My Hens Are Cannabalizing Their Eggs - Why?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by moderndayhippy, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. moderndayhippy

    moderndayhippy In the Brooder

    Apr 1, 2010
    Can anyone tell me why my hens have started to cannabalize their own eggs? They just started doing this yesterday, and did it again today. They aren't doing it to all of the eggs, just usually one per day. It's frustrating, but they obviously love the flavor of it, because they crack a hole in the egg and lick out all of the inside. So strange! I'm wondering if maybe they're lacking something that I should be giving them? They receive a mix of Layena pellets with oyster shell & grit each day, in addition to fresh kangen water mixed with raw apple cider vinegar with the mother still in it, and greens like alfalfa, clover, and grass. They are very well loved and cared for, so this is pretty shocking to me. They are Buff Orpingtons & Black Sexlinks.

    Thank you for any help.
  2. SpringChickens

    SpringChickens Songster

    Feb 1, 2009
    College Station, Tx
    Sometimes a hen will learn that the eggs have a treat inside - usually accidentally. Once they learn that, it's REALLY hard to get them to stop eating their eggs.

    Most people end up having to cull their egg eaters; some will try things to break them, but they're usually unsuccessful. Good luck [​IMG]
  3. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Songster

    Oct 16, 2009
    My hens don't egg eat unless an egg is cracked, then they just devour it, whoever has laid it.
    Maybe your eggs had been broken by one of the other hens,

  4. moderndayhippy

    moderndayhippy In the Brooder

    Apr 1, 2010
    Thank you both. We've found a few eggs that have fallen onto the floor of the coop - we think accidentally (on a few ocassions within the past week). We think there isn't a big enough lip on the nesting boxes, which is allowing the eggs to roll out when another chicken gets inside. I saw both breeds taking turns at eating the egg, so it's hard to say which one broke it and initiated the cannibalism. We are going to build a bigger lip to put along the edge of the boxes here in the next few days. Hopefully that'll solve the problem.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2010
  5. Sir Birdaholic

    Sir Birdaholic Night Knight

    Put several golfballs in each nest, & let them lay amongst them. They should give up pecking eggs after pecking enough golfballs.
  6. Silkie Enthusiast

    Silkie Enthusiast In the Brooder

    Feb 19, 2010
    I have heard that if you put mustard inside an egg (have no clue how) the hens will gradually stop eating their eggs because chickens don't like the taste of mustard (I guess I'm a chicken then! [​IMG] )
  7. moderndayhippy

    moderndayhippy In the Brooder

    Apr 1, 2010
    Thank you both! I will try both of those suggestions.
  8. farmboy222

    farmboy222 Hatching

    May 25, 2010
    I think this problem is ascerbated by thin egg shells which crack very easily while being shuffled around in the nest . My 20 comets are outside free-ranging on grass all day and I wonder if they can eat enough oyster shells to keep the shells hard . So thin shells and eaten eggs are a constant problem . Try to collect them as early and often as possible.
  9. Buttercup Chillin

    Buttercup Chillin Songster

    Oct 27, 2008
    SouthEast TX
    Sorry to say I have not had any luck breaking egg eaters. I identify and cull them and make sure that I don't breed from eggeaters. I normally keep 16-20 hens and at present I have no intentional egg breakers or eaters. Actually I have found a few eggs cracked on the floor by the nest and nobody eats them.

    What is the % of your Layena. I give mine 20% along with quite a bit of scratch and they free range. They have free choice oyster and crushed egg shell in addition to their Layer pellets. If your hens don't free range they may be after more protein or more calcium. Or they may just be from eggeater stock.

    You could also try giving them some kitten or cat food if they are molting or about to start molting they will need more protein. With this heat, that is another possibility. Cat food is high in protein and they love it, but use it as a treat for them. Good Luck.
  10. ourlittleflock

    ourlittleflock Songster

    May 28, 2009
    North Carolina
    my secret to breaking egg eaters (not really a secret I was told how to do it) take a good unbroken egg - drill a small hole in the bottom of the egg and then a smaller hole in the top of the egg - take the drill bit and insert it into the smaller hole on the bottom end of the egg and stir the yolk up so it all mixes and then blow the egg/yolk thru the top hole (so all the yolk comes out of the bottom) then fill the egg with the hottest hot sauce you can buy.. After a couple of times of peaking/egg eatting this will broke their habit..

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