What's causing my chickens to eat their eggs?

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My chickens are eating their eggs, we feed them cracked corn, laying pellets, oyster shells, vitamins and worm medicine. We killed two that we thought were doing this but we have discovered there are more. Any help would be appreciated.

-- sandra (sandihere@mailcity.com), September 22, 2000



Are they overcrowded?

-- Mona (jascamp@ipa.net), September 22, 2000.

Are you sure they are getting enough to eat? Once I started feeding my chickens more, they stopped eating the eggs.

-- bwilliams (bjconthefarm@yahoo.com), September 22, 2000.

18 chickens in an area about 30 by 40 feet, 10 by 10 coup, with access to food and water at all times.

-- sandra (sandihere@mailcity.com), September 22, 2000.

Make that coop....... fingers and brain not connected. LOL

-- sandra (sandihere@mailcity.com), September 22, 2000.

Try gathering the eggs more frequently.

Also put in some ping-pong or golf balls. They peck at these and get no reward and that helps prevent egg eating behavior. Wooden eggs are good too.

And you might give them something to do by hanging greens of any sort from above, add your veggie table scraps too. Anything that keeps them from getting bored and getting into mischief. The hanging stuff moves and swings so they don't eat it up so quickly. I have also seen suet and greens hung in a net bag, like an old onion bag.

-- Anne (HT@HM.com), September 22, 2000.

Thanks all,

and Anne, I'll give that a try.

-- sandra (sandihere@mailcity.com), September 23, 2000.

Anne's golfball solution is what we used earlier this year for our hens and it has worked great! Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), September 23, 2000.

Once my hens developed this habit and like yours none of the customary reasons applied to them. I had good luck with darkening the nests.I cut thick ply black plastic in strips the width and height of the nesting boxes and stapled it to the top of the boxes, letting it hang down over the entrances like curtains. I then cut a slit for the hens to enter at each box. Worked like a charm. After about 2 months I took the plastic down and apparently they had forgotten about the habit because they never started again.

-- Marci (ajourend@libby.org), September 23, 2000.

Probably lack of calcium. Grind up their shells, and give this to them.

-- Judy (allsmile@ctnet.net), September 24, 2000.

How is the battle with the egg picking hens going? I am curious as to which solution worked incase I ever need it. I used to feed my chickens a layer ration as well as cracked corn, oyster shell and fresh foods like apples, carrots, and cabbage. They are crazy for carrot! the only time I noticed any eating eggs was after the eggs had hatched the hen ate the shell. Could this be some sort of protective thing like mother mammals eating afterbirth to deter predators? Or just calcium deficiency?

-- Alison Proteau (aproteau@istar.ca), September 25, 2000.

maybo you should get a roll away nest the chickens lay the eggs and the roll under neath them and out of the pooping and pecking range

-- drew (ata1hunt@aol.com), August 23, 2001.

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