Possible egg eating?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by momma chickie, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. momma chickie

    momma chickie In the Brooder

    May 6, 2016
    I have 4 hens who choose to share a nest box...I try to get the rggs out soon after laying but today I was gone in the late afternoon...it appears one of my hens layed an egg and either broke it or pecked at it...there was only half the shell and no contents. They are new layers so should I be concetned they might start eating the eggs on purpose? Should I put ceramic eggs in the box?
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
  2. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    You're wise to try to collect eggs as soon as possible after they are laid. As eggs accumulate in the nest, and hens simply cannot resist laying in a nest with other eggs in it, there's a greater chance of breakage.

    When an egg does break, hens will opportunistically eat it. It doesn't automatically turn them into "egg eaters" though. A true egg eater is pathological. It's a behavior quirk that quickly turns into a habit. These egg eaters lay their eggs and then promptly eat them.

    People who have an egg eater will swear they have a hen who never lays an egg even though she's in her prime. There is almost always evidence of an eaten egg - yolk stains on the nesting material, bits of broken shell, and the slam dunk evidence of a yolk stained beak and face.

    So, relax. A single broken egg being happily consumed does not an egg eater make!
    1 person likes this.
  3. HeyHouse

    HeyHouse In the Brooder

    Oct 3, 2016
    I occasionally have a surplus of eggs and feed them back to my chickens. So many people, (some very respectable) have warned me that I'm going train my hens to turn into egg eaters, but I've NEVER had an egg eater. So,+1 to azygous.

    I think you have two factors working against you.
    1) Too many chickens in one box means they're going to fight for prime egg sitting space. This fighting will break eggs (and kill chicks if you get that far).
    2) They're new layers - sometimes new layers have a few wonky eggs that break easily. This should only be the first 1-2 eggs max, if it's ongoing you've got a health problem.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016

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