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Many hens few eggs

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by CrealCritter, Dec 30, 2018.

  1. Dec 30, 2018
    CrealCritter

    CrealCritter Super Self-Sufficient

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    I counted best I could the.othet day and I have like 32 hens. I'm still scratching my head just how this happened... About 1/2 of my hens are going on 2 years old, the rest are going on 1 year old. I'm getting like 5 eggs a day :( I'm finding eggs that have been eaten, so I got egg eating hens :( :( :( l already know at least 1/2 the hens need to go into the freezer (older ones). But what can I do about the egg eaters? Do you think the feed I give them is low in calcium? Would crushed oyster shells help with the egg eating?

    Thanks
     
  2. Dec 30, 2018
    frustratedearthmother

    frustratedearthmother Sustainability Master

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    This time of year you would probably need supplemental lighting to ensure more eggs. Are the hens eating the eggs or the shell? I've never had egg eaters eat the shell - they're looking for the goodies on the inside. If that's the case it's probably not calcium they're looking for. Do you put out grit occasionally? I'm certainly no expert, but maybe a higher protein feed would help?

    Mostly - if you can catch the egg eater - either pen it up or cull it. I don't think they ever stop once they start.
     
  3. Dec 30, 2018
    tortoise

    tortoise Wild Hare

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    They need light. When egg production drops off we run a light bulb in there 24/7. We also have 3 windows in the coop.

    They will molt even with the lights and they'll stop producing eggs until their feathers come back in. A couple months. I freeze eggs in spring and summer so I have eggs to use during molt.

    We had egg eaters a couple years ago. Turned out that a dominant bird wasn't letting others eat. They would roost above the nest boxes as the only safe place, and eat eggs because it was the only food they could get to. In our case, we culled the dominant bird and the egg eating stopped. We later switched to a larger coop with more roosts, and we throw kitchen food scraps on the litter spread out so resource guarding isn't a problem anymore. I believe the egg eaters were young roosters who were also culled. I'm not sure if any of ours were egg eaters and stopped completely on their own or if they were all culled.

    We also give our chickens deer and sheep heads and carcasses (ribs and spine). The pick the bone clean. We save tallow from butchering and feed that in winter. They're basically little carnivorous dinosaurs. If their feed is vegetarian you can bet there in there scheming a revolution. :gig

    You can also save eggshell, cook to kill bacteria, grind and feed back to them for calcium. But really, you will know if they need calcium - the shells will be thinner and break easily.
     
  4. Dec 30, 2018
    Hinotori

    Hinotori Super Self-Sufficient

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    Usually culling is the only answer for egg eaters. Best to separate some off and try to determine who's doing it. They teach each other.

    If I drop an egg and break it my hens will clean it up, shell and all, but they don't go to the nest to eat eggs. I've only had one egg eater and took care of her pretty quick.
     
  5. Dec 30, 2018
    Hinotori

    Hinotori Super Self-Sufficient

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    I provide oystershell. Egg shells break down easily for plants and are my prefered garden calcium supplement as they don't draw animals like bone meal.
     
  6. Dec 30, 2018
    Rammy

    Rammy Lovin' The Homestead

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    Get rid of the egg eaters. Once they start, its hard to break them. And then they teach the others to do it. You can sometimes break them of it, but not many are successful.

    You could also try getting or making roll out nest boxes. The egg rolls into an area where they cant get to it.
    I agree with FEM. Check the calcium level in thier food. Is it high enough? Do you give them oyster shell as a supplememt? Whats the protien level in thier feed?
    In the winter I give mine 22% super layer pellets for extra protien. In the summer I give just the 16%. Also, dont buy cheap feed. I did that once and got very thin shelled eggs, which led to egg eaters. I usually get the Dumor brand at TSC. They dont carry the super layer pellets. I get those at a local feed store.
    Mine are also on lights in the winter. I bought a cheap timer and set it so the lights stay on til about 9pm.

    I ended up having to get rid of all my chickens because of the egg eaters. Now if I find a broken shell, I completely clean the nest box so no residue remains. No egg eaters.
     
  7. Dec 30, 2018
    CrealCritter

    CrealCritter Super Self-Sufficient

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    As i suspected once they start eating eggs its hard to break them. They are eating shells and all. I have feed for them 24x7x365 18% all flock. I also use barn lime / deep bedding plus they have their yard which has plenty of small stones.

    I think i'm just going to put them all in the freezer and start over with a different breed maybe a dozen or so Golden Comet and raise some CCX for meat.

    IDK... Any recommendations on a good calm laying breed?
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
  8. Dec 30, 2018
    Mini Horses

    Mini Horses Super Self-Sufficient

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    Only ones I've had to be egg eaters, from the nests, were a couple Marans hens. Plenty of feed and free ranged, just preferred to eat eggs. any eggs, not just theirs. Caught right in the nest! No longer eating eggs, no longer here. It was a habit more than anything. No food challenges or shortages.
     
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  9. Dec 30, 2018
    Hinotori

    Hinotori Super Self-Sufficient

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    I can't recommend on breeds, really. I mostly just have silkies, which are brooding breed, not layers.

    I have easter eggers and ameraucana for my layers, but they are not super prolific for eggs. About 5 blue eggs a week in the first year. I just like my blue eggs and the birds' temperament.
     
  10. Dec 30, 2018
    sumi

    sumi Sustainability Master Administrator

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    Good egg layers... Here are some breeds and their approximate production numbers and egg shell colour, if that matters ;)

    Rhode Island Red 200-300 Brown Large/Extra large

    Red Sex link 200-280 Brown Med-Large

    Barred Rock 200-280 Brown Medium-Large

    Delaware 200-280 Brown Large/Extra large

    New Hampshire 200-280 Brown Large/Extra large

    Dominique 230-270 Brown Large/Extra large

    Australorps 200-250 Brown Medium

    Wyandottes 200 Brown Medium/Large

    Orpington 180-190 Brown Large/Extra large

    Welsummer 160-180 Dark brown Large/Extra large

    Marans 150 Dark brown Med-Large

    Sussex 200-250 Light brown Medium


    White egg layers:

    California Grey 300 White Large

    Leghorn 280 White Large/Extra large

    Campine 150-200 White Medium

    Holland 160 White Medium

    Lakenvelder 160 White Small-Medium

    Andalusians 160-210 White Extra large

    Ancona 180-220 White/Light cream Med-Large


    Blue-Green eggs:

    Ameraucana 150-180 Blue/Blue/green Med-Large
     
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