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Egg problems
#1
Hi



I have 4 hybrid chickens, 2 are about 2.5 years old and 2 are about 2 years old. 1 of the chickens does not lay at all now, 1 lays about 5 eggs a week and the other 2 are laying regularly but eating their eggs.



I have increased their calcium by giving them lime-stone flour coated sunflower seeds as a treat and adding shell-max to their water. This has improved the shell quality slightly but they are still eating the eggs.



The run they are in is about 4m x 3.5m, they have 2 feeding stations and 2 nest boxes. I had problems when I first started keeping chickens as one of them was very aggressive and drew blood and ate feathers so we eventually had to get rid of her. However, the 2 egg-eating chickens have got still got continuous bald bums (no blood).



I feed country-wide layers pellets and occasional treats of sunflower seeds and meal worms. Very rarely, I put in some greens. The reason I don't feed many additional treats is because of the initial pecking problem we had when I was advised that I should just feed layers pellets as a complete diet with no additions.



This is the first time I've kept chickens and I feel like I must be doing something wrong as I keep having problems. Any advice/suggestions would be appreciated.



Thanks <img src='http://poultrychat.com/oldforumIcons/style_emoticons/default/smile.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Smile' />



456cat
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#2
Could you get rollaway nest boxes?

These are available from good chicken equip outlets.
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#3
I've ordered a couple this morning so hopefully they will help. I was really wondering if it's something I'm doing wrong as we've had problems from the word go, or is it just bad luck?
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#4
Just bad luck I'd say, some birds once they get the taste for eggs just will not stop and the others copy. As far as feather pecking is concerned if you still have a problem, I've had good results from Johnsons anti-peck spray. Used every morning on the bird/s that is pecked for 2-3 days soons breaks them.
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#5
Do they perch at night? Am wondering if they might have lice maybe and are pecking their feathers in their bums themselves? Try adding some cod liver oil to their feed as well, that helps calcium be absorbed
If they can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love.
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#6
I tried the anti-peck spray when we had the initial problem 2 years ago and it didn't help. I treat for lice so would be surprised if it was that - also 2 of the chickens are absolutely fine with no missing feathers. I'm adding cod liver oil to the sunflower seeds to make the lime-stone flour stick.



I'm pretty sure that I'm doing everything right and have tried all the things I can but everyone else seems to find chicken keeping easy with few problems. <img src='http://poultrychat.com/oldforumIcons/style_emoticons/default/sad.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Sad' />



Oh well, thanks for the advice - I'll just keep trying!



456cat
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#7
[quote name='456cat' date='14 May 2011 - 09:22 PM' timestamp='1305404560' post='234264']



I'm pretty sure that I'm doing everything right and have tried all the things I can but everyone else seems to find chicken keeping easy with few problems. <img src='http://poultrychat.com/oldforumIcons/style_emoticons/default/sad.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Sad' />



Oh well, thanks for the advice - I'll just keep trying!



456cat

[/quote]



It sounds to me as if you are doing a very good job and obviously care a great deal about your girls. You said it yourself youre doing everything right. Don't beat yourself up, we do all have problems believe me, thats how we have so many ideas of how to deal with them, practical experience and sound advice from older, wiser chook keepers who've been there, done that and got 3 T shirts.
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#8
The egg eating is a curse, there are many and varied solutions, such as fill a shell with mustard, or that stuff you put on a kids nails to stop them biting them, no proof that any work. The only way your going to slow in down is by collecting eggs frequently thru the day, or the roll away box method. Hens do eat feathers, it is a source of calcium for them, but that of course dos'nt include ripping them from a fellow hen. As a previous post says anti peck spray, usually works. Best of luck.
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