Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: egg-eating hens  (Read 1054 times)

epherdwicks

  • Joined Apr 2016
egg-eating hens
« on: January 14, 2023, 05:18:27 pm »
Two questions re new hens -
firstly, how do you train pullets to use a nest box, and
how do you stop them eating the eggs?  I have put two mustard-filled eggs in the box but someone is still eating them.  Would chilli powder be safe to try next?!

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: egg-eating hens
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2023, 08:20:25 pm »
Birds like chillies and don't perceive them as offensive.
To give your young hens the idea that the nest boxes are the ideal place to lay eggs, first make sure they are desirable. You need enough for one each or nearly so, the boxes need to be in a calm quiet corner of the henhouse, which itself needs to be large enough that the hens can have privacy. We line ours with straw but some people prefer wood chips.  Whatever you use it needs to be comfy and be suitable for making a nest in.  It can help to put a china egg in to encourage the hen, but if you use something to try to stop them pecking eggs, such as your mustard filled eggs, then it is going to put them off using the nestbox for its intended purpose! Instead, make sure you collect the eggs several times a day, so if any hens have access to the boxes there will be no eggs to steal.  Are you sure it's the hens pecking the eggs?  We have a problem with crows and jackdaws which are hard to keep out.  If you can't collect eggs during the day, you can arrange a set-up where the eggs roll away from where they are laid, rather like the way eggs used to be collected in a battery system.
I'm assuming your hens are free range, but if not then they will need toys, scratch areas and interesting food to peck to keep their interest away from the eggs.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Richmond

  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: egg-eating hens
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2023, 07:53:16 am »
They are probably bored like all hens in lockdown atm. As FW says, regular egg collections and fake eggs in the nest box is the best way to go. Also ensure good quality feed -layers pellets and very little in the way of treats. Hens sometimes seek out eggs for additional protein if they are not getting enough (maybe filling up on corn instead). If you find that it is one hen who is persistently egg eating then it is better to cull them rather than leaving them to teach the others the bad habit.

epherdwicks

  • Joined Apr 2016
Re: egg-eating hens
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2023, 09:19:00 am »
Thanks for these tips.

Yes, finding the culprit(s) is the problem.  I think a china egg is the next thign to try.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: egg-eating hens
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2023, 11:04:04 am »
Ceramic eggs have worked well for us. Certainly fools the offending chicken into attempting to break into them and knocking themselves silly in the process. We also have a hen that moves one (her comfort egg we call it) and sits on it when she lays a real egg in the middle of the coop. We have two types- white ceramic and brown rubber.


What we found was the youngsters coming into lay had a tendency to drop an egg off the perch during the night, which then broke on the floor and prompted the egg eating habit. The solution there was to create cushion flooring by putting opened out feed bags over a thick layer of wood shavings and getting to the coop early, before the hens started moving about, so those eggs could be removed.

 

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Ark Farm Livestock Movement Service

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2024. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS