I recently got this question from a reader and thought I’d pass it on.
Question: We got two new Marans this spring, to add to our older Maran and our two leghorns, who are the oldest. We now have the situation where every single white egg, possibly only when laid in a laying box, is smashed. It is opened on one side, sometimes with a smaller opening on another side; not flattened, though. Is this the aggressive move of another hen? What can be done about it? The white shells are much thinner than the brown but the browns do not appear to be tampered with.
Answer: It’s interesting that you only have problems with the white eggs. Because of thin shells I would first question the amount of calcium your flock is getting, if they are free ranging, they might not be getting enough. We typically use 5 pounds of crushed oyster shell to 50 pounds of feed. Make sure your chickens have access to some source of calcium at all times.
If they are free ranging, also make sure that they are not feeding near yards or gardens that have been chemically treated as this can sometimes thin the shell.
With regard to the destroyed eggs – go out to the coop often to gather the eggs before they can get pecked by others in the flock. Consider the fat intake of your birds, if your birds are craving fat, they may be trying to get it from the eggs (one broken egg is all it takes to get the taste) I would throw in some wild bird suet blocks to the entire flock (just a few) to see if it makes a difference. Be careful with the suet though, you want to give your birds a fat boost, you do not want to create fat chickens.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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