Friday, September 4, 2009

The Naughty Chicken

My chickens have only been laying eggs for two weeks and already I have a problem. One of my Buff Orpingtons eats her own eggs. Voraciously.

I have named her The Naughty Chicken.

Since she repeated the behavior for several days, I emailed the Carlisle Chicken Group for advice. One member suggested I put golf balls or wooden eggs in the nesting boxes. If the chicken pecked at these eggs they wouldn't break and the habit would be broken.

I put wooden eggs in the nesting boxes. This did not work.

Lisanne read in The Encyclopedia of Chickens that I should blow out an egg and fill it with pepper and mustard. Put the egg in the nesting box and let her eat it. A few days of mustard-filled eggs and The Encyclopedia thought my chicken would be cured.

This seemed like a big effort. But I was not quite ready to get rid of her (the only option if I couldn't cure her) and decided to pursue this strategy.

I quarantined The Naughty Chicken in a cage so that she wouldn't teach the other hens her bad behavior. I blew out a Country Hen egg (no way was I wasting one of mine) and filled it partly with mustard. I decided The Naughty Chicken was not going to be swayed by pepper. I reached for the Sriracha. For those who don't know Sriracha, it is a potent jalapeño chili sauce. I use it for Vietnamese cooking.

Here is The Naughty Chicken eating the Sriracha and mustard filled egg with gusto.

This went on for 3 days. But then... she stopped. Here she is in her cage with a wooden egg and the Sriracha egg. She would push the egg around but she wasn't touching it. By the end of a week she even laid two eggs in the cage that she didn't eat.

I don't know if it was the Sriracha. I think she was just lonely for her friends. I am happy to report she is back in the coop, albeit with a Zip tie around her ankle. If she attacks another egg, it will be easy to find her.

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