1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Any way to "correct" egg eater behavior?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by imthedude, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. imthedude

    imthedude Songster

    Mar 9, 2010
    Hi all. I found the egg eater - a nice little barred rock pullet that is just coming into lay. I came home to 3 broken and fully eaten eggs again yesterday, and her beak was covered in yolk. She even had some on her feet. Is there any way to correct this behavior, or does she need to go? Since she is just starting to lay, could she possibly get over the curiosity of what's inside the eggs, or is the taste of yolk embedded in her brain enough that she will never quit?

  2. justin84119

    justin84119 Hatching

    May 31, 2011
    I take an egg shell empty of course, you might need to blow out the contents after you poke holes in each end. I just use a shell from a breakfast egg, then I fill it with mustard and tape it around the cracked part. Put it in front of the egg eater and let her go at it. Also put in a few wooden eggs painted white. It will get her attention when she tries to peck into it and comes up with a good beak smashing instead. hope this helps.
  3. goldeneggtees

    goldeneggtees Fluffy Butt Nut

    Mar 11, 2009
    Long Island, NY
    i've heard wooden eggs in the nest box helps to stop them from eating eggs, once they try and it doesn't give, they stop. good luck.
  4. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy Premium Member

    Mar 31, 2010
    Tuscaloosa County, Alabama
    I had an egg eater a few months back. I only noticed two or three eggs eaten before I made changes, so I caught it early. Here is my suggestion. Separate the girl from the rest of the flock in a broody cage if you can (might be a good time to build one!) but where she can still see her friends. Have an area to walk, scratch, eat and roost inside as well as a nest box. In the nest box, put a couple of white wooden eggs or golfballs. Confine her there until she starts to lay. Keep a close check for her first eggs as those will need to be removed as soon as she lays them. This solves several problems...

    1. Stops the egg eating - She has no way of getting to other hen's eggs and therefore no eating (stops behavior forceably.)
    2. Confirms that she is the only one doing it
    3. Prevents other hens from picking up the habit
    4. Reinforces that eggs (wood and golfballs) are not good to eat - they are hard and can't be opened, no reward there
    5. Allows you to "catch" her first eggs and remove them quickly so that she won't learn that when she lays she can immediately get a yummy egg as a reward
    6. Allows you to examine her diet to make sure she is getting all she needs, calcium, greens, layer feed, fresh water, and yes, feed her some scrambled eggs for the protein
    7. Teaches her to lay in a nest box from the beginning
    8. Makes it easy to catch her if you can't break the habit and have to get rid of her!

    Leave her there as long as you can. If she doesn't eat her own eggs, after a while you may want to add another hen to keep her company. This will help to eventually reintroduce her to the flock, or you could let her into the coop for a while each day (in the coop, monitered at all times to keep her from finding an egg to eat!) to help keep her in her spot in the pecking order. The longer she doesn't eat a fresh egg the better, but you have to watch her closely from now on because she could start back up again at any point afterward.

    I could not do this myself, as I could not determine who was doing it. I simply put the wooden eggs and golf balls in the nest boxes and collected eggs every hour or so for several weeks! Arggghhhhh! It seems to be working but like I said, I caught it early...

    Good luck, so far I have not had any more problems, although I occasionally collect eggs that have "reverse pips" (peck marks?) that I have to assume is a half hearted attempt to open them. One day it will work and I will have to start over.
  5. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    I like what wisher said, but I took it one step further and made a roll out nest box for my egg eaters. I made a simple rectangular box, but angled the floor to roll to the back and put a divider in the back so the egg would roll under the divider and the hen couldn't find it. [​IMG]
  6. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    I've had a couple of girls investigate their first few eggs, which were soft shelled. Once they are broken, everyone will dig in. But once they got to laying harder shelled eggs, it went away. I do have wooden eggs and golf balls in the nests also, so they may have been discouraged pecking at them.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by