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.

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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.

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Using a drill to neatly open the egg

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!

Mustard egg: messy!

Getting the mustard in the egg is a messy process.

 

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.

One mustard egg!

One egg full of mustard!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Sealed up with hot glue and ready to place in the nesting box.

Sealed up with hot glue and ready to place in the nesting box.

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.

Really? - I'm not suposta like this?

Really? – I’m not suposta like this?

 

 

 

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.

Marshmallow, Brownie and Isa all caught red handed... err... yellow beaked!Marshmallow, Brownie and Isa all caught red handed… err… yellow beaked!

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?

15 Comments
Peggy Vidaurri August 25th, 2013

Loved this story! I only have one pet rooster, so I don’t have this issue. Although, he loves tequila!

Erica August 25th, 2013

Maybe try to get hold of the mustard you get at Chinese restaurants? It may be that the yellow mustard is too mild.

Mary August 25th, 2013

I have a question I have 6 hens 4 of them are laying every day but my 2 Cornish hens are not is there a reason they are so much later then the others? They are huge ladies my AnnBell and Tangled (cornish) much larger then the others but their waddles are bright red and their combs also well what combs they have 🙂

schaun wolf August 25th, 2013

We had a chicken who ate her eggs and what we did was to make sure we were good about picking them up quickly so she didn’t have time to peck them and I also let her (and the other gals) outside quite often to roam. She liked being out to pasture so much she forgot about pecking her eggs. I would put them out right after they layed and I had gathered the eggs up. I don’t know if this will help but it did with our Orpington and I haven’t lost any eggs in months.

Lois August 25th, 2013

I’ve been having the same problems with Pearl, my Leghorn. Nothing was working. After several months we just tried to get to her egg before she did. One morning when I was going in the coop to do my morning rounds, she scooted out. It was no big deal, she’s easy to catch & pick up so I let her go & eat some good grass & play with my 3 silkies while I finished up. Well, I forgot to put her back. a few hours later, my husband came in laughing. He found Pearl in the little nest with Miss B, one of my silkies, AND her INTACT egg. I wanted to know if this was a fluke so the next day I let her out again and we found her egg in the little nest again-& this was after we had waited a while to see if she would come back & break it. Now it’s part of the morning routine to let Pearl out. She usually let’s us know when she’s ready to go back in or when we find her egg, we go ahead & pet her back. I just don’t know why she breaks her eggs in the big pen with the other girls, but has not broken one in over a month since we’ve been letting her out in the mornings?!

alex August 25th, 2013

using chinese mustard prob not a good prospect: a usual tactic to deter squirrels from eating birdseed is to mix in capsicum, which the birds don’t taste. thus i expect it would have no advantage over regular mustard.

Les August 25th, 2013

I have seen your post a few times, and I have to tell you my solution to the problem is wooden eggs. (ceramic would also work) I had hatched some cream legbars and when I put them into the coop they began to peck at and eat the Silkies eggs that were laid on chicken coop floor. My solutions was that I put in wooden eggs in the coop, where the Silkie usually lays her eggs. They pecked and pecked, but could not break open the eggs, and eventually gave up. I have not had a problem with it since.

Francesca Austin August 25th, 2013

We darkened the nest boxes and that did the trick on the egg eater – also when we had an egg eater who was really enthusiastic about it, I would just toss her into the yard every day and put her back at night – she would not peck her own egg (which I could usually find) just everyone else’s! Go figure. That was last season – this most recent season I have no problems with egg eating – YET. Just in case I plan to put together two of the nest boxes with slanted floors – hope I can figure out how to do that! they came here mail order in many pieces.

Leronna August 25th, 2013

When my girls started eating their eggs I started upping their Dried Mealworms and bought Organic Chicken feed with Fishmeal. Their egg eating went down considerably. I also “help” them acquire more bugs by turning over wood and containers that have “hidden treats” a.k.a. cockroaches crickets & termites.

~(:>)=

Garnet Brooks August 25th, 2013

I been battling an egg eater that started from someone stomping a thin shelled egg and someone decided to sample the contents….My problem also is amplified by the fact that I have two sometimes three younger hens that like to lay in the corners of the hen house instead of inside the egg boxes ( I have two large boxes but everyone has decided only one is “worthy”). The ones laying in the open are my younger hens and I think they are being bullied out of box or are just to scared of older hens to use boxes for fear of older hens cornering them inside….I have tried everything I can think of to entice use of other egg box any suggestions would be a help!

Jill August 25th, 2013

I put golf balls in the nests. At first they pecked at them , like they would an egg…but realized it hurt the beak !! Now you can toss a golf ball on the floor and they scurry away from it, instead of attacking it like a tasty egg !! Egg eating has been curtailed, but in the third year of production the shells are getting thinner even with supplements & high grade feed.

Jenny August 26th, 2013

Love this post! It made me laugh. The things chickens do are so funny it makes me love them more each day! I say try the ketchup!

Sharlene August 28th, 2013

I have just received my baby chicks. We are building the coop now. I have 2 orpinton hens and one rooster. How tall should the roost be for these large birds?

Gwen August 10th, 2016

I just tried this with the same result- after painstakingly blowing an egg, injecting mustard, and sealing it with wax, turns out my egg-breaker LOVES mustard… she even ate all the shavings that got mustard on them. Trying dish soap next. ggrrrr…

Mark January 18th, 2017

I do not know if mustard is like hot peppers. A quick search on if chickens CAN taste pepper shows they can not. That would explain why your mustard did not work. I have heard of dishsoap in the egg. I am out to try it on my hens. 🙁 I will try the golf ball too…

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