egg eating???

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by vtgirls, May 6, 2011.

  1. vtgirls

    vtgirls Songster

    May 20, 2010
    My bantam hen went broody and foster hatched eggs on January 1st.
    She has laid only one egg, about 2 months back, in the hay in the tractor where she and the chicks sheltered for the winter.
    They are now moved to a new coop (for about the last 6 weeks).
    Just last week I finally started letting these chicks (now 4 full months old) and my other hens free range together.
    The bantam, Butter, snuck back into the old coop and laid an egg the last two days in a row.
    She is the only bantam so I am 100% sure these 2 eggs are hers.
    Do you think that her foster hens have been eating her eggs this whole time?
    Or could she just be good to go now that she can access her old digs?
    ...the new coop does have four nesting boxes available to Butter and 4 hens - plenty to choose from - will be moving all the hens there soon....
    If they are eating her egg (the horror [​IMG]) what can I do about it?



    Mar 2, 2011
    Well I had the same problem and asked BYC for advice. I found that there are three main reasons that the hens will do this:

    1. They are simply bored

    2. (most common) They are lacking either one or more vitamins and/or minerals like Vitamin D or Calcium

    3. A high level of stress either from predators (including house pets) or flock members including the Rooster

    How to cure this problem:

    The reality is this behaviour is learned so it has to be stopped or the entire flock will join in. Commonly Rooster are the primary suspect in any egg-eating case. The truth is this is an easy problem to solve, with patience. Check to make sure that all your nests are at least two foot off the ground and still below the roost (about 8 inches lower). Make sure you have enough nests for the number of hens you have by using the ratio one nest to evry four hens (nest should be 12 by 12). Try to provide a good source of calcium each day (milk or cheese worked well) and add a fre-choice Oyster Shell to the coop. This will make the egg-shells harder to crack. Make sure that you gather eggs within an hour or so of laying for the guilty hens. (HINT: hens lay their eggs around the came time each day if you feed them at the same time each day) The longer the egg lays in the nest the more appealing it will look. If you use artifical lighting in the coop make sure it is far away from the nests, this will reduce stress. I use privat nests that are wooden boxes with a hole in front. Hens prefer privacy when laying and don't like dark spaces so they are less-likely to go back into the nest once they've layed an egg.

    This last step is a tough one for all of us. I love my chickens but due to the fact that this is one behavious that they learn from eachother, If egg eating persists it may be time to eat that hen that just won't quit. Fried Chicken Anyone?

    Hope this helped your flock like it did mine. I managed to walk away from this with my entire flock still alive and not on the dinner table.

    Best of Luck friend!

    Timothy in KY

    NYREDS Crowing

    Jan 14, 2008
    On the rare occasion that I've had an egg eater I've been able to cure the problem almost immediately. The cure involves a block of wood & a hatchet. It's quick, effective & always works. A bonus of using this method is a pot of really good soup.
  4. Erica

    Erica Songster

    Dec 5, 2010
    Usually when hens egg-eat you see remains (wet patches and odd bits of shell). I wouldn't jump to this conclusion without evidence. If you're really uncertain you could roll a boiled egg (shell on) into the pen and see if the hens all try to peck it. If one bird in particular really gives the egg a good go then she may be an egg eater.

    However there's a lot that can happen to eggs once laid. Rats and other predators sometimes take eggs out of the nest; rats will sometimes roll them away. Snakes and other reptiles tend to swallow whole. Crows take them out of nests sometimes (I used to see crows flying across the property with white things in their beak... How strange, I thought... Then an egg dropped out of the sky one day and I figured it out).

    Alternatively your bantam may have been laying somewhere secret. [​IMG]


  5. vtgirls

    vtgirls Songster

    May 20, 2010
    I think I will try the hard boiled egg experiment tomorrow. Since I originally posted I have been letting both groups of chickens out together and the bantam is so happy to have access to her old coop I actually heard her purring on her way into the box to lay her egg today. Its going to be quite the world shaker when ALL of them move to the new coop and the old coop closes up. I am really hoping no one is eating eggs, two of these new hens are very pretty. Barnyard mixes but one is a muff faced, barely golden laced, nearly all black, sweetie with pitch black legs. The other really pretty girl of the bunch is a rumpless buff hen with some white specks at her neck. They both are great additions to the flock and it would just stink to have them up to no good!
  6. Komaki

    Komaki Chirping

    Feb 10, 2011
    Quote:Same here, it will not be tolerated at all!
  7. ttclan

    ttclan Chirping

    Oct 20, 2011
    Estes Park, Colorado
    How do you figure out which hen is eating eggs, short of sitting out there or videoing it - I haven't caught any of them, but am finding egg remains, yolk on other eggs and even a few peck holes in some. I'm losing, my guess is, at least 3-4 eggs a day right now, so is more than one eating them?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by