Episode 42 Show Notes

Happy Eggs Benedict Day!

Today is one of the most important, yet under-appreciated, holidays of the year. Yes my friends, it is Eggs Benedict Day. To celebrate, here is a link to the Eggs Benedict recipe Suzy uses.

What Do You Do with an Egg Eater?

Craig sent us a message on Facebook asking how to get a hen to stop eating eggs.

Egg eating is usually the result of an accidental break. If an egg lands to hard in the nesting box and breaks open, all it takes is a curious hen exploring it with her beak to figure out that there is yummy stuff in those eggs.

To help avoid this in the first place, make sure you always something soft for the eggs to land on in the nesting box. We use pine shavings, which work well but you do need to check to make sure they don’t all get scooped to one side or kicked out of the nesting box over time.

Weak shells can also cause breakage if one hen steps on eggs left behind by other hens. Make sure your flock has access to oyster shell to keep their egg shells nice and strong.

Once a hen has acquired a taste for eggs, the best way to break her of the habit is to make up a few mustard eggs. Take a few eggs and make a small hole at the end of each. Empty out the egg content and replace it with yellow mustard. Place the eggs back in the nesting box and let the offending hen discover them. Chickens hate yellow mustard, and it shouldn’t be too long before she decides she doesn’t want to crack any more open.

What Do You Do with a Bully Hen?

Anytime you have more than one hen in a flock, there will be a pecking order, or hierarchy, where every hen knows her place. When chickens grow up together as chicks, they actually figure out pretty quickly who is the top hen. Once everyone knows their place, there is little need for bullying aside from the occasional peck on the head to say ?get out of my space!”

If you were to add new hens into that flock, you will find some serious bullying behavior as the senior hens all try to maintain their status. After a week or so, the new pecking order will be established and the flock should again be at peace.

There are times, however, when a hen gets crank and decides to be mean just for the sake of being mean. We had a Golden Laced Wyandotte like this. We called her Atila the Hen.

This type of persistent bullying for no reason can be dangerous if allowed to escalate. It could lead to the injury or death of other hens.

Bullying is usually caused by overcrowding or boredom. If your hens are too crowded, they will get on each others nerves more often because they don’t have the space to get out of each others way. If possible, give them more space or let them out of the coop more often.

Chickens spend two-thirds of their time foraging. If they are locked up in a coop and cannot do this, they can get bored and start to annoy each other. Keep chickens busy by hanging a head of cabbage for them to peck at. You can also turn a water bottle into a treat dispenser then can peck it to stay busy.

If those things don’t work, you can try separating the bully hen from the flock for a week to ten days. Make sure you keep her where the other flock can’t see her. Once they think she is gone, they will find a new pecking order that does not include her. Then when you bring her back, they may not be as quick to let her take the top spot again. You may have to do this several times for it to work.

In the end, if that doesn’t work, it may be time to consider finding her a new home.

 

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