My little ladies started eating there eggs this morning.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by SigWaldo, Nov 23, 2015.

  1. SigWaldo

    SigWaldo Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 25, 2015
    Idaho Falls Idaho
    When I went out to gather eggs this morning I noticed that two of them had been broken and partially eaten it appears to be. Being a rookie I'm curious to know what I can do to stop this behavior. I had recently move their coop. It was a tractor style coop and I moved it to a more permanent location with a bigger run for the winter. I'm hoping this minor disruption may have been the cause of their breaking their eggs could use some help please advise thank you
  2. VABeachBRs

    VABeachBRs Chillin' With My Peeps

    There are a few things we do when we have egg-eaters:

    - add more bedding to the nesting boxes (we use shredded paper and pine shavings in the winter)
    - make certain they are getting enough calcium (adding oyster shells to their feed)
    - collect the eggs as soon as you can after they lay
    - don't feed them raw eggs or crack the eggs in front of them (we usually hard boil the eggs, and we will smush it so the shell is all cracked and not recognizable as an egg)

    Since we have multiple coops, we will separate out the egg-eaters and not allow them to free-range with the others (or they will get into the nesting boxes and start gorging themselves). If we have pullets that start eating eggs because they "just don't know," what to do -- after they lay and are clucking trying to determine whether they should leave the nest or turn around and peck what just came out of their bum, we coax them out with some mealworms and praise them for their lay.

    I know it can be frustrating, especially when you have just a couple of chickens. Hopefully this helps. :)
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
  3. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Jun 23, 2015
    ARGH! I had the same problem for weeks!

    Here are some tips, tricks and hints I learned over this time. First, collect eggs twice a day so that they don't get the chance, more often if possible.
    Second, offer oyster shell so the shells aren't thin, my hens had thin shells and because of this they broke eggs more often and learned to eat them.
    Third, nest boxes that are darker or have deep, soft litter are less likely to cause broken eggs.
    Some specially made next boxes will roll the egg out of reach of the hen for collection.
    Fill a fake egg with something that taste nasty so they learn not to break eggs.

    Best of luck!
  4. Anira

    Anira Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 5, 2013
    Fossil, OR
    Egg eating is usually caused by lack of/not enough of something in their diet (calcium and/or protein usually), or accidental egg breaking (thin shells or a fat chicken; in my case, a turkey hen).

    I feed my chickens raw eggs all the time and it has not caused any "egg eaters". I crack the eggs right in front of them and toss them in the pen. Only time they eat an egg is if they accidentally break one. It's a myth that feeding raw eggs will cause egg eaters.

    The other suggestions are good ones. More bedding in nest boxes, make sure they get enough calcium and protein, fake eggs in case they peck them (mine do this when they're broody and don't realize it's an egg next to them, so they try attacking it thinking it's going to hurt them or their eggs), collect eggs a couple times per day to be sure they don't get trampled and break.
    1 person likes this.
  5. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Jun 23, 2015
    This is a good post! [​IMG] Just thought I would add, however, that my chickens learned to eat eggs because I fed raw eggs to them. They have multiple acres to roam and plenty of food, so I don't think it was lack of nutrition in my chickens case. However, the chickens that actually broke the eggs were all leghorns, and once we got rid of them it stopped, the other breeds only ate the eggs once they were broken.
  6. Chickenmanjim7

    Chickenmanjim7 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2015
    Aberdeen, Washington
    My chickens only eat an egg that is soft shelled or breaks from something. I have found that feeding them egg shells (usually bake them and then make them into a powder) into their food along with layer feed usually makes their eggs pretty hard for them to crack. Since I started doing this haven't had a single egg eaten.
  7. Free as a Bird

    Free as a Bird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 20, 2014
    New England
    I have had to deal with egg eating before. It can be very frustrating, good luck!
  8. SigWaldo

    SigWaldo Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 25, 2015
    Idaho Falls Idaho
    Great advice everyone. I will take heed from all of you. The are getting oyster shells which I have mixed in with their 16% crumble. I am going to increase the bedding in the box. I think I will also add 1 or 2 fake eggs to see if that will coax them away from intentionally breaking their eggs. BTW I don't recall if I mentioned the breed they are black sex linked. I was told they are also called Black Stars. Thanks again.
  9. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Egg eating can also be caused by too little protein in their diet. If they are fed layer pellets plus a lot of extras, it can unbalance their protein intake. If the pullets are eating soft shelled eggs or eggs that get cracked, those are fair game and do not indicate that you have an egg eating problem. Leaving a few dummy eggs in the nest box at all times will help deter an egg eater.
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Best not to mix the oyster shell in with feed, put it in a separate container always available.

    Ditto Dat^^^

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by