soft shells

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bclamp
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soft shells

Post by bclamp » Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:08 pm

I have a Cotswold black tailed chicken. She is now thirteen years old and still lays. I have also so some young Lohmans. The old girl started to lay a soft shell and it was eaten. I am now having a problem that all the eggs are getting broken and eaten. I have filled a blown egg with salt and that has been eaten as well. My chickens have layers pellets, oyster shell and grit, vitamins in their water and have a big run and freedom of an orchard. Has anybody any more suggestions.
I really dont want to cull the old girl as she has been so good but I think she started it.
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Marigold
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Re: soft shells

Post by Marigold » Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:37 pm

Hi bclamp and welcome to the Forum.
My goodness, that old girl has done well, hasn't she?
If you suspect that she is the culprit, could you perhaps isolate her for a day or two, to see if she lays and eats it? Or put another egg in her box to see what she does with it? If the others then lay in a separate box and none are eaten, you have your answer and will have to decide what to do about the oldie. If any of the eggs from the younger hens are eaten in her absence, you'll have to do more detective work along the same lines until you find the culprit.
The trouble with egg eating is that it starts with one hen, often as a result of a soft shelled egg breaking in the nest box, and then everybody gets the idea and piles in. I'm afraid egg eating is almost impossible to cure and if the hens are important to you as pets, you have to put up with it. If the eggs are important, then you have to find out which hen or hens are responsible and then decide whether or not to cull them.
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LadyA
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Re: soft shells

Post by LadyA » Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:57 am

I'm afraid I agree with Marigold. Egg eating is almost impossible to stop once it's started. Your other option would be roll away nest boxes, if you can install them? Then the eggs would be out of reach of the hens.
Lead me not into temptation. I can find the way myself!
Shadrach
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Re: soft shells

Post by Shadrach » Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:51 am

I agree with those above. LadyA's idea of a roll away nest box usually works.
Are the eggs that important?
Could you be around enough to collect the eggs straight after laying?
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rick
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Re: soft shells

Post by rick » Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:27 pm

Shadrach wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:51 am
Could you be around enough to collect the eggs straight after laying?
Totally agree that that is pretty much the only solution. And the bad habit does diminish fairly quickly, given the chance. - Its just not that easy in a lot of practical situations.
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chrismahon
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Re: soft shells

Post by chrismahon » Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:42 am

We have had success with pot eggs which you can buy to promote broodiness. You can also get rubber eggs. Basically they bash themselves stupid trying to get into the pot egg and that breaks the habit.

Putting mustard into a blown egg doesn't work as they eat them and it then promotes the bad habit. Salt is effectively a poison to a chicken given in large doses, so I would definately avoid using that.
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Marigold
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Re: soft shells

Post by Marigold » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:49 pm

Pot eggs or eggs stuffed with mustard etc only work if no other newly laid eggs are available, so you still have to be there to remove the real ones the moment they're laid.
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