HELP! is it normal for chickens to eat their eggs?

Chicky91

In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 7, 2014
42
0
32
I went to give chicken some food and my kid found they first egg!
wee.gif
very exciting but we found it under the coop where they like to crowd and it was cracks open and they were eating it! How can i prevent this? and idk which chicken laid the egg! Theres 4 of them but only found one egg!
D.gif
 
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Twistedfeather

Songster
5 Years
Feb 23, 2014
2,008
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Oregon
You just had a run in with chicken cannibalism.There are six common forms of it Toe picking, Tail pulling, Feather picking,Vent Picking, Head picking, and egg eating. Pullets often lay their eggs in foreign spots for who knows why mine laid off of her roost each night. These are the possibilities of cannibalism:

-Overcrowding
-Boredom
-Lack of exercise
-Bright lights
-excessive heat without ventilation
-too little perching space
-too little feeders or waterers
-feeding or drinkers being placed too close together
-nutritional imbalance
-external parasites
-insufficient opportunities to engage in normal behavior

Pulled from "The Chicken Encyclopedia" by Gail Damerow


Sometimes if they lay eggs than they become cracked they'll taste the yolk and eat it. Sometimes this is hard to control when you have a hen that eats almost anything.
 

Chicky91

In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 7, 2014
42
0
32
Well they have plenty of space to run free and I keep their water and food separated. They are kept in a area surrounded by trees and they get a good amount of sunlight.They have 1 medium size coop and 2 small coops & about 10 by 35 feet of space to run around. I also have oysters for them to snack on. The egg had 2 yolks in it! & it was a gorgeous yellow color. But idk who laid it.
 

Twistedfeather

Songster
5 Years
Feb 23, 2014
2,008
55
143
Oregon
You might have trouble getting eggs because now that they have a taste for it they might not stop. By the sounds of it these are young pullets (explains the double yolker) A double yolker is when the pullet accidentally releases two immature ova's and they get packed together in one shell.

If you want it to stop then find the bird and isolate it.
 

Chicky91

In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 7, 2014
42
0
32
Ok so we found the egg around 11:20 11:30. Should I just get to the coop earlier and wait and sees who laid it? are there signs i should be looking for to know which one it can be?
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
94,332
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New layers can sometimes get curious and peck at eggs.....sometimes if the shell is thin and it opens easily they'll gobble it up.
IMO a broken egg is fair game, but they can get into the habit of eating all eggs.

They need to get in the habit of laying in the coop nests by baiting the nests with gold balls or fake eggs....they can also help when the curiosity pecking gains them not goodies.

Keeping a close eye on them now can be helpful by removing the eggs as they are laid and being able to observe their behavior.
 

Mtn Laurel

Songster
8 Years
May 18, 2012
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Northern Virginia
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Sounds like they need to be laying in their nesting box which would help prevent breakage. Might try putting fake eggs in the nesting box so they get the idea. You can also keep them in the coop until they've laid before letting them out. That way they'll soon learn the proper place to lay their eggs.

I wouldn't rush to judgment regarding having an egg eater at this time. They're new layers and sometimes the shells aren't well formed. It could have cracked on its own. If an egg breaks, instinct is for them to get rid of the damaged egg so as to not attract predators so they will eat it. Make sure they're getting enough calcium and protein in their diet to eliminate the possibility that they're eating eggs to get extra calcium and protein.

If one of my gals lays a soft or brittle shelled egg and it breaks, they will eat it up. However, I've never had one intentionally peck a hole in an egg to get at the contents.
 

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