Chickens Eating Eggs: 10 Ways to Stop or Prevent It
Are Your Chickens Breaking Eggs and Eating Them?
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
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- Collect eggs frequently. Try to collect eggs 2-3 times a day.
- 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.
- Keep nesting boxes dim/dark. One great way to do this is to sew and install some nesting box curtains.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.