Chicken Eating Own Eggs

by Joanne

Chicken Eating Own Eggs: One of my six chickens has taken to going into the hen house and eating the freshly laid eggs. How do I stop it?

Answer: I have never personally had this problem, but from what I hear egg canabalism is a hard habit to break once it starts.

Here are some things to do before the problem starts, which is usually because an egg gets broken, a chicken tries it, likes it, and wants more.

1) Make sure you have adaquate nesting. If too many birds are sharing a nest it increases the chances of an egg getting broken and a hen trying the egg and liking it.

2) Make sure that your hens are getting adaquate nutrition. Some say the problem can start when hens are lacking nutrients.

3) Check and remove eggs often to prevent egg breakage.

If you are doing all that is listed above and the problems still started and is persisting there are a couple of things to try.

Some say to reduce lighting in the coop. Why this works, other than the obvious harder to see I don't know. It may make the birds calmer and less likely to react in this way.

I have also read to replace unbroken eggs with white golf balls. They claim that trying to break these "eggs" is both uncomfortable and frustrating for the offender and that they will eventually give up altogether.

It is a tough and frustrating problem. Let us know what you do and how it works out.

Anybody out there had similar problems? What did you do to solve it? Let us know in the comments section.

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Still Eating Eggs!
by: Anonymous

I've tried golf balls which didn't work. Also tried putting tabasco on the egg remains - didn't work. Then I tried using a raw egg and placing the two halves in coop with english mustard instead of yolk. That was devoured too!!!.

My chickens have a large run which is moved around the garden and eat layers pellets together with family left overs. I think it started after one chicken that had been molting laid a few soft/incomplete eggs.


Egg-Eating Chickens
by: sharon

As the other responder mentioned, this could be caused by nutritional need. I have noticed that some hens will eat the remains of hatched eggs to clean the nest, so this act is not totally unnatural. They obviously didn't eat the eggs they hatched, so see a difference.

I keep two or three plastic "easter" eggs, or egg shaped rocks, wooden eggs or golf balls in my nests all the times.

I find the hens more willing to lay in the same place when they think they are starting a clutch, and there is the added benefit of reinforcing their belief that there is nothing edible about an egg.

I have seen a hen turn and crack open her just laid egg, I have rescued chickens from less than good conditions that were egg eaters, I had a blue jay coming and cracking my eggs open and hens joining in the treat.

I've alsooccasionally had a hen lay a shelless egg and the membrane breaks open, revealing a nutritional delight... I have had good success using the fake eggs.

I would suggest separating this hen in her own brooding type area. It's better she eat her own eggs than everyone elses, too.

I would put some form of fake eggs in her nest. I like the "easter" eggs as they can pop open and be empty. This will retrain her brain.

If you can, I would check on her often. You might get lucky and get her eggs before she does.

I would make sure she is getting enough protein and a well balanced diet and plenty of clean water and calcium supplement and other minerals.

It can take a little while to retrain her brain, but I have always had success doing this. It takes as long as it takes.

I read an article on line that suggested using black oil sun flower seeds as a protein supplement.

I like this idea and have done it all fall and winter. The seeds are alive and provide enzymes that pellets and crumbles and mash don't.

Scratch grains are good, too, but most have a lot of cracked corn, which are dead seeds.

I think in the winter, when greens are at a shortage or covered in snow, live seeds are very important.

This is a very frustrating problem, but if you can work with your hen at her brain level, which is to teach her that there is nothing worth eating in eggs (anymore), she will come around and her natural instincts to protect eggs will kick in.

You didn't say if she is young or old, the younger the better, but if she is older and just started this you have a great chance of changing her mind about egg eating.

Never feed eggs to your chickens unless they are UNRECOGNIZABLE. I've taken older excess eggs, hard boiled them, and ground them up shell and all in a food processer and fed them back to the birds.

Some people feed crushed egg shell back to their hens, but they need to be well crushed or powdered.

Hope this helps!

Chicken Eating Own Eggs
by: sharon

I would isolate this hen from all the others, in a nice sized cage or pen. If you don't remove her from the group she will teach this bad habit to your other hens and you will have to start over with a new flock.

Place fake eggs in her nest box and keep her well fed and watered. This isn't a punishment, she is just confused.

Check her nest as often as possible and take any real eggs. If you find an partially eaten egg remove every bit of it including soiled nesting material.

You will just have to get her out of the habit with time. When you do get a whole egg you could reward her with a special treat. Chickens aren't stupid, so in her mind there is good reason to eat eggs.

Make sure she has plenty of calcium supplement, high protein diet, fresh greens, fruits and vegies and seeds.

It's understandable that you might not have the patience to get her through this, in which case she should be cut from the flock. Teaching other hens to eat eggs is a disaster.

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