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Mea

Chicken Problem.....

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This years chickens are just begining to lay. They are a bit later than we usually like to have, but our Agway store had trouble even getting any this past spring.

 

DH is so disappointed that there seem to be two of them that like to peck the eggs that are laid. If he doesn't pick an egg up right away..it will soon be gone.

 

They have feed, grit, oyster shells and fresh water at all times. But we are wondering if there could be something else they need and if we get that for them, perhaps they will stop.

 

We are considering getting our chicks straight from a hatchery next spring. The store bought ones have not been as good the last couple years. DH also says..'if the hens don't knock it off...chicken and biscuits !'

 

Just thought i would post the question and see if anyone else has had this problem...and how they fixed it. Thank You. Mea.

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One of the old wive's tales I've heard is to put about a quarter cup of vinegar per gallon of fresh water. It's supposed to furnish something they need and they stop pecking, but it's hard to tell if it works. Still, it might be worth a try.

 

I just had to gather eggs earlier in the day, and several times. :shrug:

 

 

 

 

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Shoot I use to know why they did that (it use to be so nice when I had a brain!!)....they're lacking something in their diet that they need. We use to raise chickens all the time and the vet told us that. I can't remember what we gave them to make them stop. I'll try to remember or check it out and get back with you.

 

Chickens are funny, I love them. Thinking of getting some more with everything that's going on, but not until spring.

 

Okay a fact here, did you know chickens can have Chicken Pox!! They can and I doctored everyone of ours about 20 at the time. You wouldn't believe the things I've done taking care of animals. Okay off to check.

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Chickens may eat their own eggs if they aren't getting enough protein or calcium in their diets. Make sure your feed has enough of both. Oyster shell and cooked, pulverized egg shells can be fed to the chickens to increase mineral consumption.<LI>Sometimes chickens eat eggs if the shells aren't strong enough, which could be due to lack of calcium, vitamin D3, or an infection.<LI>Egg eating usually begins when the shells of the eggs become weak, the egg breaks when the hen steps on it and then she eats it. The egg eating hen usually has "egg on her face" literally. In addition to feeding oyster shell as a free choice supplement to laying hens, darkening the nest box by either moving it or adding a cloth curtain should help the problem.<LI>Sometimes people think chickens are eating their eggs when in fact it is rodents or another animal, or they are laying in another place besides their nestbox.<LI>Chickens who are bored will sometimes peck at eggs, and discover they are tasty. Once the habit starts, it is hard to break. Be sure they have plenty of other things to eat, a variety of things to eat, and exercise.<LI>Be prompt when collecting the eggs so they have less opportunity to peck and eat them.

 

  1. It is necessary to stop the habit early, because if this goes on too long it will be nearly impossible to break.
<LI>
  1. Prevent the habit from starting.
  2. Line your nests with soft padding to decrease the likelihood of an egg breaking. The habit most often starts when an egg breaks accidentally and the chickens start pecking at the broken egg. Also, limit nests to one nest per every 4 (or less) hens to prevent crowding. If too many hens use the nest, eggs are more likely to get trampled or break.
  • Sometimes, the habit can be traced to a nutritional deficiency. Make sure you are feeding your chickens the proper diet.
  • Egg eating can also occur when the light is too bright, nests are on the floor, when there is insufficient nest litter.
  • Some farmers throw broken or cracked eggs on the floor for chickens to eat. Don't do this.
  • When an egg breaks, clean it up as quickly and thoroughly as possible to prevent the chickens from tasting the egg.
  1. Count the eggs to see if you are getting most if not all of the eggs that were laid. If not, then perhaps one or more of the chickens are eating their own eggs.
  2. At a golf shop, request some very well used golf balls. You will need 2 golf balls per nest.
  3. Insert golf balls into the nests. Keep regular eggs collected.
  4. Wait 1-2 days and the egg supply should return to normal. Leave the golf balls in the nest. Chickens trying to peck the balls will discover they don't break like regular eggs, and may give up on trying to peck their own. The chickens seem to lay all their eggs in the nest without having them scattered.
  5. Collect eggs as often as possible - more than once a day, if you can.
  6. Try feeding them liquid milk for a few days.
  7. Try to identify the chickens which are eating the eggs- often it is only a few. Look for yolk on the beak, and try observing the chickens to see if you can catch them at it. As a last resort, remove these hens from the flock or trim about 1/4 to 1/2 inch off the upper beak.

I went to several sites and they gave almost the same information. Went to different forums and most of them used golf balls or fake hard eggs...very interesting! Also said the chicks liked to be out and not confined, don't know what difference it makes to a chicken, but maybe the girls like to roam a little. Anyway that's what I found.

 

 

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Trimming the beak is an awful process--you normally use your car's cigarette lighter to burn it--but the only other option I've seen work is depopulation. Do it quick, before the habit spreads.

 

If you have any of those onyx eggs they used to sell in gift shops and Pier 1, stick those in the nest.

 

If someone's around the house, collect eggs at Dr. Pepper Time: 10, 2, 4.

 

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Thank You to all who responded.

 

I checked the feed label...it is a 15% protein Laying Mash. They do have oyster shell available at all times. I keep thinking that perhaps they might need greens or something like that. DH believes that it is two hens in particular, that hang around the nest box instead of roaming as the other hens do,

 

The last few years, DH has not been happy with the chicks from the feed store. Last years chicks...now hens, are not consistant in their laying, and one hen has soft shelled eggs quite often. This years chickens are a rowdy bunch...like to peck his hand when he feed them. Weird ! Because we got them so late, they have just begun laying.

 

Raising Any kind of critter is just plain *fun* ! ;) Mea.

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When ours started pecking, I would pick them up by their legs and just hold them upside-down for a bit. If they were particularly nasty, I'd swing them just enough to get their attention. Kind of like showing them who's boss.

 

After a while, they got the message.

 

If I was gathering eggs under them... I understand that and ignored it. Or if they pecked at my shiny ring. I wouldn't "punish" them for natural actions. Only if they just seemed to be trying to "act up". ;)

 

 

 

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Or if they pecked at my shiny ring. I wouldn't "punish" them for natural actions. Only if they just seemed to be trying to "act up". ;)

 

 

Somehow i think it might be DH ring. He uses his left hand, with wedding ring, to pour the feed in the tray. That "seems" to be about the only time it happens. It would be very awkward to do it right-handed, the way things are situated.

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Try feeding some raw chopped liver or cheap dry cat food. Your lay mash is too low in protein. I aim for 18% protein for the layers.

 

 

 

Thank You. I was a bit surprised to see that level protein when i read the label. We'll see what we can come up with. ( cat food...dry or moist ?)

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I may have an egg eater problem as well.

 

Yesterday I found one of my pullets had laid an egg in the straw on the floor of the coop. My hands were too full of laundry to carry it into the house, so I sat it in a nest box to wait for my next trip out. A few hours later I found it was missing.

 

I'm hoping mine was taken by a squirrel. It was in the nest box by the open people door. Squirrels pass by there on the way to my garden to bury their nuts.

 

I filled an egg with mustard and blue food coloring this morning and it is still in the nest box. I've been out there observing a lot today, so the squirrels are staying away. So far none of my hens have taken it.

 

I sure hope it was just a squirrel.

Edited by Homemaker

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Warning about cat food: When my hens get to the cat food dish on the front porch, we can taste it in the eggs. We use plain Purina in the blue bag.

 

Our hens free-range now, and scratch up lots of protein. When they have to be penned, we like to cook bones until they're soft and throw them in; we also routinely throw them the picked-over backs, ribs and necks of cooked chickens, which disappear with a quickness.

 

I would hesitate to feed my chickens raw meat, since that might give them a taste they can satisfy by pecking one another to bloody bits. I would especially hesitate to feed them raw liver, since the liver is (in large part) the sewage treatment plant of the body. We like being able to eat uncooked eggs without worrying what kind of diseases the hen might have picked up.

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Homemaker, take a look around the area under the hay... My hens bury eggs in the straw to hide them, your's may have too.

Edited by Leah

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Leah,

We looked around in the hay. I had just cleaned out the coop a few days ago, so there wasn't much built up in there yet. It's a mystery. My "special" trap egg was still in there when I closed them up last night. If I have an egg-eater, it's not a chronic situation... yet.

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I threw some dry catfood to my girls yesterday and most of them didn't care for it. The ones that are molting were scarfing it down. I guess their body tells them they need it.

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I've always heard that once a chicken figures out that eggs are "food" there's pretty much no way to make them stop except to turn them into your next meal. Now, I know some people that crush their egg shells so fine the chickens don't realize it's egg parts and add that to their food. So they get the nutrients from the shells, but the shells have to be so crushed the chickens don't realize what they are eating.

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I may have an egg eater problem as well.

 

Yesterday I found one of my pullets had laid an egg in the straw on the floor of the coop. My hands were too full of laundry to carry it into the house, so I sat it in a nest box to wait for my next trip out. A few hours later I found it was missing.

 

I'm hoping mine was taken by a squirrel. It was in the nest box by the open people door. Squirrels pass by there on the way to my garden to bury their nuts.

 

I filled an egg with mustard and blue food coloring this morning and it is still in the nest box. I've been out there observing a lot today, so the squirrels are staying away. So far none of my hens have taken it.

 

I sure hope it was just a squirrel.

 

 

I'm guessing it was a snake that ate the egg. Squirrels find it difficult to transport an egg, so they'd eat it there. Same with an egg-eating chicken... you'd find the shell.

 

 

 

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I may have an egg eater problem as well.

 

Yesterday I found one of my pullets had laid an egg in the straw on the floor of the coop. My hands were too full of laundry to carry it into the house, so I sat it in a nest box to wait for my next trip out. A few hours later I found it was missing.

 

I'm hoping mine was taken by a squirrel. It was in the nest box by the open people door. Squirrels pass by there on the way to my garden to bury their nuts.

 

I filled an egg with mustard and blue food coloring this morning and it is still in the nest box. I've been out there observing a lot today, so the squirrels are staying away. So far none of my hens have taken it.

 

I sure hope it was just a squirrel.

 

 

I'm guessing it was a snake that ate the egg. Squirrels find it difficult to transport an egg, so they'd eat it there. Same with an egg-eating chicken... you'd find the shell.

 

 

 

That is what I figured. You might need to employ a glass egg to kill the snake.

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