Hen Eating Egg? Causes?


12 Years
Mar 26, 2010
My Coop
My Coop
It looks like our 2 year old (bought a week ago) hen ate her egg today. Nothing got in, husband removed broken up, hard shell. He said some of the egg was still on the ground. Gone when we got home. Do hens do this once in a while, from stress, or???
It usually starts by accident - an egg gets cracked in the nest box and the hens gobble it up, then they learn good stuff is in those eggs, so they start pecking them open on purpose. It's a bad, bad habit to break and it's possible that's why the people were selling that hen in the first place. Egg eating is contagious - once one starts doing it, others will learn from her.

The only fool-proof method is roll-out nests. If you click on my BYC page, my hubby made me some you can see. Other things you can try is gathering the eggs mutiple times per day or putting a lot of fake eggs in the nest to discourage her. Good luck!
Thanks. She's been in a temp. area, laying on the ground. She's been moved into the coop now, hopefully she'll start using the nesting box. My other hens never did that. I'll keep an eye on her from now on and remove the eggs right away. Have been getting one every other day, with no shells around til today...
This is a very hard habit to break. My advice is to try following these steps and you may be successful but I would never trust her alone with an egg again.

1. Separate her from the flock. (which you've done)

2. Every day remove her egg as soon as possible and replace it with a golf ball or wooden egg. She will peck at it and realize it hurts because it is very hard.

3. Gather eggs many times a day and sometimes check just to be sure no eggs stay in the box more than an hour or so.

This MAY stop her behavior but if it continues (with my chickens) I would have chicken and dumplings for dinner. The last thing you want is a flock of hens who eat their own eggs.

Good Luck!

Timothy in KY
Ya, my Apps have the problem of thin shells( feeding a bit of oyster now has helped), and occasional broken eggs get eaten right away. only a wet spot in the grass nest. I clean ALL the residue out and replace the grass (Hay?) for nesting, as they arrange it themselves. They have 3 nests that THEY like, that have permanent golf balls, and they concentrate their laying on those nests. I also pick out the eggs, morning and evening, as I check the tractor coops for supplies and problems. Mom ( to the furrkids and feathers) is pretty picky about using dry wood chip bedding in all the houses for cleanliness. The tractors get moved avery other day in the least, to new forage.
Well, she's been integrated into the coop, no egg evidence today. With the one using the nesting box (Henny may never have used one before) hopefully she'll figure it out. Since I'll be home for the summer, I should be able to supervise and remove the eggs. The other ones we got were nice and big with good, hard shells. I'll add some golfballs if needed...
Well afer coming home yesterday, and finding dried blood on poor Rosie's comb, I found a home for Henny this morning. Came home this afternoon and even more blood on Rosie's head, poor thing. I told Henny, "nice knowing ya, but you're gone." I found a home for her on a mini-farm, she should be happy... I'm getting 2 babies tomorrow!

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