hens eating eggs??

ceresone(missouri ozarks)November 2, 2005

thats what i'm wondering. i was up to 11 eggs a day, then for the last week, only one or two. this morning, in the nest, when i let them out, were three. i left them--tonight only one--freshly laid. these are young hens, just starting to lay- i think i might have made a mistake feeding crushed egg shells, think so? the ceramic eggs in the nest are always across the room too. if they are eating eggs, can i break the habit? i intend to gather several times a day now, but? and, no one, or nothing else can get into my chicken house, so, that only leaves the chickens---or guineas.

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Are you giving enough variety in there food, greans or different types of grains etc. That can peak an interest in food and not the eggs. You do have a problem that should not go on or they will ALL start and never stop. I have had this problem, you can isolate one or two that you may think are doing it. Then you can give those two the drop down nests where they can't get to their eggs. You can buy them online or from feed catalogs.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 6:37PM
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Firstly make sure they have a good diet with enough calcium.
I have found that a few golf balls in the nests will solve it almost immediately.
People always say that you have to get new birds, but I've fixed this several times. I always keep a few balls in the nests now.
There are the mustard/chili eggs too. They sound effective but not as easy as a golf ball.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 10:57PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Good advice, here... :)

First, make sure that they are all healthy--rule out sickness. Also, when hens go broody or molt, they suspend laying. Hens slow down the egg laying process naturally in winter, mine have slowly slacked off a bit, too in the last few weeks.

I have fed my birds eggshells and cooked and raw eggs for years (their own, never store eggs and only once in a while) with no problems. Mine have a healthy, varied diet and plenty of green grass, room to roam about and fresh water. I think hens turn to egg eating when there is a deficiency in their diet or out of boredom. Are your birds penned or free range?

Any chance of a hidden nest somewhere you haven't found? :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   November 3, 2005 at 1:23AM
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Is the entire egg missing? I mean no shells left? I am thinking black snakes........but I thought you made that chicken house really varmint proof. My experience with egg-eating chickens was that some shells would remain in the nest. Let us know what you find out. I still want to get chickens next spring.


    Bookmark   November 3, 2005 at 5:04AM
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ceresone(missouri ozarks)

yes, the entire egg is missing. we've recently cleaned out/added thick litter for winter, but i cant find a scrap! these are young hens, just starting to lay, exceptionally healthy, and have a varied diet, with kitchen scraps added. (actually, they're quite spoiled). and no-if a snake had gotten it, i would have heard, with 3 male guineas, 2 giant roosters, 1 buff cochin, and numerous bantam roosters, they even notify me is a car turns in drive!i'll try all the remedys, and thanks so much.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2005 at 8:12AM
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Definately buy crushed shell feed as a supplement.
If you have no evidence of egg, you just might not be losing any. It's getting towards winter.
Also, did something recently scare them? They may be frightened and stopped laying.
I would think there would be at least 1 piece of scrap found if they were being eaten.
Ask the neighbor kids if they've been having eggs for breakfast every morning. :-)


    Bookmark   November 3, 2005 at 12:01PM
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Ceresone, you have lost two, perhaps three or more complete eggs, yet no sign of pieces of egg shell or yolk. Something, or someone, has removed those eggs whole. You cannot fail to notice if eggs are being eaten by the hens.

So far as reduced production is concerned - if you are not giving supplemenary lighting then it is a natural consequence of diminishing daylength. Old McDonald.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2005 at 5:01PM
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ceresone(missouri ozarks)

no, i'm supplementing light-from 5 am till 7 pm. tonight, i found a little yolk on one egg, but in gathering every few hours today, i'm back up to 11 eggs.must describe this layout--lol--its fort knox! concrete block building and locks on 2 doors before you're in chicken part. 6' chain link pen, with cover on outside, i let the hens outside their run (into the orchard/garden) about 5 hours a day, and i'm always outside working, they do love the leftover garden tomatoes.
thanks everyone, next time i'm in town, its oyster shell---and golfballs!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2005 at 5:10PM
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mjw15618(Western Penn)

My hens love to eat eggs. When they first started laying back in August, I accidently dropped one of the eggs as I was collecting them. They devoured the whole thing - shell and all. I thought, ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww, cannibalism! Now I'll give them eggs every so often without any ill effects. They have ample feed and water, lots of greens and kitchen scraps, and a few handfuls of crushed oyster shells once or twice a week. Funny thing is, they never take it upon themselves to break any eggs. They'll only eat the ones I break for them. Spoiled rotten chickens!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 9:58AM
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Ceresone, OK you have egg eaters. Forget the golf balls and the oyster shells - total waste of money. I am not going to repeat arguments, just tell you I have had more hens than probably all the people who post here, and have never, ever used either. I did not keep the hens, they kept me!

Take a pair of nail clippers or small scissors. Catch up each hen and clip the point off the top mandible. Do not go so far back that you make them bleed, and do not clip the bottom mandible.

When the lights go off at 7 pm where are the hens? If they are not already roosting how do they see to get to the roosts? If they are roosting, and I guess they will be, then they want to rest before "lights off". Change you lighting pattern (but gradually over a few days) so that they have ALL the extra light in the mornings. That way they will go to roost naturally as the daylight fades and your eggs will be laid earlier in the day. Old McDonald.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 4:47PM
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marquisella(z4 NY)

I agree with Old McDonald. If you are going to use a timer, and want them to have some dark time, turn light on around 3am and off when natural daylight is sufficient.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2005 at 1:39PM
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I still sware by the gof balls (I work near one and get all the free balls I can find) but clipping is how hatcheries do it so give it a try.
One thing I keep forgetting to fix here is the the hens push the straw out of the way and then lay- sometimes an egg cracks when it drops from her, then they all eat the cracked egg. Effectively causing a terrible habit. The birds of course ate the styrofoam, still looking for something better to put under the straw.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2005 at 8:55PM
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ceresone(missouri ozarks)

the terrible thing is--i think i might have caused the problem!?! the ceramic eggs i put in the nest have a hole in the bottom--hens love to pick them up and carry around, i think this might have been what started the problem. so--i think the golf balls might be a big help.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 8:23AM
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Here is a link that might be useful: Golfballs

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 3:06AM
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I have about 10 laying hens i was getting about 7-8 eggs per day then all of a sudden i wasnt getting any eggs, well i said i guess i have a rat snake eating the eggs because there was never nothing in the hen house not even a egg shell. come to find out it was one of my buff hens eating all my eggs i caught her in the act. I got her out of the chicken pen fast as i could and now im back in the egg business. if you have a hen eating eggs cull that hen because they will teach the rest to eat the eggs and once they start they will not stop.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 9:12PM
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They need calcium. Try giving oyster shell free choice. You can get it at feed store.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 7:18PM
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I have two RI Reds that are about 29 weeks old and have been laying for about 2 months. I just introduced (15) 6 week old chicks into separate parts of the coop and run. One of the hens is now laying thin shelled or membrane only eggs a few times a week. She is also not going to the nesting box to lay, she is laying them either on the floor of the run, or the floor of the coop. The other hen is the one eating them (dominant one) and her eggs are fine. I found one this AM partially open and I'm going to add tobasco sauce to the rest of it and put it back in the coop with just the one that eats it! What else can I do?

Here is a link that might be useful: Judi's NH Chicken Quest

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 5:54AM
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