Life Among the Cannibals


I’m still fighting this egg-eating behavior with my girls, and it’s gotten really frustrating! Most sources advise culling the individuals doing the eating, but I’m afraid the problem is too widespread for that. I’m determined to break the habit instead of getting rid of half my flock, but they aren’t making it easy.

They refused to lay on the platform system we built last month, so I took that out a few days ago. But they will not leave the nesting material in the boxes. Doesn’t matter if I use wood chips or straw or how many times I replace it, they scratch it all out within a couple of hours and end up laying on bare boards, which of course leads to cracked eggs, which leads to continued cannibalism. Plus, the broken eggs in the boxes mean that the intact eggs I do manage to find are covered in goop and have straw and dirt stuck to them.

I’ve been collecting eggs very frequently and taking as many as possible right out from under the hens before the others get access to them. Still found evidence of multiple broken eggs every day, so yesterday I added boards to the front of one set of boxes. I hoped this would contain the straw as well as make it harder for them to see eggs in the boxes and therefore less tempting to jump in and eat them.

This morning, it was obviously working. In the boxes with the high front partitions, I had seven beautiful, clean eggs in nests of beautiful, clean straw, while in the other set of boxes, the little bit of straw they hadn’t scratched out was filthy and had three dirty, goop-covered eggs in it.

Probably don’t need to mention that I immediately went and found more boards to add to the front of those boxes, removed all the nasty straw, and replaced it. And by early afternoon, I had two beautiful, clean eggs in one of those nests. I don’t know yet if this will be a long-term solution, but it’s working for now.


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