Our chickens are laying less eggs and also eating them. We feed them laying mash. They get fresh water everyday.Thank you

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by: sharon

This is a very common problem and a very bad habit to allow chickens to get into.

Sometimes chickens lay an egg that breaks and their curiosity leads them to see if it might be edible. Eggs have great nutrients, so once a chicken finds they are good to eat, it can be quite a battle to get them to stop. They will learn to intentionally crack open an egg, eat the shell and the contents and teach the other chickens to do the same.

Since your chickens are eating eggs, it might be hard to know for sure if they are really not laying as many eggs as before. Egg production is seasonal in many chicken breeds, and some breeds only lay for a couple of years and then they are done - "layed-out".

I like to use wood, plastic or ceramic dummy eggs in the nests to help teach chickens that egg shaped things are not good to eat. When I raise chicks I put dummy eggs in their brooder, to start the teaching early in their lives.

Your chickens might need more calcium than they are getting. Thin shelled eggs break easily, so can be a real problem. Adding more calcium to their diet, like oyster shell, can strengthen your egg shells and prevent accidental breaking.

I would suggest gathering eggs as often as possible, removing the temptation and preventing the loss of more eggs. If your hens are truly laying less, you need to find out why. It could be heat, stress, molting, insufficient diet, or old age, among the most common reasons. When you discover what is causing the low egg numbers, either egg-eating hens, or other situation, the solution will be clear.

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