Our hens recently started laying! We got our chicks back in January, so it’s felt like a long 19 weeks waiting for those glorious eggs. Unfortunately, not long after we started getting eggs, we started finding them cracked with perfect little beak holes in them.
When we first discovered the problem, we were worried we’d have to find the hen and turn it into dinner… But we put a lot of time and feed into these hens, so we decided to go to Google for some suggestions. Here are some tips that I found that worked for us:
Tip #1: Put fake eggs in the nesting box.
We used ping pong balls as our “fake eggs” because that’s what I happened to have on hand. The purpose of fake eggs is to show the hens that when they peck them, nothing happens. No yummy treat. So they move on and stop their egg-pecking. I was shocked by how quickly this worked! The next time I got an egg after adding the ping pong balls, it was in perfect shape.
Tip #2: Add more bedding to your nesting boxes.
This doesn’t necessarily stop the hens from pecking, but it helps make sure the eggs don’t crack when they drop into the box. I went ahead and stuffed our nesting boxes full, just in case.
Tip #3: Collect eggs several times a day.
I’m doing this right now because things are still new and exciting, but I know I won’t want to keep it up forever. That leads me to tip #4.
Tip #4: Use a slanted nesting box.
Ryan first opted to build his own nesting boxes because most were sold out, and the ones he could find were pretty pricey. We figured we could try a homemade option first and see how it went. We would probably be ok if we kept going like we are, but we decided to go ahead and splurge on a nice slanted nesting box that will last us a lifetime.
Slanted boxes are nice because once the hen lays her egg, it rolls into a compartment where she can’t reach it. This keeps the eggs safe from curious hens, and eliminates the need for me to check the boxes several times per day. I’m glad we seem to have solved the pecking problem for now, but it will be nice to not have to worry about it in the future!