Chickens Eating Eggs: 10 Ways to Stop or Prevent It

Are Your Chickens Breaking Eggs and Eating Them?

Chickens Eating Eggs: 10 Ways to Stop or Prevent It

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Most of us who are in the business of raising backyard poultry are doing it for the eggs. Am I right? When your chicken’s eating eggs, nobody wins.

There really is nothing like a fresh egg. Beautiful in color and delicious in taste, once you’ve had fresh eggs, it is hard to go back. So, you understand why, when I found that one of my chickens had eaten one of her eggs, I was annoyed. I wanted those eggs for myself! Then she did it again and I was REALLY annoyed, so I started to do some research and implemented a bunch of different techniques that I learned. Many practices on this list are not only great ways to prevent your chickens eating eggs, but are also good ways to keep your backyard chickens happy and healthy.


Top 10 Ways to Prevent or Break the Egg-Eating Habit

  1. Make sure your chickens are getting enough protein. Read up on what to feed chickens. The protein ratio in their layer feed should be at least 16%. You can supplement their diet with milk, yogurt and/or sunflower seeds.
  2. Keep the eggshells strong. It is important to make sure that your hens are getting enough calcium in order to build strong shells. A thin shell is a broken shell and an eaten egg. The easiest way to do this is to supplement with oyster shells. If an egg does break, clean it up quickly!
  3. Put a wooden egg or golf ball in the nesting box. The chicken will peck it hoping to break the “egg” open and get a yummy snack only to find it unbreakable. They will eventually give up.
  4. Fill an empty egg with English mustard. (Most) chickens don’t like mustard. Blow out an egg.  Carefully fill it with mustard and place it in the nesting box. When your egg eater goes to eat it, she’ll get a nasty surprise and be turned off.
  5. Collect eggs frequently. Try to collect eggs 2-3 times a day.
  6. Provide a cushioned nesting box. No, you don’t need to sew an ACTUAL cushion. Just make sure there is enough natural material in the box that when the hen lays the egg, it falls softly and doesn’t crack.
  7. Keep nesting boxes dim/dark. One great way to do this is to sew and install some nesting box curtains.
  8. Only feed your chickens cooked/scrambled eggs. A lot of people like to supplement their chickens’ diets with eggs. Chickens eating eggs are fine. Just make sure that you are never feeding them raw eggs. They should always be cooked so that your girls don’t get a “taste” for raw eggs.
  9. Build/buy slanted nesting boxes.  You can build or buy nesting boxes that are slanted so that when the hen lays her egg, it rolls away and out of her sight.
  10. Give them plenty of things to do and peck at. A bored or crowded chicken will take to pecking at things, even their own eggs.  One easy, homemade thing you can do is make toys for chickens, to keep your hens busy and pecking at the “right” thing.

Stop Chickens From Eating Eggs

Implementing some or all of these recommendations should help with your egg eating problem.  It did with mine!  For some, the very last thing to do is cull. Some feel this is incredibly cruel, others view it as a flock problem that must be dealt with seriously. Personally, I can see both sides. Egg eating CAN be a hard problem to solve and it can spread to other hens if not solved effectively. At the end of the day, it is a personal decision that we each have to make.

Are your chickens eating eggs? What have you done to break the habit? Let us know in the comments!

Originally published in 2015 and regularly vetted for accuracy.

34 thoughts on “Chickens Eating Eggs: 10 Ways to Stop or Prevent It”
  1. I’ve read your posts on how to stop chickens fromeating their own eggs, it is absolutely
    not working ! Will horseradish hurt them?
    An idea anyway. HELP ME !!! PLEASE

  2. I have the same problem and running out of patience. Yesterday I built a rollaway nest so it’s the last option I have. No it’s the last option this chicken has.

  3. We put curtains on the front of the nest boxes. What a miracle! They immediately stopped eating the eggs! Went from one a day to eight or nine. Thanks so much for the tip!

  4. Im having same problem. Tried mustard, vinegar. Fake eggs. Ordered roll away nesting trays. Might try curtians I am at wits end as well.

    1. I tried mustard and vinegar in an egg shell, but looks like she devoured the whole thing… might be time for another farm

    1. Hi Eric, there are many reasons that egg-laying can drop so significantly. Chickens eating eggs could be one reason, but before you go too hard on your hens, here are some others: Shorter days, in the wintertime, can stop egg laying. If you live in an area that is currently receiving less than 14 hours of daylight, that could be a reason. Also, if they’re molting, they won’t lay so their bodies can focus energy on creating new feathers. Age is a huge factor, and illness could be a factor. But since you describe a slow reduction rather than a sudden one, I assume waning daylight and/or molt are your most possible reasons.

  5. Hi Eric- I have a light on a timer that goes on at 3 am and it gets dark where I live at 5:30 – for now! Whenever my egg production goes down – and it goes down quickly – I check the lightbulb and it’s stopped working! Always has been the reason for reduced egg production for my girls!! And write down the age of your chickens so you know when to replace them – mine has always slowed down laying after 2 1/2 to 3 years!

  6. I have tried every single tip and all my chickens still devour the eggs as soon as they lay them. I’m getting close to killing everyone of them

    1. Do your girls get to free roam any? I let mine out a couple of hours before dark in the afternoon and then close the door to their pen after dark. I guess they are getting something they need while they are foraging. This seems to help mine.

  7. I have read the top ten tips to stop the habbit of eggeating hen or pullets…
    I’m from Cavite, Phils., I will try some of those tips that you have mentioned…

    Thank you so much…

  8. How to I tell what chickens are eating eggs? I have chickens eating eggs I got 22 eggs today and like 37 eggs yesterday.

    1. I caught one of my girls when I was collecting eggs literally with egg on her face. I immediately separated her from the rest of the flock and started researching what to do.

  9. My hens were starting to eat their eggs, too. I had a golf ball that was sitting out in the yard for years, put it in the nest box, and now they lay their eggs next to the golf ball and have stopped eating them! I also give them dried meal worms, oyster shells, kitchen scraps, and check several times a day for eggs. They are less bored.

    1. Hi I have the same problem with my chicken’s eating there eggs I’m so tired of walking in the coop and find that the egg has been eaten again I have tried everything on the 10 ways to stop nothing is working I did the golf ball game and one if my chicken’s she started going to be a Brody hen so I stop that I even started collecting them as soon as she let her egg I have 7 chicken’s I’m only getting maybe 3 eggs all day sometimes I don’t get there when she layed her egg and that’s when she eats her egg

  10. I have 4 hens. One became broody so I removed her from the coop and placed her away from the others took a few days to stop her but it worked. She didn’t lay for roughly 1 week after. She started to lay and stopped for another week or so.
    She laid again today.
    A second hen became broody so I used the same method as the first. She was very similar with her behaviour only today she laid and has eaten the egg am I doing wrong??

  11. So what happens when the chickens have figured out the golf balls and fake eggs are fake and just kicke them out of the box and continue to eat the eggs? Just was given 9 hens that do this. I really don’t have time to hang out in the coop to watch for eggs.

    1. If your chickens are eating eggs, they are often looking for nutrients: protein, calcium, fat. Provide supplemental food that meets those needs and the birds will be less likely to eat their own eggs. Meal worms for protein, oyster shells for calcium, suet for fat.

  12. 1 of my chickens are laying just egg whites. Another is eating there egg. . They have a dummy egg in the laying box. They are on Vital and calcium. They are free range approx 3hrs a day. Pen is the size of a 2 car garage. 5 chooks don’t know which is doing it. Had alien eggs looked like craters for a week after worming. Approx 1 1/2 yrs old all,

  13. My chickens are on protein and greens and a great diet but still eat eggs. I have 2 false eggs but they still eat eggs, I bought roll away boxes but they won’t lay in them.
    Chooks will est mustard, chilli and all that as a chook gas no taste you can actually feed them chilli flakes to help with mites in your chooks.

    The only thing I haven’t tried is curtains which I will be doing right now to see if the last resort makes a difference. Fingers crossed

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