Why do chickens eat eggs and how to stop them

 If your chickens eat their own eggs, you should immediately break this habit. The more they do it, the harder it becomes to fix it. Nip this bad habit in the bud with a few adjustments to nest boxes and the hens' living situation. Preventing egg consumption in the first place is easier than stopping it after forming the habit.

Why do chickens eat eggs and how to stop them

Avoid eating eggs by reducing egg breakage

Egg breakage is one of the main reasons hens start eating eggs. Reducing or eliminating egg breakage minimizes the chances that your hens will taste raw egg.

  • Provide at least one 31 cm square nest for 4 or 5 hens in the flock and never less than six nest boxes. Nesting boxes must be placed at least 2 meters above the ground and at least 4 meters from the roosts.
  • Keep at least 5 centimeters of clean, dry nesting material (shavings or straw) in nest boxes at all times.
  • Relocate broody hens , which cause congestion in nest boxes.
  • Keep eggshells strong by feeding a calcium supplement—usually sold as oyster shells—in a feeder of choice.
  • Feed your chickens a complete feed specifically designed for laying hens .
  • If you are feeding calcium to chicken eggshells, grind them into a powder so the chickens don't associate them with eggs.
  • Collect the eggs early. Collecting the eggs early in the day leaves less time to crack and eat them. Most hens finish laying their eggs by 10 a.m.

Break the habit of eating eggs

Practicing egg breakage prevention may be all it takes to keep your hens from eating eggs, even if they have already started. However, to put an end to egg eating, you can also take steps to reduce stress.

  • Avoid bright lighting near nesting boxes.
  • Do not disturb the hens in the nests.
  • Make sure you have enough space for each hen in the coop.
  • Keep fresh food and water available at all times.
  • Install a second feeding station if a hen harasses others by keeping only one feeding station.
  • If possible, provide the hens with space outside to roam or at least a run with fresh grass and insects.

Extreme cures for egg-eating hens

If you have a hen that is determined to eat eggs despite all of this advice, consider eliminating her from the flock. She will simply pass on the bad behavior to the other hens, and then you have a real problem on your hands.If you'd rather not slaughter the hen, there are a few extreme measures you need to take:

  • Buy rolling birdhouses. When the hen lays an egg, the egg rolls out of the nest box and the hen cannot reach it.
  • Place golf balls in the nests. In theory, the hens will tire of pecking at these “eggs”.
  • Fill an eggshell with mustard, which chickens hate. Make a small hole in the ends of an egg and blow out the contents. Replace the contents with yellow mustard. Place the mustard-stuffed egg in the birdhouse.
  • Cut off the offending hen's beak. It looks worse than it is. Cut only the tip of the beak. Just like your fingernail or a cat's claw, the beak contains living tissue; cutting too far causes bleeding and pain.   
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