Chickens typically eat insects, vegetables, and fruits, but sometimes, they eat their own eggs. For chickens out in the wild, it’s actually a normal practice. But since you’re fowl are home-reared, you’re probably dealing with something slightly more sinister. Egg eating is a terrible habit, and it’s difficult for chickens to break once they get started; however, there are certain things you can put in place to prevent it. If you want to know why your chickens are eating their own eggs and how to stop it, keep reading.

Why Chickens Eat Their Own Eggs

Before you can stop your chickens from eating their own eggs, it’s important to know why they’re doing it. If you can isolate the reason/reasons it will make it easier for you to help them break the habit. Here are some of the main reasons your chickens eat their own eggs:

Unbalanced Diet: When chickens have an unbalanced diet, their bodies start craving the missing nutrients and they’ll try and correct it by eating their own eggs. One of the main deficiencies is calcium; additionally, not getting enough protein can cause chickens to eat their own eggs.

Hunger: Hungry chickens are going to eat whatever they set their eyes on, and that includes their own eggs.

Thirsty: Chickens will crack their eggs open if they don’t have fresh water available.

Related: Ingenious Ideas For Taking Care Of Your Chickens

Boredom: Chickens invent things to do when they’re bored and this can include eating their own eggs. Free-range chickens are less likely to eat their eggs because there are so many things for them to do. But you need to keep confined chickens occupied.

Excess Light: Chickens prefer a private, dim area to lay their eggs. You can reduce light exposure by dimming the lights or hanging curtains up. If the chickens can’t see their eggs, they can’t eat them.

Stress: Stressed chickens pluck and pick at anything including their feathers and eggs. One of the things that stress chickens out is when they can’t lay their eggs in peace. To avoid stress, they need a peaceful environment.

Curiosity: Sometimes, chickens peck at or play with their eggs because they’re curious. They might see a speck or a crack on their egg which encourages them to peck at it. Once the egg is broken, the chicken becomes even more curious and starts pecking at the raw egg.

Overcrowding: Chickens should have at least 4 square feet between them. Anything less than this and you’ll have many problems, one of which being egg eating.

How To Stop Your Chickens From Eating Their Own Eggs

There are several ways you can stop your chickens from eating their own eggs. Here are some of the most common:

Enough Nutrients: As you’ve read, one of the reasons chickens eat their own eggs is because they’re lacking in certain nutrients, and protein is one of them. Their layer feed should contain at least 16% protein. You can add more protein to your chicken’s diet with sunflower seeds, yogurt, and milk.

Remove Bedding: Removing the bedding helps because the eggs won’t have any friction when they’re pecked on and will roll away.

Collect Eggs Often: Collect eggs between 2-3 times per day so your chickens won’t have time to eat them. Additionally, chickens finish laying their eggs by 10:00 a.m., so the earlier you collect them, the less time they’ll have to eat them.

Related: Chicken Friendly Plants To Have In Your Homestead

Feed Them Cooked Eggs: There is nothing wrong with chickens eating eggs as long as they’re cooked. So feeding them scrambled, boiled, or poached eggs are fine.

Keep Them Busy: Bored chickens will peck at anything, and that includes their own eggs. You can keep your chickens busy by doing the following:

  • Make a Piñata: Fill a piñata with veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. The chickens will peck at the piñata instead of their eggs.
  • Hang a Mirror Up: Chickens are prideful birds and they like to make sure they look good. Chickens will never get bored when there’s a mirror around.
  • Extra Perches or Ladders: Chickens love their perches and ladders. It’s a place they can go for peace and quiet and they love to play with them.
  • Piles of Hay, Straw, or Leaves: Chickens don’t like piles, so they’ll spend hours deconstructing them if they’re next to one.
  • Sheltered Dust Bath: Chickens like taking care of their feathers and skin, and one way they do this is by dust bathing. Not only is it a recreational activity but it also keeps chickens busy.

Slanted Nesting Boxes: Whether you build or buy your nesting boxes, make sure they’re slanted. Slanted nesting boxes allow the eggs to roll out of sight once they’re hatched.

Extreme Measures To Stop Your Chickens From Eating Their Own Eggs

Some chickens are determined to eat their own eggs no matter what you do; therefore, you’ll need to take some extreme measures, here are some of them:

  • Golf Balls: The chicken will mistake the golf ball for an egg and peck at it endlessly, but when it realizes it can’t be eaten, the chicken will lose its desire to eat its own eggs.
  • Mustard: Chickens hate mustard, so fill an eggshell with mustard and put it inside the nesting box. Once the chickens taste the mustard, it will put them off eating their own eggs.
  • Beak Clipping: Make it more difficult for the chickens to eat their eggs by clipping the tip of their beaks.
  • Solitary Confinement: Isolating your chickens is a very extreme measure and it should be your last resort because chickens are social animals and they get depressed when they’re not around other chickens. Isolation will stop the chickens from eating the eggs from other chickens and make it easier for you to stop them from eating theirs.

Final Thoughts

Once you get your chickens to stop eating their own eggs, don’t slide back into your old ways or the problem will come tumbling back just as quickly as you got rid of it. Keep an eye on your chickens, and make sure they’re fed the right diet to ensure their egg-eating habits don’t resurface.

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