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New ex-bats eating their eggs

Discussion in 'Poultry Chat' started by Bratpack, Jul 1, 2010.


  1. Bratpack

    Bratpack PetForums Member

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    We picked up our 7 new ex-battery girls (warren crosses) yesterday, and of the four eggs today (already in their little factory systems), two had very soft shells, and by the time I found it one had broken (or been broken deliberately) and a hen was eating it. The other soft one broke as I was taking it indoors.

    They have a coop with 3 nest boxes, but none have laid in the boxes, and 3 eggs were laid outdoors, just where the hens stood. I know it will take time for them to learn to use the nest boxes (we have a fake egg in each which hasn't done the trick yet) but I've also read that once they get a taste for eggs they'll break them to eat them. The 7 are all very tatty, and I can't really tell them apart yet to work out who's laying and who's eating.

    I've been checking for eggs at least once an hour, but clearly wasn't quick enough for the broken one.

    Any advice on how to encourage them to lay indoors, and preferably in the nest boxes (the floor of the coop has plenty of shavings on it), and also how to deter them from breaking the eggs? These are our first hens.
     
  2. sullivan

    sullivan PetForums VIP

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    do they require some vitamins at all they may need building up . I THINK THEY LIKE A BIT OF OYSTER SHELL ALSO TO HELP WITH THE SOFT SHELL. sorry dont know to much about battery hens
     
  3. Bratpack

    Bratpack PetForums Member

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    Thanks. I'd read somewhere about the oyster shells, but we only got them yesterday, so I'll look into getting some, and some vitamins.

    I also read somewhere about giving them milk to drink (for calcium) - anyone heard that that's a good idea?
     
  4. sullivan

    sullivan PetForums VIP

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    id be a bit careful as i just phoned my friend who owns chickens she said she wouldnt give milk.it may upset there tums. . i think some of the oster shell you buy is one with added vits as its for getting the hen#bird in condition for laying...trouble is if your hens gets the taste of the eggs your struggle to get a egg from them if you dont remove them quick enough as as you said they get a taste for them. My mate just adds a bit to there coop in a shallow disjh or sprinkles a bit of oyster in there food. They do if let free run go for snails ect so there shell would help .Chickens also like a few weeds and chickweed.
     
  5. Bratpack

    Bratpack PetForums Member

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    Thanks again! I'll avoid the milk then, and get some other supplements tomorrow. Yes, they have a 16ft x 20ft run which has lovely grass at the moment, and a corner which is more gritty and bare where they've already been dustbathing (before it started to rain :rolleyes:), so I hope they'll get a variety of additional foodstuff - it's astonishing how quickly they start to exhibit "natural" chicken behaviour!
     
  6. BattleKat

    BattleKat PetForums Senior

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    You could try porridge for extra calcium. Our hens love the stuff and never had a chicken act strangely after eating it.

    Oyster shell or baked and crushed chicken egg shells, as suggested, should help :)
     
  7. Guinevere13

    Guinevere13 PetForums VIP

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    I used to get pigeon grit if oyster shell wasn't available. Mine used to eat their eggs occasionally too but didn't all the time. It may be they are just out of condition and this is the quickest way for them to build themselves up. Once they are ok and the shells are stronger they should stop doing it.
    My chickens used to like grapes, cabbage and sprouts :)
     
  8. paddyjulie

    paddyjulie PetForums VIP

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    They may just be about to Moult..perhaps thats why the eggs are like they are...once they start loosing their feathers they nearly all stop laying..you can buy them a tonic to help them get through it

    juliex
     
  9. Paddy Paws

    Paddy Paws PetForums Member

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    Don't give milk as their digestive systems are not geared up to digest dairy produce. They are much more likely to eat soft shelled eggs so the key is to get them laying normal eggs again. You can add either limestone flour and cod liver oil to their food or you can add a calcuim/vitamin D3 supplement called Zolcal D to their water or food. Don't over do supplementation though. Cut out all treats and stick to pellets or mash until the problem has resolved.
     
  10. gypsy

    gypsy PetForums Newbie

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    Oyster shell grit is good for soft shells but to stop them eating their eggs go across to the fields and pick some sorrel for them it stops them eating eggs and its free.
     
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