Sledge's Chicklet Thread


#161

It wasn’t easy. I’d prefer have not had to do that. At least I knew it was quick, compared to some other methods I’ve seen.

Also, there was no difference in taste between a freshly killed and cooked chicken VS store bought chicken. This is NOT TRUE with eggs, however…totally different experience.


#162

I went to refill the waterer inside the chicken coop…something I don’t have to do but once a week…and I found 3 eggs! It’s too early for eggs so I don’t open the nesting box side of the coop every day, only when I need to refill water, so these eggs were here several days. We also have the actual nesting box area blocked off from the hens so they they don’t use them until they are ready for laying, which is why I found the eggs where the waterer is. My guess is they are from Pikipek since she was the one hen that stayed inside the coop by the waterer while we were catching Poad this past weekend. The eggs are all blue/green so they are from an Easter Egger…they most likely are her eggs. So now we will be removing the nesting box blockade and hopefully she will lay in the proper place…wasn’t ready for eggs quite this soon! I didn’t expect to see an egg until late August/early Sept. Easter eggers don’t typically start laying for 210 days (30 weeks). Today is Day 134 (19 weeks) so I am perplexed. They are very small eggs and not full size yet I’m thinking. About twice the size of a robin egg, or half the size of a large store bought egg.

For both of my breeds of chicken they said don’t expect eggs until at least 6 months old, and they can wait until around 8 months even.


#163

I had put the three eggs I found yesterday into the nesting boxes after opening them up to the hens. One egg in each box. But so far I am unable to find any of them! No signs of broken shells or anything. I don’t think the chickens would eat the eggs, let alone whole, and if so then why did they leave them for days in the waterer section? I’m going to totally remove the straw and go through them to see if I can find them but it’s raining and I don’t want anything to get wet. I’m very frustrated today. There are no eggs at all that I see in the coop anywhere.


#164

I went through all of the straw and still no eggs. Beneath the straw though, I had put a nice thick inch layer of cut grass for softness. The chickens buried the eggs a little beneath that and the straw they kicked all over the top. So I did find the eggs again but I had to go through all of the straw. Some of it got a little damp but oh well. I replaced the three eggs this time into just one of the nesting boxes altogether so if they feel like kicking and messing around in the straw again I only have to dig through one box.

I also have my security cams back up. Honestly these cams have been touch and go, especially with the power going on and off last night. I got the coop cam back on and I see Pikipek is inside one of the boxes now (not the one with eggs in it) and looks to be settling down to lay! She has been in there a good 15 minutes so far.


#165

We have an egg!

Like I said, they are about half the size of a store bought egg right now, probably because Pikipek is still so young. But still…she just laid it!

Here is a photo of the 3 “bad eggs” I’ve been using to show them where to lay in the boxes.


#166

I wish I could have turned Poad into a house pet chicken. Imagine a rooster running around the house and jumping on the couches.


#167

I showed this to my husband and, minus an expletive, he basically said no way in ___, no farm animals in the house!


#168

Haven’t had another egg until today! Sometimes when hens start, they will quit a few days before laying again. Also, the hens have been making an utter mess of the nests and have pulled out ALL of the straw, leaving just the layer of cut grass. I kept putting it back but they kept pulling it out, so until they mature some more I am leaving it all as-is.

One of the Brahmas was in the box just before I found this. Going to have to roll back the security cam footage to be sure, but this is an egg from a different hen, and it could be a Brahma since they lay brown eggs. The egg is pinkish brown and just the slightest bit larger than the Easter Egger teal egg. Each Easter Egger will lay their own color but continue to lay that color of egg, so this does not belong to Pikipek.


#169

Just had an abnormal, tear-dropped shaped small Pinkish egg, also broken…it looked as if it had been pecked. Yolk was still inside so thankfully nobody ate it and developed a taste because apparently that is a thing. While researching egg laying in young hens, I came across this:

Whhhhaaaaaa?!!


#170

I’m incredibly upset today. Still no eggs from the Easter Egger but the one Brahma that has started to lay has started to also peck and break her eggs. Two eggs I tried to recover were broken and I got to them soonish after she laid. I know she lays between 10-12 and we’ve had our cameras down as we’ve been trenching the wires for the entire security system…so I don’t see exactly when a hen exits the nesting box the past few days.

Well, today I was out trying to install a perch for them inside the run. I lifted the plank up and set it where I wanted it but had to go get something else for the job so walked away and came back. When I did so I saw the hens had already started to perch but as they saw me coming they got off…because they still fear me generally speaking. Well, I was working on this when I saw them all swarm something on the ground, and it was an egg. I don’t know if it dropped from the new perch and broke or if the hen dropped it accidentally and it broke on the ground from the fall from her tush, but either way it was like saying FREE BEER at a biker bar.

I screamed and waved my arms madly. Normally I am very quiet around my chickens…so much so I don’t always speak loudly to them either, just so they don’t scare all the time as they tend to do. Well, they couldn’t have cared less at my screaming. They just dog piled that egg. It took me all of ten second about to get into the run but by the time I got to it there was less than half an egg left. They eat shell and all leaving no evidence behind. When I left the throw out the broken egg bits elsewhere they cleaned up even the yolk from the dirt, only a wet stain left behind so you’d never even know they ate an egg.

So now I am thinking that the Easter Egger probably has been laying eggs, only they get eaten up if they fell in the run. Even the eggs in the boxes have been getting pecked if I can’t get them as soon as a hen gets done. I have had fake eggs in the box for a few days also that they have pecked at which is supposed to stop this from happening as well as teach them where to lay, but obviously they all know that eggs means treats inside because otherwise they would not have swarmed it so quickly…since they fear EVERYTHING new, including when I gave them night crawler worms. It took them a good 20 minutes to figure out they could eat those and still seem to have issues with eating sunflower seeds…which most chicken farmers say is like chicken crack to them. So they clearly equate eggs with food since they all dove in so fast.

I’ve read about different ways to break the habit but it’s super hard to do. I can either blow some eggs and fill them with mustard (which even some farmers say their chickens will eat despite they are supposed to hate the stuff) and/or hang curtains over the nesting boxes so as to make the insides too dark for them to see the eggs they lay. I can also remove all bedding inside the nests so that when they may peck at an egg it will roll and make it harder for them to get at. I can re-design the nesting boxes so that the eggs roll away and out of the coop but that would be a major renovation and doesn’t matter if they start laying in the run instead, dropping and breaking eggs to eat there.

I’m so frustrated right now I feel regret from going into this chicken endeavor. I just am so beaten up by things taking place in my life right now and physically drained from trenching for wires and cameras that I just…I don’t know…like I don’t think it’s even worth it anymore, this homesteading thing versus just buying the eggs in the store. No point in having chickens for eggs when you can’t get any if they eat or break them all. This is my angry depression talking though…I’m very worn out and after seeing that, I literally almost said to myself, lets just eat them all and be done with trying, because trying is always the first step towards failure.


#171

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.

@TrickshotMcgee


#172

I literally just went out to open the nesting boxes to put the easter eggs in and Kentucky Fried was inside Box 1 (I didn’t know which Brahma had been laying since I couldn’t tell from just the cameras when they were on, but now I know). Lifting the lid makes a lot of noise so it scared her out. I put the lid back down and will give her 20 minutes to lay and then run out and hope I can get to the egg in time! I hope this doesn’t ruin my chances of getting the egg or she lays in the run instead. Dang it this is why I need my cameras! So I KNOW when a hen is in the boxes!


#173

Well damn, you did this a very different way than I did.

I check for eggs 2 times a day, at most. Occasionally in the morning when I go to let them out and every night without fail when I go to lock them up.

Don’t really have much advice for you, though. I started off with chickens in a big ass coop, before they were laying age (they were still practically chicks, really), and had fed them scraps from all kinds of things since they were still living indoors from being newly hatched. Fruits, veggies, they pretty much eat anything we throw at them, as well as grass in our garden, bugs, calcium bits, and the regular layer feed I give them.

Hell, we give them eggshells and occasionally scrambled eggs when there’s some left over we don’t know what to do with. Never had an issue with eggs being eaten.

Honestly don’t know what the problem could be. But it is confusing me because it’s never been a problem for me.


#174

If you want, I can ask my grandfather tonight (who is a farmer as well and has raised chickens for years) what he does in those kind of situations.

From what I remember he never really had any problems (or at least didn’t mention it, maybe he has a trick to it).


#175

I raised mine up from being a day old, also indoors, and tried to get them to eat various things but they just were always so afraid of new things. It took 2 days to get them to eat a scrambled up mushed up egg yolk when they were chicks. The net said it was a great protein boost for newborn chicks and they would devour it, but I had to try a couple times because the egg would go bad under the heat lamp after a couple hours and nobody eating it. Eventually I got them to eat it and yes I would “peck” with my fingers at things so they would learn it was what to do, but they have always been difficult to get to eat anything but their feed and oyster crumbles. I have given them grass tufts from the yard and they pick at those. After all their run used to be grass when they were first introduced to it. The one thing I didn’t have trouble getting them to use was the nipple waterers on the buckets…the ones facing sideways. I couldn’t get them to use hanging nipples and it took a while to get them to eat their feed from buckets with holes and PVC pipe stuck in to help with feed saving.

I’ll start throwing random scraps in there. My main issue is I am lazy, and hate having to go in at night to clean up the scraps so raccoons or other critters don’t want to go in there after that. That was a main issue I had with the sunflower seeds. They just don’t seem interested fast enough initially to learn to eat new things and I need to go clean it all up. I think we tried lettuce last time. When they don’t eat that I can chuck it over the fence for the pigs. This is why I am shocked they so eagerly snap up the eggs.


#176

I’ve checked the nesting box twice since I last posted about Kentucky Fried being in there…no eggs. I looked in the run but if they dropped and ate an egg in there you’d never know it since they clean up in minutes. I didn’t see egg on anyone faces but then again, I saw them eat the egg yesterday and it all was gone so fast, nobody had a chance to get any on their faces. There’s no evidence leftover. I threw in a bunch of easter eggs in the boxes and one in the run (I don’t want them learning that they should lay in the run, but I wanted one out there for them to peck and hopefully learn to ignore if an egg does land in the run).

I’m thoroughly upset. I knew she was planning on laying when I accidentally startled her. She must have laid and they probably ate it. I’ll check one more time…


#177

Just went and checked again, no eggs and it’s noon, so it’s past the time when they would normally be laying. Either she laid or she didn’t, I won’t know. If she ran into the run and laid it out there it’s gone because I just looked. They’ve been pecking the fake easter egg but lost interest for now. I found a dead cicada and chucked it into the run. All of them went running. Gobi grabbed it but then dropped it after inspecting what it was. I don’t think it got eaten. They are used to me throwing them their cracked corn and dried mealworms so their natural instinct is to run for it, then once she realized she didn’t know what that bug was, she second thought it.

I got some green beans out of the garden and threw them in also. I figure they look kinda like night crawlers. They ran and grabbed at them, and are currently pecking to see if they are food I guess. I’ll go back tonight and hope they are all gone. I need a “smart” chicken to teach the others that it’s safe to eat things.

Unfortunately with my husband’s friends over and their kids, I won’t be able to be so fanatical about checking the coop for eggs during the right time; and when we go to Wisconsin, if they lay in the boxes I am sure they will eat them all before we get back in a few days unless the easter eggs I put in there fool them enough. I have 2 fakes in Box 1, 3 in Box 2, and 4 in box 3. This way since they prefer Box 1 the fakes hopefully won’t overcrowd them and they can still lay in there atop the fakes while the fakes provide peck-padding for a real egg. I don’t know. sigh It’s honestly more trouble than it’s worth. Just buy eggs in the store people.


#178

Please do. Also, let him know I guess that they are getting a standard grade chicken feed, 75% chick crumbles and 25% pellet layer feed since I am working on shifting them over to pelleted layer feed now that 2 are producing. They get oyster shell crumbles on the side provided in their own feed bin. Always have food and water available at all times also. The 2 laying chickens are about 20 weeks old now.


#179

I’m actually having a call with them this weekend (not tonight, my apologies).

But I’ll make sure to update you on this thread as soon as I do.


#180

Checked the nest box before going to bed…found an egg just outside Box 3, Brahma, no doubt Kentucky Fried laid it. It probably got rolled out during pecking? It was not broken though! I collected it and removed two easter eggs from Box 3 under the assumption that perhaps there were too many inside there (I had 4 in there) so she laid on the edge of the nest. Also noting that having more straw in this one (they preferred Box 1 and did most of the straw removal to that and box 2) could cause the egg to better roll out because the straw ended up over the raised lip of the box which would prevent an egg from being rolled out under normal circumstances. Anyway, I collected it so there is still hope.