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The Living Without Series

This is a series of posts that I wrote back in 2006 on living with less stuff. Check them out: liv011Living #2liv031liv04

Coal Creek Farm on Facebook

The Chicken Doctor

April

The Architect

Clay

Ask the Chicken Doctor

AprilAngel

I think it’s time to start posting some of the great questions I get from readers, because they think I might know a thing or two about chickens.  I want to give all the other Chicken Doctors out there a chance to chime in their opinions.

Let’s start off with this delightful letter from Shorty in MN.

Dear Chicken Doctor,

I have six laying hens…..and they are cannibals!  Yes, cannibals.  They eat their young.  At first I thought it was only one or two of the hens, but I’ve discovered that they all partake in the egg eating parties.  I’ve put golf balls with hot sauce in the nesting boxes — that worked for a day.  I have ceramic eggs in there too.  Doesn’t help.  I do have one hen that is “settin'” on a golf ball.  Poor thing.  Maybe she figures if she can’t eat it, she may as well hatch it??
So, any advice?  How do I stop this cannibalism?  Is it even possible?  Do I need to roast these birds and start over?  (I can hardly bear the thought of buying eggs again).
Sincerely,
Short on Eggs in MN
Hi Shorty,
If they are cooped up all the time I would recommend toys, like a hay bale that you cut the twine on, but let them go to work on it.  Sometimes, I’ll  put the hay in and then throw a couple cups of scratch grains in the hay to keep them busy.  Distract them from the delicious eggs by giving them some dog food or meat scraps…they love it.  Remember chickens are not vegetarians, they are more like mini-garbage-eating rototillers.

To make you feel better I did have a broody hen that was a mess, she sat on a bunch of eggs, ate half of them and the others went rotten.  She was disgusting.  She finally got past her broodiness, but not before she gave my dog, Preacher, a swift kick in the pants. Never thought I’d live to see the day a hen attacking a dog.

I hope this helps a tad bit.  Stick to your guns, hope those darn chickens sort out their troubles.

Take Care,
April

Okay, smart readers, what would you do for your egg eating chickens?

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