Egg Eaters ... oh no!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Mel Lloyd, Apr 22, 2018.

  1. Mel Lloyd

    Mel Lloyd In the Brooder

    Sep 1, 2017
    How do I stop the flock from eating eggs??
    We thought initially that several of the hens had all but stopped laying ... not true, I've caught them several times now eating eggs!
    We have one rooster, and 6 hens and apparently they're all loving fresh eggs suddenly now!
    They have oyster shells in a small dish to eat at will, and we have not changed their diet.
  2. chuckachucka

    chuckachucka Crowing

    Mar 22, 2016
    This usually happens when an egg they lay gets damaged for some reason, say one of them steps on it, and then it' like it is no longer a reproductive egg to them. As soon as it is cracked it becomes food. Once they get the taste for it they will deliberately eat more eggs.

    Stopping this is easier said than done. You need to collect eggs as soon as possible after they are laid. Also it helps to put inedible dummy eggs in the nests for them to peck at and learn that eggs are not tasty, after all. Some people try filling hollowed out egg shells with something unpleasant like mustard so that when the chickens go to eat them they think that all eggs taste horrible.

    Another thing to consider is bedding inside the nests. If there is not enough straw or whatever to cushion the eggs they are more likely to get cracked and then eaten.
  3. SueT

    SueT Free Ranging

    May 27, 2015
    SW MO
    There are special nests in which the eggs roll into a compartment the chickens can't access.
    Naser likes this.
  4. Naser

    Naser Songster

    Oct 29, 2014
    Put ceramic eggs in the nest as said above, Also if you put a "curtain" of black weed control landscape fabric in a way that it makes the nest box dark, the hens will go through the fabric "provided it is like a curtain with two pieces", when it is dark they can't see clearly so they won't eat the eggs, especially if there are ceramic eggs in the nest.
  5. Mel Lloyd

    Mel Lloyd In the Brooder

    Sep 1, 2017
    Thank you! We tried an egg filled with mustard and apparently they don't mind mustard!
    I'm going to try golf balls and the fake eggs. It's difficult to check on them every hour to collect. I've noticed that one is laying a soft shell egg at night when she roosts ... and I don't know how to stop that ... any suggestions?
  6. SueT

    SueT Free Ranging

    May 27, 2015
    SW MO
    Oyster shell free choice......
    Mel Lloyd likes this.
  7. MelissaRose

    MelissaRose Songster

    Apr 15, 2018
    Are your chickens free ranging because mine were eating eggs and we would have to go out every hour and collect them so they wouldn't get eaten. Now that its warm enough we let them free range and the egg eating has gone down a lot. unfortunately there is a fox in my neighborhood so they have to be in a fence.I'm not sure but I think they might have gotten board and eggs tasted good, so they ate them!
    Mel Lloyd likes this.
  8. GardenTillers44

    GardenTillers44 Songster

    Nov 26, 2016
    Hocking Hills, Ohio
    We had that issue when the flock was in it's first year. After reading some archived threads on BYC, we changed from open nest trays to closed boxes with several inches of pine shavings and darkened the coop with the nest boxes. We also put two bowls of free access oyster shells and grind up the egg shells after cooking and add that to the bowls. We also made sure we moved the poultry fencing boundaries often to give the flock access to fresh grass and plants to eat. We also visit the coop to retreive the eggs several times a day when we are home to cut down on temptation and accidental breakage. The egg eating stopped almost immediately. Every now and then there is a broken egg from getting stepped on that they roll out of the nestbox, and that may get eaten, but that is a rare occurance. I think it was the combination of things and not just one that helped.
  9. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

    May 11, 2010
    Roll away nest boxes work great for this problem:

    There are several version of this to try out. Good luck!

    Also make sure your birds have plenty of room and give them 'toys' that make them work for scratch feed.


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