Do your hens eat their intact eggs?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by lengel, May 9, 2008.

  1. lengel

    lengel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I read that once hens get a taste of their eggs, they always eat them. I haven't found this. When the shells are cracked, they eat them (and they do this enthusiastically) but if the shells are intact, I don't see this.

    Am I missing something? Frankly, if a shell is cracked and they haven't eaten the egg, I smash it in their dish and walk away. I don't want that egg anyway. What do you do?
     
  2. FarmerMack

    FarmerMack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I feed my chickens the empty egg shells, might as well "Refill please" is what i say to them LOL . In their natural state a bird would eat a broken eggs shell and all. They dont peck at the whole eggs.

    Farmer Mack [​IMG]
     
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Quote:You DON'T want them to peck at the whole eggs.

    A chicken will eat their own eggs. Once they get a taste for them they will eat whole eggs by cracking them themselves. Egg eaters will stand and wait for another hen to lay and then eat her egg. Egg eating is very hard to break and most often those hens end up being culled.

    There are some not so nice people who have sold hens and the people who bought them then had to deal with the egg eating.

    Once they get a taste for yummy eggs they will indeed start to break good eggs and eat them before you get a chance to eat them yourself.
     
  4. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One might think that egg-eating would be a negative for natural selection but humans have interfered so long in the chicken's survival that this may not hold. Young hens are particularly prone to egg-eating. They are also prone to laying outside the nest. Often, that results in the eggs being eaten.

    I think that nest sites should be very secure and comfortable to the hens. The nest itself becomes something of a "sacred place" and the clutch of eggs is, at first, almost co-incidental, even to a broody hen.

    Pigeons like to nest on flat surfaces often with little nesting material. If an egg rolls out of the nest the hen will do nothing to retrieve it. Even a baby bird may be ignored if it wanders out of the nest before the parents' support behavior allows for this change. It often happens that wild unfledged birds will be abandoned to starve only a few feet from their parents' nest. Chickens take chicks to food, pigeons do the opposite but both species are "bird brains."

    Steve
     
  5. lengel

    lengel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:You DON'T want them to peck at the whole eggs.

    A chicken will eat their own eggs. Once they get a taste for them they will eat whole eggs by cracking them themselves. Egg eaters will stand and wait for another hen to lay and then eat her egg. Egg eating is very hard to break and most often those hens end up being culled.

    There are some not so nice people who have sold hens and the people who bought them then had to deal with the egg eating.

    Once they get a taste for yummy eggs they will indeed start to break good eggs and eat them before you get a chance to eat them yourself.

    Does waiting for other hen's eggs so that they can eat depend on their overall diet, population density and availability of food stations?

    Last winter, there were multiple eggs lying around the chicken yard, intact and frozen to the ground. They stayed that way for weeks on end. Eventually we found the shells outside the fence which would indicate that other animals took them out then ate the contents. Our hens never touched those intact eggs though.
     
  6. crtrlovr

    crtrlovr Still chillin' with my peeps

    I would think that those eggs in the run that were lying around were like gilded invitations to predators saying "come and eat us"! Once critters start finding the eggs, the next probable move is to find the source of the eggs. I hope your hens are in a very safe predator proof coop...
     
  7. mangled

    mangled Chillin' With My Peeps

    No offense meant here, but why would you just let the eggs lay around for weeks on end?

    I'd be seriously worried about predators eating your hens, especially if they're used to finding stray eggs laying around.

    Good luck with your egg eating troubles, though. Luckily, I've not had to deal with it.
    Em
     
  8. lengel

    lengel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No offense taken. My question is more along the lines of why my hens *aren't* eating intact eggs, given what I've heard here.

    With respect to our situation, my hens were laying outside the coop during freezing weather. We had a coop with heat lamps inside and out throughout the winter. All of our hens were acquired as adults so they weren't necessarily compatible with each other. We also have a smaller heated enclosure so that the "rejected" hens have shelter. In spite of this setup, we would find eggs outside of the coop which were frozen to the ground. The only way to pick them up was to smash them so we left them there, intact. We also had record breaking snow last winter which made them hard to find after they were laid so we left them there. The hens didn't bother with them. I suspect that they were carried off eventually by squirrels or mice, given the size of the fence openings and the types of animals around here.

    The only predator that has broken into the enclosure is a very large dog who has ripped out the fence posts. We have upgraded the enclosure for this kind of domestic large animal threat and the hearing is June 2nd.
     
  9. bkymnro

    bkymnro New Egg

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    When my hens first started laying, some or one of them began to eat eggs. I was told to feed my hens puppy chow, that they needed more protein and that's exactly what stopped them from eating the others eggs. I bought the cheap walmart puppy chow and gave them a couple of cups a day along with their regular feed and they stopped immediately. This worked for me.....you might try it!
     
  10. lengel

    lengel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:So it happens when there's a protein deficiency? Good to know. Thank you.
     

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