The only chickens that like to eat mustard eggs! August 25, 2013
I have strange chickens…that is my only explanation. My chickens actually like mustard eggs.
I have been trying different techniques to break my one hen from the bad habit of egg eating. After running into problems with my roll-away nesting box design I decided to try mustard filled eggs. This is a ‘fix’ that we recommend in our help pages and many readers suggested in comments on my previous posts, confirming how well this worked for them. Most comments said it worked immediately: once the chicken got her beak into the mustard-filled egg, she didn’t like it and stopped pecking at her eggs. I was so hopeful that this would work so I could quit working on the roll-away nest box project! I like DIY chicken projects and tweaking designs, but honestly I’m tired of trying to fix THIS problem.
Isa has been pretty good lately; in the last week she hadn’t broken any of her eggs. When my husband gathered eggs and found a nice large Isa egg he even commented how he was so glad that we were getting her eggs. I thought maybe all was well and I could work on other issues—ha! When I gathered eggs the next morning, there was one broken and partially eaten Isa egg. Bad Isa! Well, since I had a few of her eggs in the fridge I decided that this is a perfect time to try the mustard egg fix.
First I had to make a ‘mustard filled egg’. Step one is to empty an egg shell so I can fill it with mustard. I have never blown eggs out for craft projects, but it can’t be that hard, right? After a quick search on Google I saw multiple ideas on how to do this. Use a drill or pin to make a hole on each end. Check.
Next step is to use air to blow the contents of the egg out. Rather than putting your lips directly on the egg, sit’s suggested to use a bulb syringe to blow it out, or use your hand to make a seal. Neither of these worked that well but lips directly on the egg shell did the trick. Good thing I did actually wash this egg first!
Next we squirted some mustard inside. Yep, this is as messy as it sounds. Eventually, we made the hole a bit bigger to make this step easier.
Although the point is for the chicken to break this egg open I don’t want the filling leaking out of the mustard egg before it’s time. I tried resealing with tape, but it wouldn’t stick, so I came up with the idea of using hot glue to reseal.
I made two mustard eggs and sat them in the nesting box that Isa usually lays in. I took out the roll-a-way insert since I wanted these eggs to stay where she could sample them. I placed them inside, told her to “go be a bad chicken,” and then I shut the egg door to let her explore on her own.
After 20 minutes I opened the egg door to see no one had been bad yet. After an hour I opened it again to find a broken open egg and Isa with a yellow beak! Awesome! I snapped a picture and left her alone so she’d learn that mustard eggs don’t taste good.
Another half hour and I check again… only to find another of my hens, Marshmallow, with a yellow beak! Really!? I kept the egg door open to see if she’d try it again. ALL of my girls came over to peck away at the eggs. And they didn’t show signs of stopping. They just kept coming back for more.
At that point, I removed the egg shells since I didn’t want Marshmallow and Brownie to get the idea that they like the insides of eggs, too.
So this ‘fix’ was a complete fail in my flock, one that actually got my good chickens pecking at eggs. I guess it’s time to work on that roll away nesting box again, although, my 9 year old daughter’s suggestion was that we try ketchup next time!
Have you ever had hens who liked mustard eggs?