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    • CommentAuthorklb
    • CommentTimeDec 14th, 2010 11:27am (Dec 14th 2010) edited
     
    Good morning

    Our chucks have not been laying as normal, we put it down to the extremely cold weather, though we did not have a problem last year, which was equally as cold!

    Anyway, we have been aware that there have been a few broken eggs lately, and we do keep a careful eye on things, checking every 15 minutes or so.

    This morning however, one girlie, Mildred, has been wanting to lay, and there are a few places around the garden where she can, but is continually followed by Dora, and has just turntailed and run out of the box.

    I have read somewhere about egg eating, and how it can be the end of the road for egg yield, is this true? Any advice on this predicament would be gratefully received. Please someone, can you help?

    Katie (klb)
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeDec 14th, 2010 11:35am (Dec 14th 2010)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Hi Katie,

    I think the usual method is to provide a nice dark nest-box for the hens to lay in, but if yours are used to free-ranging and laying in the garden, that might be difficult! :face-smile:

    Our hens have stopped laying altogether for winter (not enough hours of light in the day), but if you are finding broken egg shell and yolky-hens then that's a pretty sure sign someone is been a naughty chicken!

    Other than collecting the egg before the hen has chance to eat them, it's a difficult habit to break...

    Maybe double-check the hens have all the nutrients they need - I'm not sure if they'd be more likely to eat eggs if they had, say, a calcium deficiency but you never know!

    Hope this helps, hopefully someone with better knowledge will have more to say on the matter!

    Cheers

    Neil
    • CommentAuthorklb
    • CommentTimeDec 14th, 2010 12:23pm (Dec 14th 2010) edited
     
    :chicken_catch::chicken_catch:Thanks Neil,

    Since I posted the original post a few minutes ago, we have successfullu retreived an egg from Mildred, and now we have put Dora in the coop on her own for a while. She is the naughty one!!

    I dont think there is a nutrient deficiency, as you will not find better looked after chucks than these three girlies. Their combs are a vivid red, and that is usually the first sign of a health problem. I give them cider vinegar with their water, though lately, not as often as we have been busy trying to keep the water from freezing. ( I even caught my husband with and electric heater inside the run. He said he was warming up the straw!!
    • CommentAuthorollie in UK
    • CommentTimeDec 14th, 2010 5:02pm (Dec 14th 2010)
     
    Now "Warming up the straw"!
    What love and dedication that shows. I bet there aren't many chicken-keepers on here that go to those lengths.

    Keeping the chuck's drinking water from freezing is a frequent problem in winter. Has anyone tried one of those heaters that go into fish tanks?

    I was sure there was a thread about chucks eating the eggs but I can't find it now.
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeDec 14th, 2010 5:17pm (Dec 14th 2010) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    :welcome:

    Sometimes egg eating is only done by the chicken at the bottom of the pecking order (if she is chased away from food too often she will turn to eating her eggs in frustration) and so it will only be done once a month or so – Milly used to do this when Tilly was being particularly mean!

    Other times egg eating can be a result of your laying hens lacking certain vitamins and minerals, so if egg eating does become a problem it’s a good idea to be sure you’re feeding your chickens layers pellets, and add an extra source of calcium for your hens, such as oyster grit or crushed egg shells. You should also check that there is at least 15% protein in your layers pellets, 16%+ is ideal. If not feed them extra protein such as mealworms (not too many they're very fatty!)

    One way to combat egg eating is, obviously, to try and collect the eggs as soon as they are laid. Another tip is to put ‘fake’ eggs in the nest box, such as rubber joke eggs or even golf balls! This is so that, eventually, your chicken will get bored of pecking at something which appears to be an egg and getting no snack in return!

    Keeping the egg box dark is another good idea. You can do this by adding ripped sheets of bin liner or sacking above the entrance to the nest box; your chickens can still easily get into the nest box and it does make the egg box much darker.

    Some people also believe that hollowing an egg shell and then filling it with mustard or something spicy will also teach chickens not to eat the eggs, however results vary and it’s not a definite solution.

    Hope this helps :face-smile:
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeDec 14th, 2010 5:21pm (Dec 14th 2010)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Oh as for the freezing water I did once read somewhere that you can buy pet-safe 'anti-freeze' to add to their water (I kid you not) but I don't know anything about it - try asking your vet....? :face-smile:

    They're fine without water for a while though, if you can defreeze their water two or three times a day then that will be fine - fill it with lukewarm (not hot!) water so that it takes longer to freeze again.
    • CommentAuthorleevaux
    • CommentTimeDec 14th, 2010 6:39pm (Dec 14th 2010)
     
    My Ex bats have had a spell of egg eating and i have put curtains up in front of the nest box,s and ha presto no more egg eating !!!!!!!! :face-smile:
    • CommentAuthorklb
    • CommentTimeDec 14th, 2010 8:43pm (Dec 14th 2010)
     
    :chicken_catch:Thank you all for your comments about our problem of egg eating chucks. I will take the advice about darkening the nest box a bit more. We have this evening put in some porcelain eggs. So we will see what happens next! I will report back tomorrow. Thanks again peeps.
    Katie ( klb)
    • CommentAuthorTrevs Mum
    • CommentTimeDec 15th, 2010 2:38am (Dec 15th 2010)
     
    I dont have hens Katie (but I love them heaps) and have heard from friends that the 'fake' eggs were very successful in breaking the egg eating habit.

    Lee how sweet, curtains, I have visions of little frilly floral patterned 'Laura Ashley' curtains on curtain rods that you can open or draw closed
    as needed. he he he :face-smile:
    • CommentAuthorleevaux
    • CommentTimeDec 16th, 2010 7:34am (Dec 16th 2010)
     
    Nothing quite like that Julie just a couple of old tea towels i am afraid but you are right they do look good especially when one of the girls is popping her head through the gap in the middle very funny.