Saturday, April 2, 2011

Q&A: Roosters Like Eggs for Breakfast!

Q:  My son has a hen and has been getting eggs, now they are all being eaten he thinks by the rooster so he took the rooster out...do you think that's what was happening?
A:  Hens will peck at and eat their own eggs.  They can develop a "taste" for the eggs, or sometimes if they are nutritionally needy, they will begin to look for something to fill that void in their diets.  Once started, the bad habit can spread like wildfire with the rest of your hens!  To nip it in the bud, collect eggs more frequently, if possible.  If the eggs are being cracked as the next hen settles in for laying her egg in a favorite nest box, a Roo may find it laying on the coop floor and he will eat it.  Once he discovers where the tasty treat comes from he may hunt and peck more of them on his own!  Can't blame him - fresh eggs taste wonderful, and are so good FOR you!
It may be the nest boxes need more padding - straw or paper shreds, or perhaps wood shavings - whatever you are currently using may be able to be improved upon, or find a fluffier substitute.  When the girls lay, the egg might make contact with something hard and crack - the next hen will spy it and eat it....Any precautions should be taken.

There are styles of separate next boxes that allow the egg to roll out the back after the hen lays it.  That way any hen will have no access to that egg until the owner retrieves it later on.  And, depending on how your chicken house is set up, I've seen where a "funnel" is added to the bottom of the nesting area, the egg rolls out of the hen and into the rubber funnel into a small padded chamber below.  Folks are so incredibly clever in figuring out how to solve this problem, it never ceases to amaze me.  There have also been stories of blowing out an egg and filling it with something distasteful to poultry....yes, they do have taste buds - not as many as humans have, however, and their taste buds are located near the back of the tongue. 
One of my new PEEPS...
 Another idea worth trying is to make sure the nest boxes are in a darker area (add denim or burlap privacy curtains, perhaps??) away from prying eyes!  Chickens like dark private areas only when they are going to lay or when it is time to roost for the night.  Hopefully the Roos and other hens will stay away from the nesting area and would not notice a new egg.

But, as always, prevention is the key, and there are times that once the habit is established in a flock of hens, they may all have to be replaced if any of these suggestions do not work.

Have a great weekend!
the ChickenWrangler

10 comments:

Angela said...

Your new peep is so cute! Have you named them yet?

That is very interesting about chickens eating their eggs. I have heard of it but I've not known anyone who has had that problem with their chickens personally.

Have a Great Day!
Angela

Larkrise garden girl said...

I think you have wonderful advice. That is so true about chickens pecking their eggs.It's best never to have them start the habbit by quickly picking up the eggs as you suggested.

Chatty Crone said...

Your new peeps are cute. I didn't know they liked eggs too!

sandie

Raspberry Lane Primitives said...

Wow, how informative this post it...never knew any of it!...I've been thinking of getting chickens so we can have eggs and sell them too....are they alot of work? do they get very stinky? and what about transmitting disease?

Thanks for stopping by my blog today...The bees are my first submission to C&D and they also accepted my 2nd and 3rd submissions for August and October so I hope to be a regular contributor....a long time dream come true for me...was always too busy before to submit anything. patti :)

Becky K. said...

Cute photo of your peep!

I've also read that they will eat eggs if their water or food supply runs out. We took some to market once and they did that there. The auction process took long enough that one laid an egg and then they ate it. It made me sad.

Nanniepannie said...

Very interesting.

Home Made Quilts By Granny said...

Thank you for the info. Trish

Maa said...

Denise passed on the link to your blog, as I'm looking at getting some chickens in the spring. She speaks highly of you. I'll be popping in regularly if you don't mind. Maa

kim said...

Something ate two of my husbands chickens and eat the eggs!!!!My fathernlaw said he seen a huge barn rat.Cant find where anything came in.

Carmi said...

I would like to know, totally unrelated to your post, but we have new hens and was wondering if there is a way to make the broody?