Hen eating her own eggs!

GreenwoodChickadoodledo

In the Brooder
Nov 17, 2020
19
36
44
My 6-month-old Barred Rock and Americana hens started laying last week. Yay! All but one immediately figured out to use the nest boxes. Cleo used a shelf instead. Three times. And pecked 2 of those eggs (noticeable impact cracks). She figured out the nest boxes today but then ATE the egg. There was yolk all over the nest box and broken shell in the litter. I have ceramic decoy eggs, which I think definitely helped her start using the nest boxes. I did catch her pecking at the decoy eggs this morning. They are still on grower feed because I bought too many bags but they have free choice oyster shells. We've been out checking for eggs quite frequently but she must do it right after she lays. What else can I do to stop this behavior (that doesn't include culling)? Thank you in advance for your experience and advice.
 

HeatherKellyB

"One day or Day one"
Premium Feather Member
May 31, 2019
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Moore County, NC
@aart is always helpful with this.
I have some egg eaters here. My Easter Eggers are bad about it. I try to make sure to address any shell problems, as the first and foremost. I find that checking the nest box throughout the day is very helpful, but not always doable. I've read about folks making roll away nesting boxes that work well for egg eaters. There are also some that will fill eggs with different unpleasant things and leave them for the egg eaters but that's more mess to clean up
 

FuzzyCritters

Crowing
Mar 13, 2020
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Kitsap county, WA
My whole flock used to eat eggs. The most effective solution was to hang curtains over the nest boxes, to make the nests darker. The hen's couldn't see their eggs after they laid them, and the egg eating completely stopped.

Other things I tried were leaving ceramic eggs all over their run and in the nest boxes, and they got bored of pecking the eggs with no results. I also blew an egg out, filled it with mustard (chickens hate the taste of mustard), and threw it into the chicken run. They ate it and hated the taste. Those were both temporary fixes, but they might work for a single hen.

Also make sure they have fresh water. They break eggs open to get the liquid out of them if they are thirsty. Hens will also eat other hens eggs and teach the other hens that they can eat their eggs. You might want to separate your egg eater so she doesn't do that.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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My Coop
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There was yolk all over the nest box and broken shell in the litter.
Was the remaining shell thick and heard or thin and weak?

They are still on grower feed because I bought too many bags but they have free choice oyster shells.
Are they eating the OS?

What else can I do to stop this behavior (that doesn't include culling)?
Gather eggs frequently, replace each egg gathered with a fake egg.
 

GreenwoodChickadoodledo

In the Brooder
Nov 17, 2020
19
36
44
Good questions, thank you! The Barred rock eggs are very hard. Cleo is an Americana and the shell of the egg she ate was thin. I haven't witnessed Cleo specifically eating the oyster shells. Some chickens are, for sure. I will get some layer feed this weekend and more decoy eggs. I added some curtains for the nest boxes today and 2 new roosting bars to replace the half roost bar/half shelf. Thank you!

(The picture was taken before I added another mini curtain in the middle gap.)
IMG_20201219_133752_694.jpg
 

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