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Here are several reasons why I leave a few fake eggs in my nesting boxes.
Encourage Laying in the Nesting Boxes
Before my new pullets began laying this summer I decided to order some ceramic eggs. I didn’t want to deal with eggs being laid in odd places or just under their roost. I ordered these eggs and they worked! They’re super cheap – I paid around $5 for this set.
I just left the ceramic eggs in the nesting boxes and slowly but surely my pullets got the idea. Eggs only in the nesting boxes!
I wrote ‘fake’ on the eggs so I accidentally didn’t collect them. They definitely have a different feel and weight to them, but my Mom collected them once because she wasn’t sure (telling on you, Mom!) I’m pretty sure my hens can’t read…so I didn’t mind marking them.
No More Egg Eaters!
Ugh. This is one of those things that just makes me so frustrated. Reaching into the nesting box and right into gooey leftovers from somebody’s snack. I didn’t have a consistent ‘egg-eater’, but every now and then somebody would get a hankering for some egg. Maybe one wasn’t formed right and would get cracked (I’d like to think this was the scenario but deep down I know it’s probably not the case.)
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After cleaning off my hand I had to try and figure out who the feathered culprit was. Did I separate each chicken one-by-one or try to catch them in the act? Really now. Rarely have I ever caught one actually eating the egg. But when I do I have to ask if they were actually the ‘egg-eater’ or did they just come upon it and couldn’t help themselves?
I decided ceramic eggs might solve two problems for me. I wish I had a camera in the coop to see that bird’s first reaction when they pecked one of the ceramic eggs. Ouch! So far we have no broken beaks!
I’m so happy to report that the ceramic eggs worked! I haven’t had any eggs eaten since putting them in the nesting boxes! Can I get a hallelujah?!
Encourage Broody Hens
Lastly, this may or may not be something you want to encourage. I have one particular Barred Rock hen who looooves to go broody. Her name is ‘Daisy’, although when she’s broody she gets nicknamed ‘McNasty.’ Lucky for me she doesn’t care if they’re ceramic eggs or real eggs. She just wants to snuggle some eggs. I’m actually wanting her to go broody this spring to hatch some for me.
Last spring I tried my hand at incubating eggs. We borrowed an incubator from my mother-in-law and it was a really fun experience. My two year old daughter loved watching the little chicks hatch. The incubator that I used was older so I had to hand-turn the eggs several times a day, and keeping the humidity and temp right was a challenge. We did hatch some chicks though and I have so much more respect for Momma hens!
I decided earlier this year, with a new baby, that I’d let the hens do the work. They are, after all, way more efficient at this thing…but as we get closer to spring I got the itch for more chicks and decided to buy a new incubator. I’m so excited!!
So now go get yourself some ceramic eggs and train your girls! It really helped my flock!
Until my next post…about my new incubator…hah! Happy trails!