How do I stop chickens are breaking n eating their own egg?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by skywalker786, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. skywalker786

    skywalker786 In the Brooder

    Mar 18, 2014

    My light Sussex n bluebell chicken are smashing their own eggs and then eating them.

    Why are they doing this and how do I stop them doing it?


  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    You can get a lot of suggestions on things that might or might not work. The two ways I know work are:

    1. Discover which chickens are actually opening the eggs and permanently remove those from the flock. It’s pretty normal for a chicken to eat an already opened egg. Those are not the problem. It’s the chickens that purposely open an egg to eat it that causes the problem. Discovering which is actually opening them is the challenge. It’s not always easy.

    2. Build rollaway nests. The nest floor is sloped so the egg rolls to where the chickens cannot get to them. You can find plans online or use the search function on this forum.
  3. rebrascora

    rebrascora Crowing

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Chickens are scavengers and eggs are high in nutrients, so eating them is not surprising. It probably started very innocently when an egg got broken by accident.... maybe a slightly thin shelled egg that got stood on. Once they realise that they taste good and it's worth breaking the shells on purpose, it's quite difficult to stop them. The most successful solution is to install roll away nest boxes, so that the eggs are automatically removed to a separate compartment as they are laid. I have read of people filling egg shells with hot mustard but there seem to be mixed thoughts and results on that. Collecting the eggs regularly and replacing with dummy eggs may help, but you have to be around the coop all day so that you can catch them.

    Some people believe that it is a lack of protein in the diet, but I think if a hen finds something she really likes, she will eat that regardless of whatever else is offered or how balanced her diet is. Boredom can play a role in it sometimes....for instance, when they are confined to the coop in bad weather or don't have enough space in the run or ground to scratch. If they are confined to c run, try hanging up a cabbage that they have to jump up an inch or two to reach. Give them a sod of grass each day or a few shovel fulls of muck from a compost heap or a bag of raked up leaves or anything that they can make a mess with. I'm currently weeding my veg plot ready for spring sowing and I am throwing the weeds into the run for my hens to scratch through and eat. I spend 10 mns each day at the task which means they get a little fresh greens each day and of course any worms or bugs that are in the soil attached.

    Unfortunatel, once they have acquired the habit of egg eating, it is very difficult to break them of it and other hens see them and learn it too. If roll away next boxes are not an option (They are no doubt expensive to buy but I believe you can make them yourself) then it might be worth isolating the offenders from the rest of the flock and perhaps trying the other options until they have reformed or you decide to cull.

    Good luck

  4. barkinghills

    barkinghills Chirping

    Dec 17, 2011

    I had this problem in my flock several years ago and it is very frustrating. I spent a lot of time trying to find the culprit, fortifying their diet, hot mustard-filled eggs, etc, none of that seemed to help much other than getting rid of the confirmed culprits.

    I did have the most luck by darkening the coop with curtains. I stapled black fabric over the windows and started keeping the large walk-in door closed during the day to lessen the hen traffic through the coop. I also stapled a piece of black cloth hanging down over the pop door that they had to go under to get in to the coop. These changes solved my problem. I have also read of putting cloth curtains over the entrances to the nest boxes to darken them and keep all the hens from traipsing through all of the eggs. Of course picking up the eggs as often as possible is helpful, but impossible when you are gone during the day.
  5. MrsBachbach

    MrsBachbach Songster

    Mar 6, 2013

    Smashing? Or pecking them open?

    If they are smashing them, then they are not getting enough calcium in their diet. Not unusual at all for a chicken to eat an egg that was smashed in the egg nest. Just hope it doesn't lead to a bad habit. Increase the calcium in their diet if eggs are getting smashed.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Another possibility I should have mentioned, are you sure it is the chickens? When a possum raids a chicken nest the eggs are smashed. When a skunk raids a nest the eggs are opened like they had hatched and then licked clean.
  7. LadyFowler

    LadyFowler In the Brooder

    Mar 21, 2015
    Howell, MI
    I use dummy eggs in my coop (golf balls/plastic Easter eggs). Eliminating the egg-eater is important, as someone else mentioned, bc other chickens will learn this behavior from others. And you do decide to feed your chickens their own eggs, scramble and make sure the shells are crushed that they don't resemble an egg. Frequently picking eggs from the nest box helps also.

  8. Roost-e-Boy

    Roost-e-Boy In the Brooder

    Aug 28, 2014
    I'm currently having this problem with one of mine. Been finding less eggs overall.
    I'm quite certain of the culprit, because for nearly the third time, she has had a bunch of yolk stuck on her messy white face!
    She is also probably eating her own egg right after she lays it. I think she has gone egg CraZy![​IMG]...
    I feel it's near her time to become dinner for the family!!!...[​IMG][​IMG] She'll be my first.

    Anyway, turning an egg-crazy-hen into dinner is one answer!
    ( but only if you have other hens to make up for the loss [​IMG] )

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