Today I moved one of the fake eggs over a nest…you know, make it seems like I am taking some but they are being replaced by somebody laying them…and all of the chickens ran over to inspect and peck…like the dinner bell. I’ve read a lot on-line and this is probably one of the hardest things to break in a chicken. For solo chickens with this problem they say it’s just easier to cull the hen…but an entire flock you just can’t.
Egg Tally to date:
3 Easter Egger (laid when we didn’t know it and stayed there up to a week next to waterer, opened nesting boxes after.)
1 Easter Egger (laid in newly opened nesting box 1, retrieved within 5 minutes of laying)
1 Brahma (laid in nesting box 1, retrieved within an hour of laying)
1 Brahma (laid in nesting box 1, retrieved within 5 minutes of laying)
1 Brahma (ditto, but broken as if pecked, not retrieved for unknown span of time, cameras down)
1 Brahma (ditto, broken from being pecked, retrieved within 10 minutes of laying)
1 Brahma (ditto, but retrieved within 5 minutes of laying)
1 Brahma (dropped in the run and broken, eaten by all)
These are all eggs I have known about. The first 3 I didn’t feel safe to eat since they sat for unknown time in heat so used them for 1 day as nesting box eggs for training, removed afterwards and fed to the pigs after cooking. Of the rest I retrieved and ate 4 eggs.
But with this behavior and my cameras still down, I can’t retrieve them as fast as I have before. In fact I almost think that because I couldn’t retrieve them within 10 minutes or so, that is when this all started. I don’t know when my cameras will be back up because this week and next we are going to be full of people coming over or heading to Wisconsin, don’t have the time to hook up the system although we have finally finished wiring everything underground.
Getting the eggs was such an exciting time, but I am so disheartened and depressed over how fast they all ate that egg, and now this morning them rushing over to check out the fake one…
My birds have always been very afraid to try new things be it live worms or sunflower seeds. This means that they have learned the behavior that eating eggs is good, somehow some way…maybe the Easter Egger started to ley in the run or other eggs got broken out there I didn’t see. Somehow they learned it because my birds fear every new food, but they sure didn’t fear that egg yesterday. I spoke to a friend that raises chickens and he even gives eggs to his flock! He knows this is dangerous and every farmer says to NEVER EVER EVER do this because they learn to eat eggs. He says his hens come rushing over to them to eat but when it comes to their own eggs they have never once attempted to peck, break, explore, or eat them. Eggs have gotten laid in his run but everyone ignores them. He says when he breaks an egg on accident or when hard-boiled if they are too difficult to get free of the shell he just tosses it to the birds and they gobble it up, he says they can’t eat them fast enough! But he also says that his birds eat everything with zeal. He never had issues teaching them to eat sunflower seeds or worms. he even gives them lettuce, other fruits and veggies, and even watermelon which he says is their favorite! I try to give my birds something new and they all freak out and usually the food gets ruined or goes bad before they figure out it can be eaten. With the sunflower seeds, I had to mix it with cracked corn to get them to try it after a day of the seeds sitting in the run. Sunflower seeds are supposed to be like the chicken delicacy of delicacies. And yet even though his chickens eat everything he says but mushrooms and ants, they never touch their own eggs. He also doesn’t collect his eggs until after work, so they get laid in the morning or early afternoon and then they sit there until he gets home around 6pm to collect them…no problems. He’s even gotten lazy and not collected them for a day!
I’m at a loss but today I am going to confuse and freak them out in a major way by throwing in some fake easter eggs. They won’t be able to break them…even if they did nothing will come out. Some farmers said this worked for them…others said the hens figure out which ones are the real deal anyway. I guess we’ll see, because right now I have had the wind in my sails knocked so badly out of me I can’t help but feel apathetic towards raising chickens. It takes work, and I didn’t get them as pets although I do love and enjoy them…fun and silly to watch, great experience to raise from chicks…but if they don’t make eggs for me to eat I have no use for them, their time consuming care, or expense.