Is my hen going to keep eating the eggs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Camille13, May 24, 2010.

  1. Camille13

    Camille13 Out Of The Brooder

    May 1, 2009
    I have heard horror stories about once a hen tastes their own eggs, that they will never stop eating them. Is this true? I had a situation today that I think I pieced together. Yesterday, one of my hens layed a very thin shelled egg, and slightly deformed. When I picked it up, it got a crack in it. Today, I went to collect eggs, and there was a wet yellowy mess in a nest box, and two eggs. One of my hens was covered in yolk on her breast, and she definitely had eaten the egg (judging by the looks of her face! more evidence like yolk on her beak.) I think she went in to lay an egg, crushed the other, and realized she had a delectable treat. I have added oyster shells to the feed, so hopefully the hen who needs more calcium is going to get it, and cleaned out the next box. I am planning on gathering eggs very rapidly and often for the next week or two. (I stay home with my kids, so I could collect all day if I need to.) Is this the right thing to do, and if she keeps eating eggs now that she accidentally ate one, how else should I break her?
  2. fiberart57

    fiberart57 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2009
    Unfortunately, she may continue. I had a hen eat an egg, but it was shellless and then one got rolled out of the nest yesterday and broke and she was looking interested. I got it in time.

    There are people who have success by blowing out an egg and filling it with mustard. Other put lots of golf balls in the nests. The theory is that they'll peck at them and find that they won't break and they'll stop pecking. I have a marble egg that I keep visible on the floor of their coop so when they go to peck at an egg-like thing, it's hard and they leave things alone.

    Since that one instance, thankfully, mine have left the eggs alone.

    If you can, you may want to gather the eggs more often and perhaps increase the number of nest boxes to decrease the chance of broken eggs.

  3. Aframechickens191

    Aframechickens191 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2010
    NW Ohio
    There are a lot of reasons hens will eat their eggs. My chickens are in the habit right now because they are molting and they seem to have a need for the extra protein to grow their new feathers. we put them on high protein mix and it slowed down. a few other reasons are: They may feel cramped if they dont have enough space, and so instinctively devour any possible future chickens who will take up even more space. They may feel threatened; if a coon has been spotted anywhere or even a hawk it could be an incentive to eat the eggs. and of course the fact that eggs taste so good makes them irresistable! the mustard or the marble eggs are good breakers for this, as said in a response below. hope your girls wont fail you! 8)
    Last edited: May 24, 2010
  4. Camille13

    Camille13 Out Of The Brooder

    May 1, 2009
    Thanks! I really do think it was an accident that she discovered the egg in the first place, having sat on it and crushing it. I washed her off so the others won't peck out her feathers while trying to get the yolk off her. She wandered back into the coop, and nest box looking for another I think! They actually have plenty of nest boxes, three for 7 hens, so I don't think that was the issue, however I do usually collect the eggs earlier in the day. I might just try some golf balls, and if that doesn't work, a mustard filled egg. Do they not like the taste of mustard?
  5. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Some fill the eggs with horseradish or liquid soap as well. I had success with rearranging the coop to shake things up along with some of the options already posted. Also some people put curtains in front of the nests to keep them dark. Hens don't see well in the dark.

    Good luck

  6. skcalkins

    skcalkins New Egg

    May 4, 2009
    My Dad got a rooster to try and hatch more chicks but the chickens eat the eggs if left for more than 2 days. He feeds them the graduale feed instead of pellets like I did with my chickens, says they eat it better.

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