1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Cannibalism

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bantieboy, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. bantieboy

    bantieboy Chillin' With My Peeps

    106
    0
    119
    Apr 21, 2009
    new oxford pa
    My chickens seem to be eating the eggs. How can i stop this?
     
  2. faykokoWV

    faykokoWV Mrs Fancy Plants

    3,476
    86
    258
    Nov 4, 2008
    Cross Lanes, WV
    its tough once they start.

    collect them frequently during the day so they don't have access to the eggs for long.

    try to identify if its just one eating or all of them

    put some wooden eggs in the nesting box.
     
  3. tothemoon

    tothemoon Chillin' With My Peeps

    265
    0
    119
    Sep 3, 2009
    Texas
    I think I am having the same problem. I left 2 eggs in the coop overnight to see if they would stop laying just anywhere and actually lay in the nesting boxes. I think I may have drove them to eating their own eggs because when I looked today the eggs were gone and no new eggs in the coop anywhere either. I checked everwhere to see if a predator had perhaps gotten in the coop and eaten the eggs but there was no entry point anywhere. I see no signs of eggshell or yolk anywhere but I have to assume that they are eating them because there is no other way they could be missing. They are buff cochin bantams, does anyone have any advice or know if cochins are prone to such behavior? Thanks for any help! Thank you, OP, for posting this, sorry your having the same problem.
     
  4. ColoradoMike

    ColoradoMike Chillin' With My Peeps

    340
    3
    111
    Jun 12, 2009
    Northern Colorado
    From what I understand, egg eating is a hard habit to break. Failing all else, you could install rollaway nest boxes so the hens won'thave access to the eggs once they've been laid. If that's not an option, than culling may be the only solution. [​IMG]

    Also, egg eating is not the same as cannibalism. As horrid as it seems, some hens will actually eat each other (i.e. cannibalism) if the conditions or temperament are bad enough. [​IMG]
     
  5. tothemoon

    tothemoon Chillin' With My Peeps

    265
    0
    119
    Sep 3, 2009
    Texas
    Well I sure hope it isnt egg eating but ruling out everything else, there is no other explaination. If I dont get anymore eggs out of those 3 them I will offer them up for grabs to someone who just wants them for pets and doesnt care if they get the eggs or not.
     
  6. mdbokc

    mdbokc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    I noticed more commenting on possibility of chickens eating their own eggs these last couple of weeks. Now I am wondering if a contributing factor is less to eat while outside. Fewer to no bugs, worms, etc changes their satisfaction level. I know that I increase the supplemental protein (with real food) when the bugs are gone because the girls seem to be speaking 'hungry talk' that I only hear when the outdoor protein supply falls off. Just musing...eggs may be more desirable at this time of year and satisfy a need.
     
  7. mdbokc

    mdbokc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    And here is my answer from Mississippi State University:

    Causes for hens eating their eggs

    The causes that incite hens to eat their eggs usually result because of poor husbandry or management practices. Chickens do not naturally eat their eggs. Once the management of the flock is restored to an acceptable state, the egg eating will stop. The list of major causes and corrections are listed below. A factsheet entitled Prevention of Egg Eating discusses the subject in more detail.

    * If shells of the eggs are thin and weak, provide proper diets as discussed in the nutrition section to correct the problem.
    * Not enough nest space is provided. Provide at least one standard nest for each four hens.
    * Keep plenty of soft nesting material in the nest so eggs will have a cushion on which to lay.
    * Collect the eggs more regularly, at least 2 or 3 times daily. The longer the eggs remain in the nest, the greater chance of breakage and consumption.
    * Provide plenty of clean, fresh drinking water. Hens need greater amounts of water than other birds and may consume their eggs for the liquid content.
    * Cull non-laying hens from the flock. Refer to Culling Hens for assistance with this process.
    * Maintain a disease-free flock that is treated regularly for internal and external parasites.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by