Why Do Chickens Eat Their Eggs

Why Do Chickens Eat Their Eggs? How To Stop Chickens From Eating Eggs?

If you own several chickens, you might have seen that chickens have begun to, or regularly, make holes in their eggs. What does it imply, why do chickens eat their eggs, and how to stop chickens from eating eggs?

Thinking about why do chickens eat their own eggs, so we chose to conduct some deep analysis into this problem. We would love to present this knowledge here with you today. Hopefully, it will definitely help you.

So, why do chickens eat their eggs? Chickens eat their own eggs as they are either hungry,  testing the strength of the shell, curious, or desire to help their baby chicks during the process of hatching. Sometimes, your birds may unintentionally break their eggs which you might think that they are eating.

Placing fake eggs in the nesting box or Removing eggs regularly and many other methods are there to limit or stop egg-eating habits from chickens.

So, let us now know more about why do chickens eat their own eggs. We will also be seeing how to stop chickens from eating their eggs and how to tell which chicken is eating eggs.

Do Chickens Eat Their Own Eggs?

Can chickens eat their eggs? or Do chickens eat their own eggs? Yes as cannibalistic omnivores, these birds consume their own eggs. In fact, chickens consume anything that remotely seems like food: From Styrofoam to their own poop, these pet chickens like to nibble on nearly anything.

So, don’t be shocked if you see your birds hungrily pecking at shells or lapping up the yolk and white of a broken egg.

But, the actual concern occurs when your feathered birds found that eggs are ‘good food’ and deliberately begin eating or breaking them. It can even get more dangerous when the entire rotisserie enters in as these birds have a ‘herd mentality.’

Before you understand what is happening, there will be no eggs left for you. You have to realize that more than a habit, it is a red flag displaying behavioral and health complexities.

Yet, don’t panic at all! We will dive deep into this issue and find out why do chickens eat their own eggs.

Why do chickens eat their own eggs?

As we all know that everything happens due to some of the other reason so does this problem as well.

Don’t support your chickens or consider this behavior on a bad chicken habit that might disappear soon, as chickens are not aware of the difficulties they create or about the ill effects the keeper’s faces, once they begin to consume their own eggs.

This seems like a large obstacle particularly for those who keep the chickens entirely for the eggs. 

So, this blog post is not only intended for those keepers, but it covers all of you who are interested in this issue and desire to learn why do chickens eat their eggs and how to stop chickens from eating their own eggs.

1. Overcrowding

Why do chickens peck holes in their eggs? The biggest and first difficulty appears to be overcrowding between the chickens. Vets, the chicken magazines, and even the City ordinances, and articles suggest giving at least 4 square foot space per chicken.

Always remember this in mind and avoid raising crowding hens, otherwise, you will make nothing much, but a nasty smelly coop packed with stressed chickens that may be aggressive and unhealthy.

In this situation, when it comes to private space, hens and people are the same. They desire to have their own intimate private area to feed, hang around, relax, or sleep. If you crowd them be ready to handle various consequences.

2. Egg killers in your flock

Dirty and broken eggs (when several chickens use only some nests they feel as they do not have the private space and needed comfort, therefore they begin to break the eggs, then the material of broken eggs soil the unbroken eggs and boost hens to start the unhealthy habit of consuming their own eggs)

Crowded hens have broken feathers, are dirty, and sometimes even have injuries leading to other hens pecking at them. These birds spend a lot of time in the dust bathing, but in case chickens are crowded it is impossible.

3. Lack of nest boxes

The most significant difficulty for us in this post is having chickens eating their own eggs. As we previously mentioned before, these feathered birds require comfort and sufficient area so they can be productive and live as well. They actually do, otherwise, we can expect many issues.

Why do my chickens eat their eggs? After the overcrowding, the other explanation for chickens eating their eggs is most reasonably due to the shortage of nest boxes.

These birds require comfort and enough area so they can be productive and live as well. At first, did you know that there should be at least one nest box for every 4 chickens? 

Not a large amount of chickens can use few nests, or by doing this, the result will be broken and damaged eggs, or the eaten material of an egg by the chicken.

4. Lack of water and hunger

If chickens are thirst then they usually break eggs for liquidy. So always make sure to give clean and fresh water for the chickens.

The same difficulty of consuming their eggs develop when the chickens are hungry as well.  Provide layer feed for laying chickens and limit snacks in order to avoid a lack of nutritional value. Make sure to provide access to clean, fresh food and water at all times.

Another fascinating fact about the chickens is that why do chickens eat their eggs, when being thirsty or hungry, but they can simply begin pecking on each other too. Once blood appears, the issue gets more serious and it may lead to death to some of your chickens.

The resulting appearance is called cannibalism. Once it begins it is tough to stop, however, there are always some methods to stop it as quickly as possible.

Thus, some of the causes of cannibalism are overcrowding, lack of water and food,  overheating, changes in the environment, introducing new chickens to the flock normally weaker, younger, and inexperienced yet, or too bright lights.

5. Lighting’s Not Right

It’s right that chickens like dark places to lay their eggs. But it doesn’t imply that chickens love to remain in the dark all the time. Aim for around 14 to 15 hours of light every day.

Some specialists believe that anything above 16 to 17 hours will result in stress, and we all know what follows next — chickens eat their eggs!

6. Stress & Anxiety

Science has explained that hens can very well experience anxiety and stress. Factors like overcrowding, bad lighting, and a chemical imbalance in the brain can trigger this.

As a result, they usually start eating eggs and even feathers to channel anxiety. So, don’t overlook to see out for signs like panting, diarrhea, and lethargy.

7. Young, Inexperienced Chicto kens

Chickens that have just reached ‘puberty’ (known as pullets) or just began to lay eggs usually create thin or weak shells. So, owing to their sensitivity, there is a possibility that these will break with the smallest force. And once your chicken eats the egg, there is no going back. Be cautious!

8. Curiosity

This one is not a likely reason why do my chickens eat their eggs. Don’t let your chicken face fool you. Thanks to their worldly conscious abilities, they are quite intelligent. So, sometimes, out of common interest, chickens may eat their own eggs.

The probabilities are even higher if there is a cracked egg lying nearby. That will surely fascinate your hen, and it will do what it does the most useful to eat. Then there is no going back.

9. Calcium Deficiency leads Chickens to Eat their own Eggs

Your Chickens may be telling you that they have a lack of calcium in their food. Helping prompting them to seek it out by consuming eggs. Check your supplies levels and the quantity of calcium they are taking.

If you have free Ranging Chickens combine some additional food with required minerals and vitamins for them when they come back to the coop at night.

Also, it is not a smart plan to serve your chickens the leftover eggshells from your household usage. They will happily consume the shells and it will improve their calcium levels. It can aside from disadvantage give the chickens a flavor for eggshells.

10. Diseases

There are many poultry diseases that can harm your hens, like the presence of parasites or bronchitis, internal and external. Thus, if in addition to seeing that your chickens ingest their own eggs, you also see abnormal signs, we suggest asking an expert.

11. Boredom

Entertainment and enrichment for hens are usually overlooked in coop design, but planning a coop that will keep your hens engaged and mentally occupied is the first important measure in preventing egg-consuming behaviors, as well as other undesired practices like feather picking, neurotic behavior, and bullying.

Hens require puzzles to solve, and without anything else to figure out, they may build their own challenges by attempting to break open eggs to get to the stuff inside.

How to Stop Chickens From Eating Eggs?

How To Stop Chickens From Eating Their Eggs

How to stop chickens from eating eggs? As with most difficulty, preventing chickens from eating their own eggs is much simpler as compared to curing the issue once it is begun. Don’t let that afraid you though, we are sure you will find an answer.

Here are some important areas which will help in resolving this problem i.e how to stop chickens from eating eggs:

1. Add More Space

Here is an easy solution to resolve how to stop chickens from eating their eggs that is to add more space. Egg consumption usually results from broken eggs, so make sure eggs are rarely broken as it can help to prevent the behavior in its records.

Make sure you have a minimum of one nest box for every four chickens. These should be placed a proper distance away from your roosts and off the ground. Provide your hens more space to walk or run in the run, too.

Egg consumption can occur from boredom, so providing the chickens some area to explore can aid to reduce their cabin fever.

2. Isolate the Perpetrators

If egg eating is hard, you may require to spend more time observing your flock to find out who the perpetrators are. Remove any aggressive chickens from the flock – the behavior is not going to end quickly. You can’t let them influence this behavior to the other hens.

An adjoining problem to that of egg-eating is broodiness. Broody chickens are usually unwilling to leave the nest box, and there is a possibility that the other chickens will fight for her area.

This can result in egg damage and then, of course, egg consumption. If you have a broody chicken that simply won’t move, think about relocating them to a new nesting place so that you don’t have to bother about her influencing the other chickens.

3. Grinding the beak

How to stop chickens from eating their eggs? A hen’s beak has a very definite point. By grinding this pointed beak, you decrease the penetrating ability of it. In another word, if you make it dull, the hens won’t be able to crack the egg. And after some time, they might lose interest.

4. Assess their diet

Chickens eating eggs could be a warning that they are undergoing a nutritional imbalance or deficiency. Eggs are packed with protein, and the shells are formed of almost absolute calcium.

These 2 things are necessary for a chicken’s diet and overall healthy well-being. If hens aren’t getting sufficient of either, they might change to consuming their own eggs to compensate.

Make sure your hens are eating enough protein by providing chicken food that is meant for laying chickens. Most layer supplies include 16 to 18% protein. We usually ferment our chicken food, which increases nutrient absorption and gives probiotics too!

Also, restrict snacks to an occasional basis only. Provide chickens leafy greens from the garden, but also include lots of protein-rich snacks like black oil sunflower seeds, mealworms, or home-sprouted grains and seeds. You can also mix up a few eggs to food back to your chickens.

5. Promote strong and healthy eggshells

Laying chickens require a steady supply of free stock calcium available to them at all times. This is important as eggshells contain a high amount of calcium themselves, laying chickens require to eat a large quantity of supplemental calcium to lay healthy and hard eggs with firm shells.

Hens may consume eggs if they are not getting sufficient calcium elsewhere. Inadequate calcium consumption can also result in thin shells or soft-shelled eggs, which are more prone to break– and then attract even the curious, healthiest chickens to eat eggs!

Even worse, a small amount of calcium can lead a hen to become egg-bound. Thus, giving extra calcium is an excellent method to prevent egg-eating habits as well as sickness.

Either buy crushed oyster shells or crush and save their own eggshells. Serve calcium in a dish apart from their regular feed; they consume what they require(but a high amount of calcium can harm them too).

I know what you may be wondering… Do serving hens their own eggshells make them more prone to consume eggs? No, the major portion of experienced hen keepers says it does not. We crush and bake the eggshells before serving them, which kills possible bacteria and also turns the flavor and odor of the shells.

6. Collect eggs often

Chickens can’t consume eggs if no eggs are there! Don’t let eggs remain in the nesting boxes for an elongated stretch of time.

Collect eggs as frequently as your schedule grants(up to numerous times each day) – particularly if you are attempting to break an egg-consuming habit that has previously developed.

A big collection of eggs is just a result of messing up and can enhance the possibility of your hens becoming broody. There is also a higher risk for eggs to break and crack when they are laid one on the other egg.

7. Provide cushioned nesting areas

Have you ever noticed a chicken lay an egg? Even though chickens sit down for quite a while beforehand, they stand up and squat when the egg laid out, so it has to fall some inches before it connects the ground!

If the base of the nesting box is exposed, and strong the egg could crack– and 1 broken egg may be all it takes for a hen to produce a flavor for them.

Down the bottom of the coop nesting boxes with soft substance for the eggs to settle on. We use these strong nesting box pads, and normally add a layer of hay or straw on top for them to dig around in too. If an egg does crack, clean it up immediately!

8. Dummy eggs in the nest box

If your hens start eating their own eggs, try placing a solid dummy one or two eggs inside the nesting boxes. These fake wood eggs and the golf ball work great!

When they will try to eat eggs, they will find the “egg” impenetrable – and will probably give up attempting to eat the actual eggs too.

Putting fake eggs inside the nesting box is also an efficient method to train young hens on where to lay eggs.

9. Nest box curtains (dim or dark nesting area)

Did you know that hens can’t see in the dark? That’s why they naturally go into the coop to roost at dusk. So, they are considerably less prone to eat and peck eggs that they can’t recognize properly.

How can you stop chickens from eating their own eggs? One way to darken the nesting box space is to place nest box curtains. This method was the most successful step to prevent your chickens from eating eggs!

You can make adorable little small-curtains on rods, or do something as simple as pillowcases in front of the nest box opening or pin old fabric towels. Valance curtains are already about the correct height, and can simply be hemmed and cut into smaller parts.

When first installed, you may need to keep the curtains pinned or pulled somewhat open until your hens get used to them. Afterward, we determined that leaving ours totally closed was the most efficient at preventing egg consumption.

10. Soap and mustard

Possibly chickens dislike the flavor of mustard. Moreover, who would want to intake soap? Not your chickens. How to stop chickens from eating their eggs? Another old tricks used to prevent chickens from consuming eggs is to fill a vacant eggshell with mustard and dish soap (which also appears to imitate the appearance of gooey yolk and egg whites).

Take an egg that has been picked with a little hole, empty it out, pack it up, and place it back in the nesting box for your egg-eating hens to eat. Or, delicately blow out an egg to fill. Probably, the dirty surprise will change them off for good!

11. Entertainment

Keeping your flock entertained and happy is a wonderful way to both stop and prevent chickens from consuming eggs. Crowded, bored, or otherwise unhappy chickens are far more prone to begin pecking at eggs and each other!

What follows are a few exciting ways to keep your hens from being dull:

• Pumpkins and watermelon can be always a great option that will keep your chickens occupied for hours. The vitamins they hold are good and beneficial to be part of chickens’ nutrition too.

• Put them a sufficient quantity of green weeds, and they will have great things to consume from and remain busy for hours too.

• Although chickens don’t fly, but they want some height, it is always an excellent thought to place some branches so that chickens can climb up.

• Remember chickens are similar to small kids, they just desire to play with sand or dust. When locked, they quickly get bored and oftentimes shows aggressive or destructive behavior, so provide them something to do, for example, a small box packed with sand.

• You can always introduce up a game of cabbage tetherball and entertain them for hours.

• You can try a few of these things on your chickens, amuse them and stop them from consuming their eggs out of boredom which sadly has been seen as a chicken issue so far.

12. Roll-away or sloped nest boxes

A final step to prevent chickens from eating eggs is to make the eggs disappear completely. When all measures fail, you could build sloped nesting boxes through which the eggs roll away and out of beak’s reach after they are laid.

We consider this the last option, not because it is extreme, as modifying your absolutely great chicken coop could be a discomfort in the butt! Yet so are egg-consuming chickens… so if needed, improved and new nest boxes may be the solution. 

How to tell which chicken is eating eggs?

How Do You Tell If Chickens Are Eating Their Eggs

How to tell which chicken is eating eggs? Unless you found them doing this, it can truly be more complicated than you should think confirming chickens are consuming their own eggs.

This is due to they will normally consume anything and leave no trace. Chickens are actual scavengers, and when they get a portion of food they love they will finish till the last scrap. As you must be aware.

If you are trying to verify or rule out how to tell which chicken is eating eggs, here are the most reliable methods to know the actual answer:

1. Monitor How Many Eggs They Are Laying

How to tell which chicken is eating eggs? Start maintaining a record of how many eggs your chicken is producing. Compare this amount to what you believe you should be having, and watch for any trends or patterns where you consider eggs are disappearing.

If you can narrow down this to specific chickens too, that will help. You may get amazed at what you found, and you might be able to know another cause for underproducing chickens.

2. Go Into Their Coop Earlier in the Morning

What time do you should gather eggs? It can differ, but most chickens will have completed laying by 10 am. Start moving into their coop somewhat earlier every day to watch if you can collect their eggs before they get a chance to consume them.

At least close the window during the time they are available to have them. This way, you will either catch them while eating their egg, or you will see the number of eggs is getting increasing.

3. Check Their Nesting Area for Proof

If you realize that eggs are getting missing, there’ is a possibility that a predator is responsible. Birds and rats are common egg robbers. Along with dogs, raccoons, snakes, coyotes, and other animals you might have in your surroundings.

Examine the parameters for the coop, along with other likely entry points. If there are techniques predators can get in, remove those entry points off.

4. Take a Close Glance at Your Chickens Feathers and Faces

How to tell which chicken is eating eggs? This is the most important test that proves it for most people. Chickens are untidy eaters and are not smart enough to know if they were trying to catch them nibbling on their eggs.

Have a close glance at their beaks and nearby their faces. Any hints of dried egg or portions of the shell? Maybe a few shells have fallen and got stuck in their feathers. Give them a light rub down, if they have freshly eaten some egg there is a great possibility you will find some sign.

Final words

Why do chickens eat their eggs? And How To Stop Chickens From Eating Eggs?

I honestly can’t stress just how much of a difficulty an egg-eating chicken is. Not only for the decreased amount of eggs as much as the fact that other chickens might observe this activity and start following same. And once they know that eggs are good, they remember them for life.

At the most, do your best to stop your chickens from consuming eggs in the first place – frequent egg gathering, enough space to play, and a good diet.

If they do start eating their eggs, I hope these suggestions aid you in quickly nip that bad behavior in the bud! As we did, you may need to try different ways to stop the egg-consuming habits before you find something that goes. Be persistent and patient.

Please try to get that these chickens are only following their senses. But, if not paid attention they will decimate your egg production.

And even if you are fine with missing the eggs, understand that the smell of eggs will attract the predators…putting your chicken in danger.

FAQ (frequently asked questions)

If my chicken consumes a raw egg, will it result in egg-eating habits?

No, Chickens are not so smart to know the difference between a healthy, intact egg and a  cracked, broken, or flawed egg.

They will intuitively eat up any egg they see cracked, but usually will leave healthy eggs untouched, so much so that if you put a broken egg and a whole egg side-by-side on the ground, the chickens will eat the broken egg and simply ignore the healthy one.

This ability helps them maintain nests clear, as well as recycling the important nutrients in the egg.

So if you unintentionally drop an egg while you are collecting and the chickens eat it, do not panic. They are only doing the work that they are deemed to.

If I obtain half-eaten eggs in my coop, does that implies I have an egg-eater?

Unlikely. Many chicken owners are worried about finding empty, opened shells in their nesting boxes, certain that the chickens were to criticize.

As a common rule, a chicken that breaks or open an egg to consume it will eat the shell as well, leaving little to no proof behind. If you found opened eggs in your nesting boxes, the most probable offender is an opossum, rat, or skunk and not your chickens themselves.

On occasion, chickens who consume eggs will like the stuff inside it and leave the shells, but it is not a typical chicken style.

If there is less egg production, is that a hint that I have an egg-eater?

Unlikely, Chickens slow down in laying because of different reasons. They will stop producing when they are molting, when they are broody, or when the days get very short in winter.

They will also stop producing if they are extremely hot, not getting enough water, or stressed by predators.

Unless you catch a chicken eating the egg in breakfast, there is small reason to assume that a reduction in egg production is an outcome of egg-eating behaviors.

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