stop.  This was confirmed by a comment left by Meg at Little Bit Of Life.

Unfortunately, for us, it didn't work.

We decided on Sunday we would take a couple of the newer girls and isolate them to a crate within the coop.  If eggs were still eaten, we'd switch them out until we had it narrowed down to 2 or 3.  We had pretty much determined it was likely the newer girls since they had just started laying and were spending quite a bit of time in the nesting boxes.  We planned to do this Monday.

Monday evening I went in the coop and as I was looking in the first box one of the newer girls hopped up and started pecking at one of the fake eggs.  Right in front of me.  The bad thing was that there are 3 that look very similar and we haven't yet banded them so I wasn't sure which of the three.  The good news was we had it narrowed down to three.

This is where it gets interesting.......

That evening Jay put 2 of the 3 that looked similar in the crate.  The next day they had each laid an egg in the crate and hadn't pecked at it.  We banded them, took them out, and switched them with the one remaining that looks like them plus one of the newer girls that is a little darker.  The next morning the same thing, 2 eggs in the crate and neither had been pecked at.  That evening we received all eggs, it appears any way, none eaten by chickens.

We've left the crate in the coop as sort of a threat since the isolation seemed to do the trick.  We haven't had any problems the remainder of the week.

So, my advice?  If you end up with a chicken who eats your eggs try golf balls or fake eggs first and if that doesn't work, a little isolation may just work for you too!


Anonymous said...

You can buy what is called shell at the feed store, it looks like small rocks and the hens pick at it, also save all your egg shells and give them back to the hens to eat, usually they are lacking something when they pick at there eggs.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I found this really interesting! I had no ideas that chickens would do that to their eggs and I had no idea that when you had chickens you had to be part detective too! :-)

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Anonymous - I do both of those things. I suspect that when the youngest girls started laying there may have been a soft-shelled egg and that's when it was discovered as a delicious find. :)
Kim - yes, indeed.....part detective is right. :)

Sarah said...

We use crushed oyster shell that you can buy at the feed store, that is fairly inexpensive. It serves multiple purposes and we have found that it works with our chickens. First of all, it strengthens the shell of the eggs that the hens lay. Secondly, it keeps them from eating their own eggs. Thirdly, and which I believe corresponds with the second purpose, is that it gives them the "gravel" that they need for their crop. I have come to the conclusion that when our chickens aren't free range, they obviously don't have access to rocks and gravel and that's when they start eating their eggs. When I use the oyster shell, it almost never occurrs.

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Sarah - thank you for the info! Unfortunately, we already do this for those exact reasons. :) It doesn't seem to be a deficiency.