We are on high alert here on the farm. It seems that we may have a cannibalistic chicken. There are many forms of cannibalism among chickens, but the problem we are experiencing is egg eating.
Obviously, since we are keeping our hens for the purpose of providing us eggs, egg eating cannot be tolerated.
Basically, if an egg gets accidentally broken in the nesting box (because there are too many eggs left there and they crack, or shells are too thin because of inadequate nutrition) a chicken may get a taste of yummy egg. Then, you've got a real problem on your hands. Chickens are smart enough to know how to get more, so they'll begin to intentionally break eggs to get more. How did the problem begin here? To protect the guilty, my lips are forever sealed on the topic. :)
Yesterday, I opened the nesting box to check for eggs and found a Dominique (one colored like this) eating an egg. It was almost entirely gone, shell and all. I wasn't sure what to do, so I shooed her away, cleaned up the remaining egg, and gathered the other 3 eggs out of the box.
Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens says that, "the only way to stop egg eating and keeping it from spreading is to remove the culprit early."
Remove? Remove her and put her where? The stock pot?
This chicken seems to be waiting for her friend to lay her egg. Is she the guilty party?
Because we have several Dominiques, I'm not sure which gal is the culprit. For now, we've got the chicken house positioned right outside the kitchen window so that I can keep a better eye on things out there. If we have a repeat and I'm able to identify the guilty gal, I've been instructed to catch her and move her to the other chicken pen.
Looks like it may be chicken for dinner this week. :(