What’s Up? Chicken Butt!
I’ve got eggs again!
The four Ameraucana pullets started laying! These pullets were born on January 11th or so, so they aren’t quite five months old yet.
My three older hens – Flower, Coco and Amelia Cordelia – also resumed laying after a bout of coccidiosis. I noticed that something was wrong about two months ago when these three would spend their afternoons huddled by the back patio door. At first I thought it was just because the weather was so awful, but it continued even after the weather improved. Then I began to see that their wattles were pale, they stopped laying, and their backsides were covered in diarrhea. First, I quarantined them and treated with Pig Swig per the local farm store’s advice. That seemed to help perk them up a little, but about two weeks later they were back to lethargic and pale. I decided after that to treat the whole flock with Corid (amprolium) for a week, and that did the trick! The old gals were back to perfect health!
But while I’ve got eggs again, I also don’t have eggs.
Confused? I was, too.
See, with the hens and the oldest pullets laying, we should be getting 7 eggs a day. Even assuming that not all the hens will lay an egg every day, I should still be getting at least four eggs a day. But I’m not. I’m getting maybe two eggs a day, three if I’m lucky. I wondered if they were laying in the woods or the long grass somewhere and I just wasn’t finding the nests. But, no. It’s worse than that.
They’re eating the eggs.
Most of the egg eating is happening in the early morning, inside the coop. The pullets are laying on the ground, and the shells of the eggs are pretty thin at this point. I’m going to try getting up earlier (maybe around 5:30?) to let them out and hopefully collect any early-morning eggs and see if that helps; I’m also going to install a new nest box and put out some dummy eggs to try to discourage pecking. I don’t want to cull any chickens, especially since I suspect they’re ALL doing it, so I’m going to be trying all the tricks I can find to nip this in the bud.
What do you guys think? Does anyone have any suggestions to stop egg eating?